|The Call, gouache and pencil, 20 x 20cm, c.1995|
Another of my early illustrations for small-run SF magazines, this one I think for Aurealis about 20 years ago, for a cool $25. I worked a lot in black and white since the magazines did not have a budget for colour printing. When I first tried to get a job doing novel covers, I was apparently turned down because I "couldn't paint in colour". It's always a problem for editors that they can only make assumptions based on what they've seen published, and that work is necessarily very restricted in some way. The same goes for assumptions of genre and style, and any illustrator can fall into a kind of feedback loop if not careful, doing only what they are recognised for. For years I was being asked to illustrate very serious and dark stories, following the success of books like The Viewer and The Rabbits and a bunch of other horror titles, and that would have been fine, but what I really wanted was something personal and funny. So I started working on The Lost Thing, just trying to figure out a different path.