Thursday, March 26, 2015

Three Questions


Beren and Luthien in the Court of Thingol and Melian     in progress     110" x 62"     Oil on linen

by Donato

Another couple of weeks have past since my last post and I am still in the middle of a large commissioned oil painting, my most complex ever.  Although it would be great to keep updates on every process development, I find that I am not taking many image shots as the work proceeds.  Not from any lack of interest in documenting the painting, but rather my desire and focus while involved with this work has different needs for me.

I entered illustration and a career in oil painting because of my love to bring forth images which swirl away in my mind.  It is thrilling to make them real, and even better to share them with a sympathetic audience.  But the heart of why I am an artist is that I love to work, to spend a day in the studio creating.  That is what is driving me now, the need to create - not to socialize, develop new concepts, prepare for a convention, nor think about what the future may bring in my art.  Right now I am focused on what is in front of me...and it makes me extremely happy.

This state of mind makes me reflect on words of wisdom from Leo Tolstoy, through Three Questions (by way of introduction through a beautifully illustrated Children's book  by Jon J. Muth)
It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right
time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to
listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what
was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything
he might undertake.
The rest of the tale is here.

Following the lesson of Tolstoy, I find my most important time is now in the studio.  The right people to be with is no one, but rather to be alone. And the most important thing to do is to paint, today and everyday for the next month until this work is finished.

My apologies for this if it makes for dull posting in the next weeks, but this is the path I see to avoiding failure...

I wish you the best in your pursuit of answers to these Three Questions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kissy kissy

By Jesper Ejsing



Recently I have been traveling to conventions and meeting people and spent way too little time in the studio with my butt in the chair and painting. One of my latest published pictures that I am very fond of is this lovely girl. She is a cover figure for Paizos Pathfinder adventure path #92.

I really love, That Sarah Robinson, the fantastic art director at Paizo, let me go with the very voluptuous anatomy instead of beeing affraid of it offending people. During the last couple of years there has been a lot of discussions on how we portrait women as half naked sex objects in fantasy. I am proud to have made a picture that pulls the average in another direction. In this specific drawing i wanted her to look smiling and selfconsious rather than yet another sexy looking female enemy.

In my sketch she had a bundle of dwarf heads on her shoulders, but they were switch for a shield/shoulder plate to better fit with the story.


I tried to give her head a different facial structure to make her not look like a human. when you have no background to show scale you have to use something else to potrait the Giant-ness. I pulled the eyes apart and gave her a large round and gnarled forehead. Somehow she becomes a little fish-like with the small eyes apart like that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

1994 Marvel Masterpieces

-By Dan dos Santos


In the 1990's, comic books were enjoying an incredibly healthy revival, which spawned the creation of a ton of new comic book characters, several comic book companies, as well as a plethora of comic book themed trading card sets. One the best trading card sets was the Marvel Masterpieces Series. In particular, the 1994 set is a real favorite of mine.

The 1994 Marvel Masterpieces base set consists of more than 140 cards, all of which are hand painted by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt.

Any fan of fantasy art can appreciate what a staple the Brothers Hildebrandt are to the industry, as their Lord of the Rings work is still a mainstay of the genre. So to have a collection of 140 paintings, depicting some of my favorite fantasy characters of all time, is huge treat that I was anxious to revisit.

Comic trading cards were a real success for comic publishers. It was often a way to repackage pre-existing art and make it suitable for resale. The price per pack was decently high for such a small amount of cards, and the entire process of trying to acquire them all was the perfect business plan made to appeal to obsessive collectors. As a teenager, I would purchase sealed packs of the cards, hoping to acquire a complete set. But that required a lot of money, and a great deal of luck. Fortunately, you can now get these sets quite easily on Ebay for an incredibly reasonable price. Still, all of these cards illicited countless hours of enjoyment for me as a kid, as I reveled in the trivia on the back, and redrew the amazing images on the front.

Even today, seeing the sheer number of fresh, vibrant composition that the Hildebrandt's came up with for so many different characters is a serious treat for the illustrator in me.


I have a LOT of trading sets, all showcasing the work of some amazing artists, like Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Joe Jusko, Jim Lee, Luis Royo, San Julian, and even Moebius. And the best part is, these sets often contained artwork that wasn't published anywhere else. I will be showcasing a few more of these sets here on Muddy Colors very soon.

Until then, please enjoy a small sampling of some the Hildebrandt Brother's paintings for the 1994 Marvel Masterpieces set.











