Do you remember the first image where you thought you’d nailed it?
I think it was a watercolour landscape in high school. There have been many paintings like that over the years. The key I find to "nailing it" is working toward the image you have in your mind. I've never fully captured my interior vision, but when I'm close the paintings have been very successful and well received.
What was the first bit of praise you received that spurred you on?
Winning awards is gratifying. That encourages you. Also, at an exhibition, having someone commenting positively while you're standing nearby and they don't know you are the artist. If the discussion that you're eavesdropping on is constructive then you can learn something about yourself and your art. It could be something you weren't aware of, and that's good.
And your first knock-back?
At an exhibition, having someone commenting negatively while you're standing nearby and they don't know you're the artist. You can learn something from that as well. I always try to evaluate all of these opinions by consensus and source.
What was the last thing you painted, and were you happy with it?
I can't say what the last thing was because it hasn't been published yet. It was a surreal piece. It was okay. We tend to work in clichés in this business. I will reserve more detailed comment, that may incriminate me, about the cover in question.
Currently I'm working on a personal painting: it's an assemblage of items, sort of a surreal, still-life figural thing. It's not complete yet, but it’s going well. Also I'm doing sketches for some upcoming book covers and interiors paintings for an author’s collected works. All hush-hush, of course.
Words: John Jude Palencar
The art of American artist John Jude Palencar has appeared on over 100 book covers, including the bestselling Eragon series. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 108.
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