Bob Eggleton
Bob Eggleton is a successful science fiction, fantasy and landscape artist. Winner of 7 Hugo Awards and 11 Chesley Awards, his art can be seen on covers of magazines and books. He has also worked as a conceptual illustrator for movies and thrill rides. Of late, Bob has worked doing more private commissions and self commissioned work. He has been elected as a Fellow of The International Association of Astronomical Artists (FIAAA), and is a Fellow of The New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA). His work has appeared on professional publications and books in the world of SF, Fantasy & Horror across the world.

Questions and Answers

What is your favourite medium?
That is hard to say. Honestly...pencil and paper! Gets the idea down and there it is.

Who influenced you as an artist?
Oh man...that's a loaded question. Lots of the classic guys: Delacroix, Turner, Bocklin, Dore...Moreau....wildlife artists David Shepard and Robert Bateman. I could list dozens more because I like so much of what I see. It is always good to have someone you want to aim for in terms of skill and technique. Gives you a goal. Art is an endless journey.

What are you currently working on?
Some covers. It really picked up after a 3 month slump.I am also designing some puzzles for the puzzle market which pays huge royalties. And then putting together a book of my more horrific works for Cartouche Press. It'll be a 74 page book, really small but, something worth doing. Also, DRAGONHENGE will be out in the Fall as well. And, we're talking about a sequel already. Stay tuned.

What was your first SF/F/H art sale? And how did the acceptance make you feel?
To Baen Books. It made me feel...well, good!

Have you won any awards for your work?
Lessee....7 Hugos, 11 Chesleys, 1 Locus Award, and, I won a Best Cover for Analog magazine this year as well. That's always nice. NESFA gave me a Skylark Award for my contributions to SF in general.

When commissioned for book covers do you read the book before creating the artwork?
Yes...when there IS a book. In a few instances there has been 1) no book or 2) one or two chapters and that is what they give me to use.

Do you concentrate on one piece at a time or work on many simultaneously?
Yes, I have to. My mind goes in many directions all at once and as a result, I end up with a lot of ideas that I want to do all at once!!!!!!!!! It can be very tiring too! I sometimes find myself not able to finish anything! But typically, I do about four paintings a month when I am on a good run.

Do you prefer SF, Fantasy of Horror Art?
YES! No seriously....I like a balance. I like the SF to have something exotic about it. Same with horror and fantasy!! Exotic is the operative word. I did the cover to an Alistair Reynolds book/novella to be published at the upcoming World SF con in San Jose. It was terrific!!! Alien world with living "islands" and a really exotic selection of characters and a weird enviroment. I love fantastic monsters and creatures, hence I love dragons...

Do you read SF, Fantasy or Horror? Which do you prefer?
Some SF, some Fantasy and horror. But I prefer books about movie making, and I like biographies of really amazing people.

What would you consider your perfect commission?
Another loaded question. I'd say it would be "Do anything you want and get a lot of money!!!!!!!" No really..I am easy to please. Just an enjoyable painting is the perfect commission, and making everyone who had to do with it's creation happy as well as myself.

Did you undergo formal art training?
Some. By the time I hit art school I knew what I wanted to do. Trouble is the art schools don't teach the fundamentals anymore. It's like basic drawing which is the root of all good art, is right out the window in some cases.

What is your opnion on the use of naked human form in SF/F/H art?
Naked bodies are a beautiful thing, nudes can be awe inspiring. Just look at Michelangelo's work. But then, I am not into exploitation type work. You know, like showing women being tortured or abused in any way, as the Gor novels often depict. If anything, showing them strong and inspired is the way to go.

What is your prefered canvas size?
Average size is about 20x30. I tend to like length-wise horizonal shapes to work on for myself and for private work. Of course, covers are problematic in that the top 1/3 or 1/2 has to be kind of empty for type.

What made you want to be an artist?
Well, I did it since I was 4 years old and, everything else I tried I failed at and the art was the only route to go. It was all I could do good, really.

Do you enjoy attending conventions, signings, etc?
Very much so. It is important to meet the fans and people that enjoy your work. This year, we slowed down a bit because of some health issues with me. I was simply overtired from running around. But, I'll still go to cons when the opportunity presents itself.

As a reader do you prefer SF, Fantasy or Horror?
Horror can be good if it isn't too graphic. Richard Matheson's work comes to mind as sort of the scary quiet stuff. Nigel Kneale another. I like good SF as long as it tells a good story. Same with fantasy.

Who is your favourite author?
Hmm. Don't really have one but, I do have a penchant for Arthur C. Clarke. He was the granddaddy of the "big picture" SF.

Do you prefer SF, Fantasy or Horror Art?
Jeez...hmm. Really... I love landscape work. Like John Constable, above all. But, I tend to like fantasy art myself as this is the closest to what the old masters did. Turner did some fantasy work, as did Bocklin and Delacroix. But they didn't call it fantasy art.It was "Romanticism" and "Symbolism".

If you could give one piece of advice to a would-be artist, what would it be?
Draw. Just keep drawing and do it really well. You will always be, if you are aware of it, a student, no matter how "professional" you get! You humble yourself before the elders that came before you. NEVER get big-headed! Someone will always be better than you and you will always be better than someone else.

Is there any piece of artwork you'd like to be remembered for?
My next one!! Really. The next is always the best!!!!!

Are you a music fan? If so, what?
All kinds of stuff. I like 60's British pop-The Shadows for instance,The Beatles and such.... a lot of 70's music. I LOVE ABBA. And the group KISS. But quieter...I like Enya, Clannad, a lot of movie soundtracks and so on. It all depends on my mood. I'll play Def Leppard to get revved up and Enya to quiet down. I also listen to classical adagios as well-Albinoni, Bach, Vivaldi etc....

How do you view the increase of digital art? Is it impacting on the more trditional media?
It's really making an impact, but each time I consider doing it, I get people-art directors-telling me not to!!!!! They tell me "Do what you do because we like stuff looks all the same" And they are right. Also, how can you sell a digital painting in a gallery or to a collector for any amount of money?? You can't.

What do you do to relax?
Look at sunsets. Go for walks...paint outdoors. Or pop in a Godzilla movie in the DVD player or, Gerry Anderson's THUNDERBIRDS or CAPTAIN SCARLET. I love that stuff!!!!!! I grew up with it and am a huge fan to this day. I even belong to FANDERSON.

What's been the highlight of your art career?
So far?? Hmm...doing DRAGONHENGE. It was a turning point.It opened up a ton of creativity.

Where's the oddest place we might see your artwork?
That is a question I have to think about. Maybe on the cover to a Finnish heavy metal band's CD???

Are there any subjects you dread painting?
For a while it was spaceships! I really got tired of them, then I hit upon the idea of doing them sort of like retro pieces-pointy rockets and really art deco things, then it re-inspired me..

What preparation do you do to paint? Do you use models, photos or other reference material?
I usually do a rough drawing and sometimes get some photos or models (say, of dinosaurs) to work with to get lighting right. I sort through books for color ideas and textural suggestions.

Is there something you are particularly proud of?
My conceptual work on Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. It was so much fun on that gig. And then seeing all the concepts go from pencil drawings to finished CGI work on the animated feature. It was too cool.

Where will we see more of your work in the near future, what's coming out soon?
DRAGONHENGE and the book PRIMAL DARKNESS from Cartouche Press. And as always, check out the site. We make monthly updates usually. Anything new or any news usually goes there first.

Many Thanks, Bob!

Relevant Links

Bob Eggleton Art Section
Bob Eggleton's Website
Paper Tiger