You can also see the complete set, including the backs of the cards, HERE.

While you're waiting...

…why not watch this time-lapse of Android Jones working his digital magic…

Monday, March 23, 2015

Do Awards Matter?


Above left to right: The Hugo, the World Fantasy, and the Chesley awards. The Hugo was based on the hood ornament of an Oldsmobile. The World Fantasy Award  (sometimes nicknamed the "Howard") is a bust of H.P. Lovecraft sculpted by Gahan Wilson. Using Lovecraft for the award has become somewhat controversial lately.


by Arnie Fenner

The quick answer is: Sure they do.

Which perhaps naturally leads to the question: Do I need to win an art award to make me successful?

And, just as naturally, the answer is: Nope.

There are all sorts of opinions when it comes to awards and art competitions and a little searching will quickly find those who will insist that all awards are meaningless and that artists shouldn't "compete," not no way, not no how. My response is always the same:

Baloney.

In ways both big and small, life is a competition, from the moment we draw our first breath to the day we exhale our last. We compete with others in either subtle or overt ways for mates, jobs, commissions, parking spots, concert tickets, in sports, for SDCCI hotel rooms, seats on a plane, living spaces; and we compete with ourselves to get better at what we do. Everyone competes with everyone for everything in some way every day, artists included.

When the list of entrants selected for inclusion in Spectrum 22 was posted there were, of course, those that were happy and those who were disappointed—and, certainly, some that were angry. There were plenty of expressions of shock, dismay, sarcasm, and dismissal floating around social media following the announcement; that's too be expected, really. What struck me was the failure—of some—to realize two simple realities:

1] The only thing public fussing accomplishes is to rain on the parade of those who did make it through the tough jury process. A little grace, after all, is part of being a pro. And…

2] If it wasn't difficult to get in—if everyone who entered was included in Spectrum—it wouldn't mean anything.

Honestly, I see most types of competition as healthy; it keeps us sharp and can motivate us to improve. "Winning" helps us learn to deal with success; "losing" helps us learn to deal with disappointment and, hopefully, pushes us to try harder. Yeah, there are always those who make "winning" or "losing" ugly, but that's part of life, too, and learning how to handle, if not overcome, society's buttheads is a form of competition, too.

But when it comes to art awards…well, they're not competitions.

No. They're not.

"Beating" another artist doesn't enter into it. That's not what art awards are about. I don't even like the term of "best" used to describe an award or recipient because, as I've said in the past elsewhere, there are a lot of simultaneous "bests" in the world. I prefer to see an award as recognition for an exemplary work, not as a generalized coronation.



Above left to right: The SoI Medal; the Caldecott Medal for best illustrated children's book. 

Certainly candidates are somehow chosen (depending on each awards' criteria) and just as certainly recipients are selected, but though there have been instances of electioneering in fannish circles I don't think an award is anything that an artist can deliberately pursue. Nor should awards really be a goal or reason for creating work: much like basing your financial future on a plan to buy a winning lottery ticket it's really little more than wishing and hoping because receiving any sort of accolade is never a guarantee.

A medal from the Society of Illustrators or a Caldecotte have long been the penultimate honors (other than, I guess maybe, a Pulitzer), but the highest-profile award for the field for many years was—no, not "the coveted Balrog," as George R.R. Martin liked to describe it—the Best Professional Artist Hugo, voted on by the members of the World Science Fiction Convention. A score-plus of noteworthy illustrators have won the Best Artist Hugo since they started presenting it in 1955, but it's also true that the names of worthy SFF creators that have never won (much less been nominated) are legion. And diversity? Hmmm. The World Fantasy Award (selected by a different jury each year, none of whom, to the best of my knowledge, have been illustrators) was established in 1975 and, like the Hugo, boasts an equal list of deserving honorees and of unfortunate oversights. The Chesley Awards, created in 1985, are presented by the members of the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists and has worked hard to reflect the broad parameters of genre art.

Anyway, the art world isn't like peewee soccer where everyone gets a trophy for showing up: regardless of years in the trenches, regardless of skill, regardless of popularity or monetary success, receiving an award, as I said, is never a given. "For there are many called, but few are chosen." Whether it's a Caldecott, Hugo, Society of Illustrators Medal, Chesley, World Fantasy, or a Spectrum Award, there is significance in both being nominated and in winning; it's a recognition of achievement, a mark of distinction, made even more significant when it comes from a jury of your peers.

