How art saved one artist from delinquency

Do you remember the first image where you thought you’d nailed it?

scary palencar

Another Lovecraftian influenced piece, you can see the elements of Dali

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?

prophet no 2

Prophet no. 2 John first had his art published as a 15 year-old, when he won 
a local newspaper competition 
in Ohio

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?


Jovah's Angel has a crisp and clean finish distinctive of John's work

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?

dali inspiration

'Mind of my mind' shows more Dali influence

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.

Eragon, perhaps John's most recognisable work

Eragon, perhaps John's most recognisable work

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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