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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Vess’

 We’re right in the middle of National Magic Week – when it seems all the world acknowledges that magical things are still possible. And I think it’s no coincidence that Halloween is just a few days away. But rather than magic in general, I’d like to celebrate the illustrators (like Gary Lippincott pictured here) I met at last year’s FaerieCon who bring their visions of the usually hidden worlds of fairies, elves, trolls, giants, and such to the reader.

 I’m one of those devoted readers and appreciators of illustration who drags a knapsack worth of books to a conference and patiently stands in line for the signature of the artist or author. FaerieCon, held this year November 4-6 in Hunt Valley, Maryland, is a great place to meet these artist-magicians. Last year, I met the gracious Michael Hague (see my Jan. 6, 2011 blog) and the fabulous doll-maker, Wendy Froud (see my Dec. 12, 2010 blog) – but they weren’t the only artists I chatted with. Brian Froud (pictured on the left), Wendy’s husband and perhaps the most well-known fairy artist working today, spoke as part of several panels and shared his delightful tales of bringing Faeriefolk to life. And if you took the time to stop by and visit with the Frouds, both Brian & Wendy signed their books and chatted amicably with their fans.

 Faerie Magazine, www.faeriemagazine.com , usually hosts several illustrators and authors at their FaerieCon booth. Last year, the colorfully-dressed and always-smiling Linda Ravenscroft signed 2 books for me. She seemed happy indeed to converse with her many fans as well as talk a bit about her art. (Linda is pictured on the right).

For those who decided they wanted to know more about the business of illustration, businesswoman and illustrator extraordinaire, Jessica Galbreth, gave a workshop.  Not only did Jessica tell the audience about the ins & outs and ups & downs of life as an illustrator, wife, and mom – but those who registered for the workshop also received a copy of her Artists Manual. And as the owner of an autographed copy of that manual, I can tell you it was a worthwhile workshop. (Jessica is shown to the left).

And lastly, but never leastly, Charles Vess, autographed 2 of the Neil Gaiman children’s books he’d illustrated, for me to give as Christmas gifts to my daughter. This year, Charles has a wonderful painting that will be displayed at FaerieCon.  For those who’re interested, you can see the progress of the enormous painting on Charles’ facebook page. I’ve already got my copy of a book of his magical art ready to take with me to hopefully get autographed when I visit FaerieCon in a little over a week from now. (That’s Charles in the photo to the right).

And what of my illustrations? I had a successful exhibit of fantasy paintings this summer (sold 4). My illos have been published in a few speculative magazines recently, and are scheduled to a appear on the covers of several more in 2012. A small crocus fairy illo of mine will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Faerie Magazine as part of an ad. And of course, I included over 30 of my drawings in my recent book from Cold Moon Press, The Greener Forest. For those who’d like to read more about what I have to say about illustration, check out a guest-blog from me at Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog:
http://wp.me/p18Ztn-17n

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 Today, I saw Issue #20 of Faerie Magazine on the magazine rack of my local bookstore. The cover promised work from Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess, and Myles Pinkney inside, and I knew Brian Froud would have his usual “World of Froud” essay and illustration included. But would my article share the space with the work of such talented writers and artists?

With shaking hands I opened to Contributors — and there I was, the fourth writer down. Then, I turned the page and checked Contents. Sure enough, Tussie Mussies, my article on “Talking Victorian Bouquets” was listed as being on page 51.

Faerie Magazine’s beautifully illustrated pages seemed stuck together as I leafed through the publication. I sat down on a nearby bench and held back tears. The same joy I felt years ago when my first poem was printed in a local newsletter washed over me as I saw my article and byline on page 51.

This publication credit merits a phone call to my mom and sisters. “Go to a bookstore,” I’ll say. “Ask for Faerie Magazine and read my article on the language of flowers.”  Fans of gardening, all things British, and magazines that are easily acquired at bookstores — they’ll be excited for me. My only regret? My dad died before I was able to push his wheelchair into a Barnes & Noble and pluck a magazine with one of my articles or stories in it from the shelf.

Not especially in to faeries and flowers, my dad would have been even more thrilled over today’s other news: my poem about a Celtic warrior, Before the Battle, will be appearing on July 1 in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. Dad was proud of his Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and English ancestors and served in the US Army in World War II. He was a Celtic warrior, the recipient of a Bronze Star, and he would have been 84 this month.

So thank you Editor Kim for including me in Faerie Magazine Issue 20. Thank you Editor Dave for the Heroic Fantasy Quarterly acceptance. And thank you, Dad, for being my hero.

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Butterfly Fairy

Butterfly Fairy

I spent a magical day at FaerieCon last Sunday. I got to chat with the Dragons Lure Anthology editor & assure her I’m hard at work on my story. I also got to visit with Kim Cross of Faerie Magazine. She’s wonderful to chat with & is enthusiastic about new projects for the magazine. I urge you to check out this beautiful publication: www.FaerieMagazine.com

I visited the dealers’ room & was happy to see so many artists present, including illustrator Charles Vess (whose work is breathtaking).

But the best part of the day had to be listening to writer Charles de Lint talk about writing urban fairytales, etc. He not only talked at length about his creative process, etc., but answered all questions posed by the audience in a friendly, professional manner. If you haven’t taken the time to read this author’s books, you should do so (I think there are about 65 published ones to choose from).

And lastly, looking around at the fabulous costumes (I must admit to buying some striped knee-socks, elbow-length fairy gloves & a fabulous rat puppet while looking) — I found the inspiration for Faeryland in a novel I’m at work on. The Medieval Faeryland I was trying to use in my novel didn’t feel quite “right”  — but the Steampunk Faeries wandering here & there at FaerieCon seemed “right.” Therefore, the Faeryland in the novel I’m working on will be Steampunk (think Victorian England or the Australian world of Mad Max).

My thanks go out to FaerieCon & its fairies for a magical answer to my setting challenge!

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