If there seems to be those who receive a number of awards over the years, it's not because of nepotism, cliques, favoritism, or pay-offs (the easy fall-back accusations by the disappointed): it's because of the quality of the work. Some artists hit their peek at just the right moment  in their careers and their peers—the juries—respond. Fan awards or monetary competition prizes (almost always picked from the pockets of other artists) are different beasts entirely and either habits or agendas (or electioneering) can enter into who gets what and how often, but when it comes to peer awards—artists to artists—there's a purity that adds meaning to the honor. The awards are encouragements; they're a form of respect, validation, belief, and support.

Awards aren't won, they're earned.

And, yes, a major award can help an artist's career; it can raise their profile and grab the attention of art directors, publishers, licensors, ad agencies, and collectors. The career benefits can be significant and long-lasting.


Above: The Spectrum Grand Master Award. The pyramid was sculpted by Joe DeVito and the grand master base was sculpted by Tim Bruckner. All of the awards have been entirely redesigned by Kristine and Colin Poole for Spectrum 22.  

All that said (and as touched on in my comment about the Hugos), there are many excellent artists with vibrant, viable careers that haven't won major awards and who may never do so. That's sort of one of life's quirks. But just as receiving an honor has meaning, not receiving an award…doesn't. Of course it's always nice to win…anything…but careers tend to perk along rather nicely with or without an award sitting on the shelf.

Still, there is something else to consider when it comes to awards: symbolism. Not for the one (as Spock might say), but for the many.

Beyond the recognition of individual achievement, the awards—the iconic trophy, the ceremonies, the traditions—are a celebration of us all, of the art community as a whole. The more attention that is attained for what we do the better it is for everyone and awards—and the electricity and excitement of presentation ceremonies—are invaluable ways to grow the public's awareness and (hopefully) appreciation of who we are. They're educational moments.




That was the motivation behind the Spectrum Awards ceremony as part of Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. It would have been infinitely easier—and cheaper—to give the awards out in a hotel ballroom or in the convention center, but…where's the fun in that? Artists and their works affect our lives every day in an infinite number of ways so it only seems right that for at least one night of the year there's a spotlight on the art community with a gala in a real theater with all the trappings.

I was watching a documentary about the history of the Oscars® and Helen Mirren joked that at the ceremony the losers in the audience outnumbered the winners and that they didn't even have a bar to make it better. Then she said seriously, "But it is an honor—it's true—to not only be nominated, but to be able to be together and share in the accomplishments of our fellows." I agree.

So, yes, awards matter.

And for the Spectrum 22 awards ceremony…we have a bar. We will happily comp Dame Helen's badge if she'd like to attend. 


Above: The Spectrum 22 awards will be presented May 23 at the historic Folly Theater in Kansas City during Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4. You can see all of the award finalists in each category here.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Home


Just a reminder that Home, the DreamWorks film adaptation of our own Adam Rex's illustrated novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, opens in theaters March 27. May the Boov be with you!






Friday, March 20, 2015

Bits of Magic

Magic: the Gathering (MtG) is a really wonderful license for artists to work on.  The art directors are excellent, giving good feedback and creating a large playing field for the artists to run around on creatively.  Additionally, the fans of the property are consistently courteous and add enthusiasm to the work, expressing appreciation and support.  The Magic community also provides artists the chance to travel from time to time, attending events to sign cards and sell art.

I will be attending an upcoming Magic Grand Prix in Las Vegas, May 28th-31st.  It is lining up to be a pretty significant event in the Magic schedule.  I believe that the largest GP to date was the 2013 Las Vegas event with just under 4,500 players.  This year the organizers are anticipating 10,000 players.

I have attended a few GP events as an artist and with 1500 or so players, they have kept me busy with sales and drawing for a solid 3 days, so 10,000 players should make for an incredible event.

Even better is the great group of artists that will be attending.  Channel Fireball is hosting the event and it looks like they are looking to break a record with the number of artists at one GP as well.  Typically you might see 3-5 artists, but they have announced 19 so far!



I am looking forward to spending time with the other artists that will be in attendance.  It is like a mini, highly focused convention!

The good folks at Channel Fireball know how to put on a good event too.  If you are remotely interested, don't miss this.

Here is a link to the site with more information and registration: Grand Prix Las Vegas

Since this is a post about Magic, I thought I had better share some recent work done for the game.

