A few months ago, Jon Schindehette (the main art buyer/director) at Wizards of the Coast asked me to write a post for his blog, Art Order, about how I broke into the illustration industry ( I highly recommend Jon’s blog for insightful, informative and vital information about not only breaking into the business, but also great advice on how to stay in the loop!)
In that posting, I mentioned generating a handful of book cover samples back in 1992, fresh out of college, for my then ‘pending’ representative Sal Barracca. Sal had seen my work at a portfolio review and expressed interest in working with me if I could generate some appropriate samples for the book cover marketplace. Anyone asking you to generate six highly detailed and complex images for a client before they hire you would seem out of this world crazy…Go take a hike Man!!…but that is exactly what I did.
Actually, there was no limit on how many samples I would have needed, or was willing, to create- four, six, eight – I kept showing up on Sal’s doorstep like clockwork month after month after month with a new sample painting and drawing- asking for his critical input, absorbing those comments, implementing the changes, and moving onto the next work. These sample images were critical in introducing to Sal my working methods and commitment to professionalism and were all targeted towards the fantasy and science fiction book cover industry, taking in considerations for type design, appropriate figure content and knowledge of the current marketing trends. My first images were not strong enough for Sal to put his reputation on the line to represent me, I had to prove to him I was capable and consistent enough to deliver professional quality jobs before I could accept a professional level commission.
This awareness that it was not my reputation which was at stake, but rather his changed my whole impression of how I deal with clients. When an art director hires you, yes, your name will be on the art, but it is the art director who must answer to everyone else in their place of business if a project stumbles, a deadline is blown , a budget exceeded or, heaven forbid, just plain bad art is turned in. They may have far more to loose than the artist does, an issue I had not really thought of until I worked with Sal, and one I keep in the forefront of my mind as I work on every new project. Illustration is a collaborative process.
Here are those first six samples. There is no sample for August as I was moving to New York City that month and recovering from a critically damaging eye injury which destroyed the macular region of my right eye (the part that lets you see detail, and yes it was permanently destroyed). So I had a few good excuses! But that didn’t slow me down much…
The final sample is unfinished, the last time I touched it was the day Sal called with my first professional commission!
20″ x 30″
oil on panel
My first sample, created just one month out from Syracuse University.
24″ x 36″
Oil on panel
Sample number two
The Sword and the Pen
20″ x 28″
Oil on panel
Sample number three
Gwindor at Angband
24″ x 39″
oil on panel
Sample number four
20″ x 30″
Oil on Panel
Sample number five
24″ x 36″
Oil on panel
Sample number six
Great post, it is really nice to see where you began, and to hear what you were willing to do to get a job.
What Charles said. Very inspirational post.
Thanks for posting such hi-rez images.
Donato thank you for posting this! I must say that it is amazing that you can do such quality work even with your injury. I hope to someday say thank you in person for all the wonderful images you have given us.
Cool Man! Trying to get “samples” done now and break into the industry. Very inspiring stuff!
Great to see these original samples, and also humbling. It's obvious from these (and I guess from the story of how you got that first job) that you didn't lack in ambition! I'm curious if these covers were created for existing books or just generic (although they're hardly generic, haha) scenes you created to get the idea across of what you could do.
hah, I like how the last one reminds me of both Jan van Eyck and Paul Bonner at the same time!
Wow – and this is when you were from first starting out, Donato? Whoa!
Whoo, it's reassuring to see you were averaging a piece a month; that's about what I do while working the full-time “Joe job” and trying to break into the business. And I guess I missed your article on Art Order, so I'll have to check that out. Thanks for sharing.
Well, that explains it. You were a genius right out of the box.
Công ty Đại Phát Viễn Thông nhà cung cấp phụ tùng-linh kiện xe ô tô chính hãng tại tp HCM:
Giá rẻ nhất- Bảo hành nhanh nhất – Xem ngay linh kiện phụ tùng xe ô tô:
Web: linh kiện phụ tùng xe ô tô
( Xem tai day): linh kiện phụ tùng xe ô tô
( xem tai day ): linh kien phu tung xe o to
Những biểu hiện và thuốc chữa đau dạ dày bằng đông tây y , Đông y thuốc chữa loét dạ dày , Bệnh viem amidan cap tính , Phép chữa viêm amidan mủ ,Thuốc trị nổi mề đay mẩn ngứa , Thuốc chữa gan nhiễm mỡ , Làm cách nào chữa viêm phế quản phổi cho bé , Thuốc dân gian chữa ho có đờm ,Dân gian trong chữa bệnh viêm mũi dị ứng mãn tính ,Viêm xoang mũi và cach chua viem xoang hieu qua nhanh, Tây y trong điều trị thuốc đông y chữa dạ dày Triệt để , Cùng các mẹ chữa trao nguoc da day ,Bệnh trào ngược dạ dày và cách chữa trào ngược dạ dày đơn giản , Thuốc chữa trị rụng tóc hiệu quả , Viêm phụ khoa điều trị rối loạn kinh nguyệt thật dễ , Thoái hóa cột sống và thoái hóa đốt sống cổ có nhiều liên quan .ở nhà cũng có thể giảm đau dạ dày rất đơn giản . Bài thuốc nam gia truyền dieu tri viem gan b mãn , Thuốc nam tri viem amidan , Viêm mũi họng viêm amidan hốc mủ trắng chữa ra sao ?, Bệnh đường tiêu hóa benh dai trang mãn tính . Cách phòng ngừa bệnh dạ dày bằng đau dạ dày không nên ăn gì thật dễ dàng . Những biểu hiện và trieu chung dau da day thế nào là đúng nhất. Mẹo hay chữa benh viem hong mãn tính