First Im­pres­sions

We talk to Bob Eg­gle­ton.

ImagineFX - - Contents - Bob Eg­gle­ton Bob is a eight-time Hugo Award-win­ning artist. You can see more of his art at www.bob­sart­du­

What do you think people’s first im­pres­sion is of you?

Some see me as just the Godzilla Guy. Oth­ers view me as an over­grown hip­pie. I see my­self as an out­sider. I don’t go along with a lot of the trends in il­lus­tra­tion. I just paint what I can have fun with.

Who are the artists that in­spire you?

It’s a toss-up be­tween JMW Turner, John Martin or Gus­tave Doré. They did fan­tasy art be­fore it was called that. That’s not to say I don’t ad­mire great artists now, but my first in­spi­ra­tions are those guys.

Do you have a paint­ing rit­ual?

I start ev­ery­thing dif­fer­ently. Art is al­ways evolv­ing, and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion needs to be en­cour­aged just to keep it from be­com­ing bland.

What did it feel like when you first saw your art pub­lished in a book?

It was pretty cool. I ap­proached Paper Tiger in 1994 or 95. I’d won a Hugo and fig­ured this was the time. It was all quite easy. I did sev­eral books with Paper Tiger, and they sold re­ally well. And the best royalty out of my first book was that I met my wife. She bought the book Alien Hori­zons in Aus­tralia and wrote to me. Next thing I knew, I was jet­ting down to see her and well, here we are!

How did you feel when you first won the Hugo Award in 1994 for best artist (and then a fur­ther seven times!)?

I didn’t ex­pect to win. Then I got this fran­tic call late from a friend scream­ing,

Be­tween ages six and eight I de­voured those Wal­ter Fos­ter ‘How to draw’ books

“You won!” So I flew there on short no­tice to pick it up the next day. These days it’s all dif­fer­ent, but back then they used mail and paper bal­lots. The work was seen on cov­ers in book­stores and such. There were no in­ter­net sites. Now, people ac­tu­ally cam­paign for the award.

When did you first re­alise that you wanted to be an artist?

When I was four. My dad showed me how to draw pic­tures, per­spec­tive and things like that. Be­tween ages six and eight I de­voured those Wal­ter Fos­ter ‘How to draw’ books. I drew a lot in school and col­lected comics, and I knew then I wanted to do art for a liv­ing. I went to an art school for 18 months and it was a fi­asco. The fo­cus was on 1970s mod­ern art and when you men­tioned names like Frazetta you were laughed at.

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 [be­low left] 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 1980s.

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.

dragon’s ring “This piece from 2009 is a bench­mark paint­ing of the way I love cre­at­ing art.”

Es­cape from the rim “This piece was my first sci­ence fic­tion paint­ing. Un­til this paint­ing I pri­mar­ily worked in ink and pen­cil.”

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