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The Dragon Has Three Heads…

December 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm
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… and he’s landed in my back yard.

He’s a gift from m’lady Parris, and the work of a marvelous artist named Tyler Eugene Smith.

I love it.

And yes, Tyler’s the same amazing sculptor who made the Alfies for Spokane and Kansas City. For those he had old hood ornaments to work from, but the dragon he made from scratch.

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Hugo Thoughts: Best Professional Artist

January 30, 2017 at 1:23 pm
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Hugo nominations are now open. You will have until mid March to make your nominations… however, if you were not a member of MidAmericon II, you have only today and tomorrow left to sign up for either That Finnish Convention (this year’s worldcon) and/or ConJose II (next year’s worldcon) to earn the right to nominate. Act now, or forever hold your peace.

A few days ago I posted a few recommendations for the two Dramatic Presentation categories. Today I’d like to offer a couple of artists for your consideration, staggering talents who did some outstanding work in 2016, and are more than worthy of nomination.

The first of them is MICHAEL KOMARCK, who has been painting our Wild Cards covers ever since Tor revived the series. He’s done a bunch of other things too… check out his website… and he is doing the artwork for a Wild Cards graphic novel that is just going to blow your mind, but it’s his recent Wild Cards covers that make me want to get up and dance. Here’s some of his recent work.

Komarck has been nominated for the Hugo once before, but has never won. Here’s some of his older Wild Cards covers. Amazing work.

I had the honor to work with another wonderfully talented artist this year as well: the French artist DIDER GRAFFET, who illustrated the 2017 Ice & Fire calendar from Random House.

There’s lots more art in the calendar just as good. Grab and copy and see for yourself.

Of course, SF and fantasy are blessed with all sorts of extraordinary artists, many of whom have been Hugo winners or nominees in years past. John Picacio, Julie Dillon, Donato Giancola, Stephan Martiniere, and many more are worthy of your consideration as well. But any list of recommendations that does not include Komarck and Graffet is woefully incomplete, imnsho.

Donato Is Coming Too

December 13, 2014 at 5:40 pm
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The Jean Cocteau Cinema is a movie theatre, first and foremost, but it is also a venue for live music, magic, and comedy, a meeting hall for community events, a bookstore offering a cool selection of autographed books… and an art gallery.

We have a new show every month, featuring painting and photography by an amazing and eclectic variety of local painters, photographers, cartoonists, and sculptors.  Sometimes we feature visiting artists from out of state as well.

And next week, we'll be thrilled and honored to present the work of the DONATO GIANCOLA.


Fans of science fiction and artist art need no introduction to Donato, who has been one of the field's leading cover artists for the past couple of decades.  A perennial Hugo nominee, he won the award for Best Professional Artist in 2006, 2007, and 2009.   He was also won the Chesley Award, the Spectrum award, and numerous other honors and citations.

AND Donato is the illustrator for the official Ice & Fire calendar from Random House, which made its debut last summer at the San Diego Comicon.  He did some really amazing work for that one.


 We're having an official opening for Donato's show at the Cocteau next Thursday, December 18th, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  We'll have wine, mead, cocktails, and munchies, and the artist himself… yes, Donato is flying in to join us.

Copies of the 2015 calendar will be on hand and available for purchase and autographing.

And, best of all, you will be able to feast your eyes on some of Donato's original paintings.  Amazing work from an astounding talent.

See you at the gallery/

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Winter In Seattle

March 8, 2014 at 7:07 pm
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Winter came to Seattle on March 1.

That was the day that the LTD Gallery opened its latest show, featuring artwork inspired by A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

Copy of WIC poster

I had been hoping to be there in person for the opening, but alas, there's too much work to do and too little time, so I had to stay home and miss it.  But don't you guys in Seattle and nearby environs (Vancouver, Portland, Eugene, what have you) make the same mistake.  The show will be open until March 23, and it looks as though there's some great stuff there.  Check out the piece in WIRED>

It's great to see a gallery like LTD featuring fantasy art.  Those of you lucky enough to see the show, do come back here afterwards and let us know how you enjoyed it, and what your favorite pieces were.

Copy (2) of WIC poster

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More on the Art Show

October 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm
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James Monosmith of Seattle's LTD Gallery has sent me a list of artists who will exhibiting in the WINTER IS COMING art show next March.

