Meghan’s Dragon

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I’ve been working with E. M. Foner for a few years now.

He writes science fiction and Fantasy with a light comedic twist. In this case the cover for “Meghan’s Dragon” was to feature a young girl and her Dragon (who happens to also be extremely hungry all the time). And I have to indicate the humor found in the story.

Comedic illustration is never the easiest thing to do but when it’s done well it can be hilarious.

Mort Drucker

Mort Drucker

For me there is nobody better at this than Mort Drucker (famous mainly for his work in Mad Magazine).

So when faced with this challenge I looked at what he does. And what he does is incredible, he sets up situations and then punctuates the joke using the characters facial expressions. I also looked at the Dragons  created by Todd Lockwood, which are all pretty scary and used that as a direction to avoid!  So with that in mind I set about working on ideas and after several roughs and some to and fro between the Author and I/we finally settled on this.

meghans-dragon-600px

My indicator that it works is that my kids laugh at it and immediately make up stories about what’s going on.. Mind you, They are both under 9 years old and they laugh at my jokes too, so maybe that’s not the best guide.. Anyway..

It’s probably the first time ever that I’ve welcomed people laughing at my work! Maybe I’m dragoning this post out a bit so I’ll end it here.

Here’s where you can get this book: https://goo.gl/iuLvGb

And posters are available here: http://keithdraws.deviantart.com/gallery/

Swords Of The Imperium

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The challenge of producing art for a series.

Working on a series of covers is always a challenge and it’s important to retain a strong identity and feel. So far so good I think.

swords-of-the-imperium-600-px

This is the second cover for the new series of science fantasy/dark fantasy books by Brian Choi and Erica Carson.
If you want to buy the book or want to know more about the Authors :

Amazon/KDP sale site: https://goo.gl/M9bxyO

Author website: www.carsonchoi.com

Author facebook: www.facebook.com/Bryan-Choi-16…

Author twitter: @bchoiemdoc

Posters here: http://keithdraws.deviantart.com/gallery/

Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier cover art

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Today “Twelve Foot Ninja” Release their New album “Outlier”

And I produced the cover art. Credit where credit is due though, TFN always have very strong ideas and without their direction this cover would not have worked half as well.

Outlier

Outlier

You can get it here http://twelvefootninja.com/

And this is their new single which I also did the cover for:

I’ve been working with TFN since 2010 and in fact they were probably the main reason I was able to move my focus to illustration.
Initially they asked for artists to send a couple of comic panels as samples since they were intending to produce a comic and or graphic novel. I don’t normally do this, but for some reason I had a good feeling about this work and so I produced the following.

 

Two incredible things happened. First the amazing Liam Sharp (currently the lead artist on Wonder Woman for DC) and blew my mind with this comment on my deviant page and I have to say that is probably one of the most inspirational moments of my life. A moment when it felt like all the effort was worth it after what seemed like an eternity of losing battles. I’m happy to say that we also became friends (even if it is only on social media). If Liam had not left that message I suspect I would have gone down another path.

It only gets better… After I’d given up on hearing back about the samples, Stevic from TFN got in touch with me and told me I’d got the Job.

From that point on I worked with the band mainly through Stevic and Dave MacGregor (their manager who they work very closely with). things went well. I worked on a lot of concept with them, finally deciding on the look of the Twelve Foot Ninja and we produced the cover for their second CD
SB cver

Now we moved on to the next major project. The album “Silent Machine”

Silent Machine Cover

Silent Machine Cover

It had 12 tracks and each would have it’s own 6 page comic making up a graphic novella to go with the album.

I produced all the art and wrote the adaptation from the original plot/novel. But I had to tie the stories in with the songs. They pretty much gave me a free hand so long as I stuck to the plot; and the songs are very inspiring which made it a lot easier. It was a hell of a job, on a tight deadline, but we did it!….And I’m very proud of this work. Here are some pages.

I’ve worked on lots of other projects with them over the years and they have done a lot to help me out through some difficult times. They are great people and I doubt I’d even be doing this if it wasn’t for them.
Oh and I’m also working on another new project with them right now so watch this space, it’s going to be awesome!