Mystic Meditation

This was a great card to paint.  I wanted to create strong shapes and contrast with the huge dragon bell.  I put the two pillars in on either side to create a sense of strength and stability for this setting.  I also made the scene symmetrical to add to the sense of order.


I set the background in blue to give some strong color contrast with the bell and ribbons.  To aid in the visual cues describing the waves of sound coming from the bell I added a series of shockwaves and distortion coming from the bell chamber and dragon mouths, reflecting off the spell cast around the figure.


Lastly, I fixed the dragon heads (after some good direction from Jeremy Jarvis) to better reflect the dragons in the particular world setting and added a little color shift to the shockwaves.

I enjoy adding the small details to scenes like this.  The delicate pinks blossoms on the center column lay undisturbed inside the spherical shield around the figure in the center, as does the tea, set on the clean white table cloth.


Winds of Qal Sisma

I enjoy painting creatures.  It always takes me back to watching Adventure Theatre on Saturday afternoons as a kid.  It seems like there was always some Ray Harryhausen movie on.  When I paint monsters, in my head, they always move in stop motion.


This card was also art directed by Jeremy Jarvis.  This poor band of soldiers is caught in a blizzard, but that isn't the worst of it.  Their visibility reduced and their senses dulled, they don't notice the hungry beast tracking them through the snow.  Death is imminent.


Reality Shift

This card was directed by Dawn Murin, and was actually released in two versions.  One zoomed in on the figure in the sphere, and this view with the camera pulled back showing Ugin the dragon, pulling the strings.
One of the challenges of creating art for Magic, is the size of the final print.  You have to keep the big shapes in mind from the start, using either value or color contrast, or both to keep it reading on the trading card.



Thanks for having a look and read and if you are going to the Magic Grand Prix in Vegas I hope you will come stop by and say hello!

Howard Lyon

Instagram
Twitter
Website

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The No-Stilettos Rule

The No-Stilettos Rule
or,
My Philosophy as A Woman SFF Art Director


-By Lauren Panepinto


I’ve been writing a column about the business side of art for over two years. In all that time I have tried my best to give artists a look under the hood, as it were, and see things from an Art Director’s point of view. I have tackled many a difficult topic as clearly and fairly as I could, and over those two years I built up a trust between myself and my readers. It wasn’t until I felt like that strong relationship had been established that I believed I could start talking about how being a woman affects my experience in art and in geekdom. Because it does. And I think it’s valuable to explain exactly how, in the hopes that it will give people a window into understanding these big issues on a more personal level. I believe in empathy, and telling your story so other people can feel your POV.


Orbit-NonUFWomen.jpg
Women of Orbit Covers: Epic Fantasy, SciFi, Historical Fantasy

As I explained in my last post, Women’s History Month seemed like a good time to talk about these issues, and I’d like to keep the ball rolling and keep talking, because they aren’t going away. Women Artists are speaking out against injustices in the art world. Social Media has been a gender-issue battlefield this year. I really believe we are finally at the watershed moment where female fans of comics, games, and SFF books are not content to sit idly by while their desires and needs are dictated to them. They want a say in the creation of material designed specifically for them. And companies are starting to listen. Artists are learning that they need to take their changing target audiences into account, not just assume they are the same as five, ten years ago. I believe this is an important evolution. Women fans do not want to “ruin” anyone’s fun. There are plenty of places for a male POV and enjoyment of sexual objectification. I absolutely do not think those places need to be eliminated. But places that are meant for an audience of women need to consider the desires of those women. This will make art and geek media a better, more inclusive place. I know this, because it is what I have been doing, quietly, at Orbit Books for years.