So far they have committments from:

Aaron Jasinski
Alexander Laccarino
Augie Pagan
Barry Blankenship
Brian Rood
Bruce Yan
Camilla d'Errico
Carl Faulkner
Carolina Eade
Craig Drake
Cris Griffin
Dave Perillo
David Kloc
Donato Giancola
Gregory Manchess
Jae Drummond
Jarreau Wimberly
Jason Engle
Jen Zee
Jessica Deahl
Jim Burns
John Picacio
Jon Foster
Jonathan Bergeron
Joshua Buddich
Kali Ciesemier
Ken Wong
Levi Hastings
Maj Askew
Marc Simonetti
Marco Cardonna
Mark Englert
Mark Evans
Mick Minougue
Mike S Miller
Paul Shipper
Ruel Pascual
Sam Bosma
Scott Campbell
Siolo Thompson
Stacey Aoyama
Steve Thomas
Steven Daily
Ted Nasmith
Tim Doyle
Tom Kidd
Tomasz Jedruszek
Yoann Boissonnet

It's a pretty impressive list, and it is by no means complete.

It should be quite an exhibition.

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Winter Is Coming… to Seattle

October 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm
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Fans of Ice & Fire… and of great fantasy art in general… have a treat coming next winter.

Seattle's famous LTD Art Gallery, a premiere fine art gallery that specializes in the works inspired for the many icons of contemporary pop culture, will be hosting WINTER IS COMING, a showcase of original artwork inspired by A SONG OF ICE & FIRE.  James Monosmith, owner and director of the gallery, declares that the show will be "an unparalleled collection" by "today's top fantasy and pop artists."

The show will be open on March 1, 2014, and run through March 23rd, at the Ltd Art Gallery, 307 E. Pike Street, in Seattle.  There will be an opening reception at the gallery on Saturday, March, 1, and a final special engagement at Emerald City Comicon, March 28 – 30th.

It's no secret that I love fantasy art, so I'm very excited about this show.  I've had the honor and privilege of working with incredible artists like Michael Komarck, John Picacio, Gary Gianni, Marc Simonetti, Charles Vess, Jeff Jones, John Howe, Marc Fishman, Donato Giancola, Stephen Youll, Tom Kidd, and many many more in the past, and it's my hope that some of them will be sending brand new original pieces for inclusion in the show… along with many new artists, some of whom may very well win places in my personal pantheon.  I look forward to seeing all sorts of wild, new, exciting visions of my world and characters.

You can check out the gallery website at

Artists who would like to submit their work for consideration for inclusion in the show should contact James Monosmith at the gallery email.

(At this date, I can't promise that I will be able to attend the gallery opening.  But if I can, I will).

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Hugo Recommendations – BEST PRO ARTIST

January 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm
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So… as I was saying back before the Golden Globes, our trip to LA, various other awards, and all the exciting football stuff distracted me… nominations for this year’s Hugo Awards are now open. The Hugos are the field’s oldest award, and to my mind the most important… not that the others aren’t swell, but the Hugos are chosen by you, the fans and readers.

To nominate, you do need to be a member of this year’s worldcon (Chicon 7), last year’s (Renovation) or next year’s (LoneStarCon). Any of the three will do. You can find the ballot here:

Lots of categories on the Hugo ballot (too many, maybe, and more being added all the time, which I think is a bad idea that cheapens the awards, but that’s a discussion for another time and place). I have work eligible in three or four of ’em, and I will mention my own stuff here where appropriate, since it now seems to have become de rigeur to plug your own writing on the internet. But I also have some great work by other folks that I would like to draw to your attention, for your consideration when filling out your ballot.

Let me start with the category BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST. I can’t draw a stick figure myself, but I have had the pleasure of working with some sensational talents this past year, and there are three of them who are more than worthy of your nomination.

To start, there’s JOHN PICACIO, who really needs no introduction to regular Hugo nominator. John has become one of the regulars who appears on the ballot every year, though he has yet to actually WIN a Hugo. Now, it’s a honor to be nominated and all, but being the annual bridesmaid does get wearisome. Maybe this should be the year when Picacio actually takes home the rocket. Along with his usual assortment of awesome book covers, this year John devoted much of his talent to the 2012 Ice & Fire calendar, and I think it contains some of his best work to date. Go ye and buy one and see for yourself.

You can see a lot more of John Picacio’s artwork on his website at

And as long as we are talking calendars, let me also suggest that it is long past time that TED NASMITH received a nomination. Nasmith has long been one of the “big three” of Tolkien artists, right up there with Alan Lee and John Howe, but he’s done a lot of other magnificent work as well, including the thirteen gorgeous fantasy landscapes he painted for the 2011 Ice & Fire calendar from Random House.