 

All art produced for “Twelve Foot Ninja” is copyright “Twelve Foot Ninja” and is reproduced with permission.

Sharing Amazing Visions

Sharing amazing visions is what I’m all about.

Guns of the Temple 600px

So when Bryan Choe and Erica Carson got in touch with me to produce the covers for their new series of science fantasy/dark fantasy books I was thrilled.

They’d seen my work around and were particularly taken by the illustration I’d done for Secret War.

They liked the feel and wanted something that had that kind of atmosphere.
Now that particular illustration also marked a turning point for me because after it was published one of my all time heroes, Todd Lockwood gave it his stamp of approval.

Keith and Todd

Todd Lockwood. Me on the left looking dumbstruck.

Of course I was also now faced with the challenge of matching that level of work not once more, but three more times. I needn’t have worried though because after reading the first book inspiration came at once and working with Bryan and Erica was a pleasure. After I completed the art they said this:

“Our advance reviewers have told me they’re blown away by the cover!”

So now I can breath a sigh of relief…

Now, I’ve just got to do it twice more.. Oh the pressure !!!

If you want to buy the book or want to know more about the Authors :

Amazon/KDP sale site: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JTA8SDM

Author website: http://www.carsonchoi.com

Author facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bryan-Choi-162261274185455/

Author twitter: @bchoiemdoc

And posters are available here: http://keithdraws.deviantart.com/

Guns of the Temple Cover art spread

Guns of the Temple Cover art spread

Jim Burns, Interview and Influence.

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Recently I got to know Jim Burns.

Okay so it’s only on social media but hell! This is a man who has been a great influence on my work for as a long as I can remember being interested in Science fiction and he actually takes the time to talk with me. I think the first time I saw his work (at least attributed) was in Omni (a Science fiction and fact magazine) in the late 70’s. 

Jim Burns "Mechanismo"

Jim Burns “Mechanismo”

The thing that stuck me about the way he worked was was his ability to contrast very human Star-ships, machinery and people with incredibly “alien” Alien star-ships, machines and characters. The alien part of his work can be almost jarring in it’s difference, and yet at the same time it looks very natural in the scene.

Jim_Burns for "The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn #1)" by Peter F. Hamilton

Jim_Burns for “The Reality Dysfunction (Night’s Dawn #1)” by Peter F. Hamilton

Jim is one of the most approachable, pleasant people I’ve ever had the pleasure to talk to and I still feel awestruck every time we talk.

Jim Burns

Jim Burns

Keith Draws (awestruck!)

Keith Draws (awestruck!)

The realism of his work and the incredible detail he applies meticulously have always been something I strive to achieve, with varying degree’s of success, but I have to say the most important thing  he does is to take the viewer away from the current reality,  into the reality of his science fiction. And something about the way he does this seems to connect to  the almost primeval parts of the mind. The effect of looking at his work is almost like experiencing  recovered memories, filled with the almost overpowering emotions of  awe, excitement and discovery. The truth is  when I look at his art I almost become that “starry eyed teen” again. Speaking of being a “starry eyed teen” I remember the first time I saw the cover for Stanislaw Lem’s “The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age”  painted by Jim. The image is so alien and yet at the same time so fascinating that it has stuck with me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an image that had such a profound effect on my outlook before or since.

Jim Burns Art for Stanislaw Lem's "The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age"

Jim Burns Art for Stanislaw Lem’s “The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age”

Since I was first introduced to Jim’s Art I wondered what it would be like to have the opportunity to work on such images. In 2012 that opportunity came about when  Richard Tongue ordered three book covers from me.

He sent me the books, I read them and really enjoyed them. I remember I put together the roughs for Richard and we just couldn’t finish them fast enough. I knew then that something major was happening in my journey.

Since then Richard and I have worked together on multiple covers (more than 25 if I remember correctly) and Richard recently told me,
” You’ve done some wonderful covers for me over the years, and I always look forward to each one. Often they are some of my biggest inspirations when it comes to writing the book; it’s always great to have that in front of me, urging me on.”  when he ordered this:

Keith Draws Art for "Operation Damocles" by Richard Tongue.

