The prolific artist and art director gives us the inside track on working for Orbit
What's your background?
My degree is in industrial design. After studying in Romania, I moved to the US and went into video games. I’ve worked in games development for the past 22 years. I’m employed full-time, so I reserve my weekends for freelance work. It’s cathartic to do something other than video games and it forces me to keep my skills reasonably sharp. During the week, a lot of my time is consumed with meetings and managerial responsibilities, so any freelance work has to be done at the weekend or early in the morning.
How did you get noticed by Orbit?
I’d been doing some covers for Tor Books. Lauren must have noticed my work and she called me up. I’ve been collaborating with them for about five years, working on the Caliban’s War series by James SA Corey.
What’s the best thing about working for Orbit?
Lauren is extremely easy-going and our working relationship has been awesome. She sends me projects she feels are up my alley and she’s really good at giving me a concise yet relevant creative brief.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
My big hobby is riding my motorbike. It’s an adventure bike, namely a BMW 1200GS. I get on my bike at every opportunity: I ride every day, all year round, come rain or shine. I live in Seattle and we don’t get much snow or ice here, luckily. During my lunch break, I’ll hop on the bike and go for a spin to clear my mind.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to be an artist?
Treat every assignment, big or small, with the same amount of effort. Never treat projects differently according to what they pay – see them all as portfolio pieces and work on them as if you’re working for yourself. It’s the same with a full-time job. Make the most of it, even if you’re doing a crummy job you hate. Always make the most of whatever opportunities you have right now.
sci-fi artist John Harris’ full artwork for Ann Leckie’s Ancillary
series of books. Sam Weber’s cover for Rachel Aaron’s Spirit’s
End, the final book in her Eli Monpress series
– more overleaf. This dynamic cover art for Kate Elliott’s
Black Wolves was created by Larry Rostant. The book is out later this year. Gene Mollica and Michael Frost share art credits, and a Gemmell Award nomination, for this cover.