((EDITED TO ADD)) Yes, the castles below are mislabeled, but it’s the only jpeg I have that shows all of the paintings, so I’ll keep it up here.

I love Nasmith’s work, and I’m thrilled to be working with him again on the Subterranean Press limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES. He’s just started that one, but from what I have seen so far, it is going to be a feast for the eyes. To the best of my knowledge, this insanely gifted Canadian artist has never appeared on a Hugo ballot, and it is way past time we changed that.

You can see more of Ted’s work on his website at

Last, but most assuredly not least, let me once again make my annual impassioned plea on behalf of MICHAEL KOMARCK. I’ve worked with Komarck on a number of projects, and his work has always been nothing short of stunning. He painted the very FIRST Ice & Fire calendar, the ill-fated but beautiful (and now, I am told, rare and valuable) 2009 calendar from the Dabel Brothers. He has done great Ice & Fire paintings for Fantasy Flight Games, for Green Ronin, and will be doing some great variant covers for the GAME OF THRONES comic from Dynamite and Random House.

Komarck has also been the cover artist for all of Wild Cards books, both new and old, from Tor, and his work there has been eye-popping as well.

Check out Komarck’s website at

Like Nasmith, Komarck has never been nominated for a Hugo… though last year he came within shouting distance. This year, let us put him on the ballot. The guy has earned it.

There are lots and lots of great SF and fantasy artists out there, I know. Including the “usual suspects,” the small group of illustrators who seem to appear on the Hugo ballot year after year after year. I have no problem with any of them… but when it comes time to make nominations, I do sometimes fear that some voters never look beyond last year’s ballot.

Let’s not do that this year. I recommended Best Pro Artist nominations for John Picacio, Ted Nasmith, and Michael Komarck.

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Nasmith to Illustrate GAME OF THRONES

August 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm
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You’ve been asking for it. And now we’re doing it.

I’m delighted to be able to announce the forthcoming publication of a new, deluxe, limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES, to be published by my friends at Subterranean Press, and illustrated by the massively talented TED NASMITH.

Ted is widely considered to be one of the “Big Three” of Tolkien illustrators; along with Alan Lee and John Howe, he has brought Middle Earth to life like no one else. And he he is no stranger to my own world, either. Ted painted the all of the wonderful landscapes for the gorgeous 2011 Ice & Fire calendar, with what I consider to be THE definitive depictions of thirteen of the great castles of Westeros.

It will be a thrill to work with Ted once again. You can see a lot more of his work on his own website at

I have always loved illustrated books. No doubt that’s an artifact of my childhood, and early exposure to the work of Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth in books like MEN OF IRON, ROBIN HOOD, and TREASURE ISLAND. Almost since the day I started writing, I’ve wanted to see my own novels done in the same manner. Pyle and Wyeth are long gone, alas (though their work remains, and if there is anyone out there reading this who loves it as much as I do, be sure and visit the Brandywine Gallery should your travels ever take you to Philadelphia), but their heritage lives on in the work of today’s top illustrators. Nasmith is one.

This will be the second illustrated edition of A GAME OF THRONES (actually, the second ENGLISH LANGUAGE edition… my Finnish publishers also issued a nice illustrated edition in honor of my visit to Finncon, and the Chinese and Japanese editions have also included some nice interior artwork). Long-time fans and collectors will recall that my dream of having the series published in a series of beautiful illustrated books was initially brought to fruition by Meisha Merlin, a small press out of Atlanta, who released numbered limited editions of both A GAME OF THRONES (illustrated by the late Jeff Jones) and A CLASH OF KINGS (illustrated by John Howe). Lovely books, both… though not without certain flaws, admittedly, but…

Meisher Merlin GAME OF THRONES

Meisha Merlin CLASH OF KINGS

The original plan was for Meisha Merlin to do the whole series, of course. Unfortunately, the press ran into certain financial difficulties, as small presses often do, and ultimately went bust. Fortunately, I was able to get off the ship before it sank, and move the limited edition series over to Subterranean Press. Subterranean picked up where Meisha Merlin had left off, and issued signed, numbered, limited, slipcased editions of A STORM OF SWORDS (illustrated by Charles Vess) and A FEAST FOR CROWS (illustrated by Tom Canty). The Subterranean edition of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (illustrated by Marc Fishman)is in the works even as I write.