Keith Draws Art for “Operation Damocles” by Richard Tongue.

It is extraordinary to hear such words directed at me when I could say exactly the same thing about about Richard’s and Jim’s work.  Also It would be remiss not to say that thanks to the work I’ve done for Richard I’ve also been commissioned to work on many other projects in a similar vein.

Another major influence on my outlook was the magazine OMNI and they just ran a fantastic interview with Jim that I heartily recommend you go read. It’s right here: https://omni.media/jim-burns-interview
I think all that is left to say is a big thank you to Jim for being such an inspiration to me and thank you to Richard for allowing me to put that inspiration into action

You can visit Jim’s website here:
http://www.alisoneldred.com/thumbsJimBurns-Illustration-0-1.html

and Richards here:
http://richardtongue.blogspot.mx/p/battlecruiser-alamo.html

UPDATE: Jim’s reply on facebook:

Jim Burns: Cheers Keith! I hope you don't sometimes feel I led you astray! I sometimes have felt that in respect of Frank Hampson....and in fact did a presentation at the British Interplanetary Society called 'I Blame it all on Dan Dare'

Jim’s response on FB

As ever he is humble, and wouldn’t we all love to hear that speech. I’ve asked him if it’s around and I’ll let you know what he says.
Bellow in the comments is Richards Response and I have to say I am humbled.
I think I’m going to try and do more posts like this about creators and their influence and if possible I’ll try and get some interviews.

Frank Frazetta Inspired

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Frank Frazetta has always been a hero of mine.

So when I get the chance to produce work in the genre of Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Art I jump at the opportunity.
The dark forest-600px
Now I don’t want to just copy the style of Frank, no, I want to pay homage by creating a piece of work that is clearly inspired by him, while being essentially my work. And it also must sell the book it is painted for by reflecting the atmosphere, characters and excitement contained therein.
David A. Brogdon gave me that opportunity recently. I read the book and discussed the concepts with him and above is the result.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express my appreciation for the impact Frank has had on my life but this  kind of work goes someway toward that.

The Book is now up for sale here: www.amazon.com/dp/B01AQNRG7U
Posters are here:
http://keithdraws.deviantart.com/art/The-Dark-Forest-Landscape-613475874
and here:
http://keithdraws.deviantart.com/art/The-Dark-Forest-613477764

Alien Abduction

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Nash- the Abduction by Mason Dodd

Alien abduction is not a subject I’ve explored in art before. This project gave me the opportunity.
The book is available here: https://goo.gl/ad2G4O
Posters here: http://goo.gl/hggfPw

Nash The Abduction

Science Fiction and Fantasy Dreaming.

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And How Those Dreams Came True.

As a youth I spent hours in bookshops, looking for scifi and fantasy art on book covers. I’d find a few I liked, buy them and when I got home, I’d study the art and try to learn how to do it. I dreamed about doing that kind of art for a living.

Jim Burns, Todd Lockwood, Peter A. Jones,  Chris Foss, Chris Achilleos,  Frank Frazetta, Boris and Julie Bell, Bruce Pennington and Peter Elson (to name but a few) were major influences. In the past few years I’ve even been lucky enough to get to know a few of these people.

Even more amazing I actually now get paid to do work in that genre. I produce a lot of Sci fi images for the Great and Prolific Author Richard Tongue. In fact I’ve done more than twenty illustrations for him to date, and they just get more challenging every time.

Always pursue your dreams. It’s worth it.

Here are a few of the more recent covers I’ve done for Richard:
Final Testament

 

Interceptor

Starfighter

forbiden seas

Great advice for writers. Day 84 of 90: A part of your soul

I saw a post on the board recently that made me think. This author says he spent years lovingly crafting his story, only to feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment at the lack of a response. W…

Source: Day 84 of 90: A part of your soul #ASMSG #IARTG #IAN1 #SupportIndieAuthors #Inspiration