Orbit-UF2.jpg
Women of Orbit Covers: Urban Fantasy

As I have said before, I grew up a geek. Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Voltron, Thundercats, He-Man—the list goes on and on. I was a typical tomboy, but I was still a girl. And I inserted myself into the geek media primarily made for boys via the female characters. The more badass, the better. I adopted into my identity the snark of Princess Leia and the strength of Wonder Woman. You can trace my entire history as a geek through the strong female characters there—but it was always a beggar’s banquet. Though this was way before the Bechdel Test, almost all the media I consumed would have failed miserably. And as I got to the age that I was noticing—then struggling to understand—male sexual attention and my own sexual identity, all those strong female characters seemed to be sending mixed signals. This is worthy of a post in itself, of course, but lets just say it was confusing to me when a woman character lauded for her strength and intellect and heroism would be dumb enough to fight her enemies in a bathing suit. With her hair down where anyone could grab it. Hell, I think I cheered when Jean Grey got pockets. My problem wasn’t with a character being sexy. I had a problem when the things that made them sexy were in direct contradiction to how strong or smart they were. It made them feel less real, and harder for me to fit myself into. So was sex a strength? Did it “distract the guys” as the age-old argument goes? Or was it a punishment? It took a long time for me to understand the difference between sexuality and sexual objectification. (Cliff Notes Version: It’s all about agency.) Here’s a great video overview for you.
Because this is an important distinction (and because I’m tired of hearing the “girls just want to cover everyone up” argument) let me illustrate this delicate point with a master who also happens to have painted a LOT of naked women. Often guys are surprised to hear I love Frazetta. I’m not bothered at all by most of his barely-clad ladies. He understood agency. When he objectified his women, it was by design, and you can clearly see the difference below:


Frazetta-sexualized.jpg
Naked ladies as trophies, prizes, ornamentation. They don’t have stories, they are objects that the action happens to


Frazetta-sexual.jpg
Just as naked, but with 100% more agency. They have stories to tell. They are not objects to be won

Frazetta-screwingwithyou.jpg
And now Frazetta is turning the stereotype on it’s head - once trophies, now the women are dominant, taking agency back from their captor

So how does all this affect what I do as a professional Art Director?


Artists know, you cannot make art without bringing a piece of yourself to it. Even if you are illustrating someone else’s story, you have to relate to it in some way before you can translate it into a visual. It is critical to what I do that I bring my geek history to my work at Orbit. I have to translate each manuscript not only into a good visual, but a visual that fits itself into the history of all the covers in that genre that have gone before. I need to know the trends in space opera, in science fiction, in epic fantasy—and then decide how much I am going to let the trends dictate, or how much I am going to push at those stylistic boundaries.


Along with knowledge of the genre comes consideration of the target audience, and gender has a huge role to play. Every time I ask myself who the target audience is for a book, I have to know if it’s aimed at a predominantly male audience, a predominantly female audience, or equal parts male and female. People ask me if the author’s gender plays a large role in how we package the book, and I am proud to say at Orbit, it does not. I am encouraged to create a package that is best for the manuscript and the target audience first and foremost.


Orbit-WomanAuthors.jpg
Recent covers of some of Orbit’s most popular women authors

Although target audience affects all books, I’m going to dive deeper into one genre where it is absolutely critical—Urban Fantasy. This is the genre where we most frequently show characters on the covers, and the target audience is overwhelmingly women. It’s also the genre where the covers get the most abuse for stereotypically having a hot woman on the cover with a gun, a bared midriff, and a bad tramp stamp tribal tattoo. The fans roll their eyes. the authors complain. People even make fun of the covers for charity. So what’s going on here? If women are the target audience, how are these books ending up with objectified covers? I think there’s a lot of overlap with similar issues in how women are portrayed in comics and gaming. However, as I said, the target audience is primarily women. So it sets aside the whole aspect of comics and gaming historically being a male-dominated media for now.


Orbit-UF1.jpg
Orbit Urban Fantasy covers with female leads



First, Urban Fantasy is primarily a genre of wish fulfillment. There’s a clearly defined hero, and you are following them through an adventure where you insert yourself into their eyes and experience their story, their feelings, their romance...and of course their run-ins with the supernatural. (Hey this is SFF, after all.) The hero should be sexy. But they should be sexual, not sexualized. This is a tough balance to really get a grip on, and I think it’s even harder if the character is not your gender. Even though I do not speak for all women, I at least can fall back on my gut instinct of what is right for a female character, as a woman and as a fan of this particular genre. I think many of the tropes of the urban fantasy covers make sense seen through this lens. The checklist (sexy strong woman, weapons, tattoos) is not wrong. In fact, you need that checklist because it’s the “genre checkpoints” we have to hit on the covers so that the urban fantasy fans recognize that it is, in fact, an urban fantasy. However, if those checkpoints aren’t filtered through the lens of giving the hero agency, you often get an objectified cover by default.


Let’s flip the gender roles for a second. Urban Fantasy with a male hero is notoriously tricky. As I said, the audience is predominantly women, and women will read a book with a male hero, but the tightrope becomes even thinner and harder to walk. If you fall off the rope, you land into an endless pile of Fabio-lookalikes with bare chests. If I won’t stand for cheesy for the ladies, I’m not allowing cheesy for the guys, either. Even though the male urban fantasy readership is smaller, I still want to create a cover that also speaks to their wish fulfillment.