Which is not to say the changeover was without problems. The Meisha Merlin books are gorgeous, and so are the SubPress books… but they are also different. Subterranean has its own views on book design, its own ideas about graphics, its own way of doing things, and its own likes, dislikes, and preferences. When Subterranean took over, they changed the size of the book, dropped some of the features of the Meisha Merlin limiteds (the gilded pages, for example), even split the books into two volumes (in a single slipcase). All of which led to a certain amount of unhappy collectors. While I think everyone appreciated the quality of the books, and the love that had gone into them, the Meisha Merlin and Subterranean editions could not really be considered a SET, except in the broadest terms. The books did not match. Lined up side by side on the bookshelf, they did not look as if they belonged together.

((never published))

Subterranean STORM OF SWORDS

Small wonder then that, almost from the day that the Subterranean STORM OF SWORDS was first published, both Bill Schafer and I began to receive letters from collectors asking that SubPress do its own editions of A GAME OF THRONES and A CLASH OF KINGS, in a format similar to their later limiteds, to make a true set. There has been a steady stream of such letters and emails over the intervening years… enough so that Bill finally decided that they had a point and, with my blessing, went to Bantam Spectra and secured the license.

As with the other Subterranean editions (and the Meisha Merlin editions before them), the Nasmith GAME OF THRONES will be signed and numbered and slipcased, limited to 52 lettered copies (A through ZZ) and 448 numbered copies (1 through 448). First right of purchase will go to those customers buying the SubPress limited of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. The series is fully subscribed at the moment, I fear… but there are always drop outs, so I expect some copies will become available to new buyers (though probably not many).

The value of those Meisha Merlin editions has reached astronomical heights on the collector’s market in the last year or two, and I know there will be some concern about how these new SubPress editions will impact that value. There is really no certain way to predict that, of course; the rare book market can be volatile. But I did speak to several collectors and rare book dealers before signing off on these new editions, and the general opinion was that any impact would be minimal. The SubPress edition is in no sense a reprint of the Meisha Merlin, after all. Only the text will be the same (and the text is the same in all the trade hardcover and paperback editions as well). The size, format, type font, book design, paper stock, and everything else about the Subterranean edition will be different. And of course Ted Nasmith’s art will all be completely new, and original to the book. The Meisha Merlin books will be just as rare as they are now, and I suspect their value will continue to appreciate… (at least as long as the HBO series stays on the air, but that’s a different discussion). But hundreds of new fans will now have the chance to add a gorgeous limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES to their shelves, and perhaps some of the many “busted sets” out there will be completed.

I think it’s a win/ win. And I know that Ted Nasmith is going to give us some stunning artwork. So thanks to all of you out there who have been pushing for this through the years, and sending us all those emails.

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Art Collectors Assemble!

March 2, 2011 at 10:04 am
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Some of you out there collect original science fiction and fantasy art, I know.

(I do. Mostly I buy covers and other illustrations based on my own writings. Not entirely, though. Sometimes I just see a piece of art I love in a gallery or convention art show. I’ve been collecting art since… well, since I looked like that guy in the thumbnail).

If you liked Ted Nasmith’s artwork for the 2011 “Calendar of Ice & Fire,” maybe you’ve dreamed of hanging one of his originals on your own walls.

Well, now’s your chance. Ted’s paintings of the castles of Westeros are going up for sale, along with a lot of his stunning Tolkien art and other work. You can download a PDF of the catalog and peruse the offerings at

If you like what you see, and want to own your own Nasmith original, remember… he who hesitates is lost. Four of the paintings are already spoken for, I understand — King’s Landing, Oldtown, Dragonstone, Castle Black. ((Two of those by me, myself, and I, heh heh.)) The rest remain available, but who knows for how long?

I should add, for what it’s worth, that original art makes a great investment. Way back around 1974 or so, Frank Kelly Freas offered to sell me the original of his ANALOG cover for my story “Second Kind of Loneliness” for $200. That was my very first cover, and I loved it, so I was sorely tempted. I had only been paid $250 for the story, however, and I was still a VISTA volunteer, just barely making the rent, so I passed, and bought one of the interiors instead. I have rued it ever since. I mean, I do love the B&W I bought, but that cover… last time it changed hands, I think it went for $10,000, and THAT was twenty years ago. I’d be scared to learn what it was worth now.

Actually, though, the money is secondary, of more concern to my eventual heirs than me. I’ll likely never sell the art I’ve collected. What you want to do is buy artwork that you love, that you will enjoy looking at on your wall for the rest of your life. That’s what we do.

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