Godzilla artist reveals why he quit art school

Who was your first artistic crush?

Because my mother was British we went over to England a lot. I can never forget seeing these amazing Bruce Pennington covers on the old Pan Science Fiction line of books. Bruce really set me alight. The thrill was this past November I got to meet the man himself at the Brighton World Fantasy Con.

Do you remember the first image that you thought you'd nailed it?

I sold my first professional sale when 
I was 15. I painted an English landscape in the Cotswolds for a family friend and they paid me well. My first sci-fi painting was inspired by a lot of British sci-fi artists of the day. It's dodgy looking, but it was also my first cover image for a German publisher in the early 1980's.

bob eggleton first

Escape from the Rim: "This piece was my first science fiction painting. Until this painting I primarily worked in ink and pencil"

What was the first bit of praise you received that spurred you on?

It came when I got to meet an artist named Eric Ladd, who made something of a name for himself around 1978. Eric told me to start "really painting" and do this stuff. He loved what I did. Then I went to the World SF Con in Boston in 1980, put up some drawings I did for fun, and won Best Amateur Artist.

And first knock back?

Back in 1979 a professor of modern art told me I had no talent and I should do something else. It drove me into a deep depression because I had this silly idea that to be any kind of artist I had to go to art school. He was one of the reasons why I left school.

What was the last thing you painted, and were you happy with it?

I am, at this point, pretty happy with my work, relative to what it is. If it suits the job and the client is happy that makes me happy. I have gotten more into fantasy and that makes me pretty happy.

Words: Bob Eggleton (opens in new tab)

Bob Eggleton is a eight-time Hugo Award-winning artist, specialising in sci-fi, horror and fantasy art. A huge Godzilla fan, he worked as creative consultant on the 1998 blockbuster. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX (opens in new tab) magazine issue 106.

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