Orbit-UFguys.jpg
Orbit Urban Fantasy covers with male leads

It was while working on these covers specifically (and yes, watching Supernatural doing research) when it all clicked for me. A hero character on the cover needs to be both “sexy I want to be” for the fans of that gender and also “sexy I want to $%^!#” for the fans of that sexual orientation. And the key, again, is agency. I kid about being a big Supernatural fan but that show hits this balance perfectly. Women are the dominant fanbase, but there’s a lot of men who are fans as well. The main characters are cool enough for the guys, but hot enough for the ladies.


I’m not here to make enemies, and I’m not here to call out colleagues and artists. So I’m only showing covers I’ve worked on, not trotting out the bad examples. I try to design all my cover characters with agency. The one cover above that has an objectified character is Blood Rights - and she starts the book as a blood slave to a vampire, so I portrayed her that way by choice. Even though I won't shame bad covers here, I will share the list I have developed of rules about portraying women on my covers, whether they be photography or illustration:


1—No Stilettos. (Also, No Strapless Anything) Sorry, I know SFF is all about suspension of disbelief, but the thought of fighting in anything strapless or balancing on teeny heels is ridiculous. I have made a compromise and allow boots (chunky heels only). I mean, this IS fantasy, right?


2—No Fashion Poses. If possible, no fashion models. Fashion models are beautiful, and they are paid to look and pose a certain way. I try not to judge or body-shame either side of the weight scale, but I like my heroes to look like they can kick some ass. Also, if you look at a lot of the most awkward-looking urban fantasy covers, then look at a copy of Vogue, you’ll see the models are throwing standard fashion poses, elbows akimbo. They just look out of place on a book cover. If possible, I use only fitness models and book-experienced models.


3—Pose Weapons Properly. There’s nothing worse than the sword-as-baseball-bat poses, amirite? And the random (and dangerous-looking) aiming of guns. I have an author friend, Myke Cole, who checks my trigger discipline for me. Recently I had an actual historical fencing expert, Tristan Zukowski, come to a shoot and advise on proper dueling poses. This really gets the models in the mood, and the accuracy makes our shoots so much more bad-ass.

Duelists-outtakes.jpg
I love these shots so much I can’t wait to see the covers they become.

There have always been women fans in geek media, way back to the first conventions. Hell, the first science fiction book was written by a woman! So it is disheartening when women feel excluded over and over again in geek media. For a genre that has always accepted the weird, the awkward, the outcast, it’s counterintuitive to me that geeks would want to exclude anyone. I know what it’s like to feel as if your safe space is threatened, and your worth as a specialist with insider knowledge to be challenged. Heck I am a New York City native. If I can put up with the hipster invasion, then geeks can put up with women fans.


I hope this little tour through my brain and process was eye-opening. I hope you can start to feel the difference between sexual and sexualization, because I think the way through this issue of representation is to really know the difference, and know the proper time and place to use both. Remember, the key is to make sure your characters have agency. Agency brings narrative, and the more narrative you bring to your art, the better it will be.


CREDITS! (anything not specifically mentioned is me)
Best Served Cold - photo-illustration by Gene Mollica
Love Minus Eighty - photo by Erin Mulvehill, Design by Kirk Benshoff
Black Ships - Illustration by John Jude Palencar
House of the Rising Sun - illustration by Mélanie Delon
Shambling Guide - Illustration by Jamie McKelvie, Design by Nina Tara
Hot Blooded - Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Rob Shields, Type by Chad Roberts
Ancillary Justice - Illustration by John Harris, Design by Kirk Benshoff
Falcon Throne - Illustration by Raphael Lacosté, design by Kirk Benshoff
Black Wolves - illustration by Larry Rostant, Tattoo by Stephanie Tamez
Dirty Magic - photo by Shirley Green, illustration by Don Sipley, type by Chad Roberts
Blood Rights - illustration by Nekro
The Queen is Dead - photo by Stewart Noack, illustration by Don Sipley
Business of Death - Illustration by Dave Seidman
Charming - photo by Shirley Green, illustration & design by Wendy Chan
Trailer Park Fae - illustration by Dan Dos Santos
Duelists photos by Gene Mollica