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Just six days left to make your Hugo nominations. Nominations close on March 10.

To continue with my own thoughts and recommendations... let's talk about Best Professional Artist.

This is one of the toughest categories, I think. There are so many incredible artists working in our field at present, it is very difficult to winnow the list down to just five.

Let me start, once again, with the same shocked revelation I make every single damned year. Did you know that neither ALAN LEE nor JOHN HOWE has ever won a Hugo? In fact, I don't believe either one has ever even been nominated. To my mind, that's outrageous. These are two of the most important, influential, and talented fantasy artists ever to lift up a paintbrush, whose influence in the field has been enormous. It is long past time they got some recognition.

JOHN PICACIO won last year's Hugo, after umpty-ump years of being a bridesmaid. It was great to see John standing up there clutching a Hugo at long last, and his victory was certainly well deserved. He just keeps getting better and better. I like to think that his amazing work on the 2012 Ice & Fire calendar helped finally put him over the top. This year John did his own calendar, as well as some stunning covers. Check out his website at http://picacio.blogspot.com/ for a review of his body of work for 2012. Some amazing stuff there. Picacio definitely deserves another nomination, in my opinion.

This year's Ice & Fire calendar, the one for 2013, was illustrated by MARC SIMONETTI. Another astonishing artist, and one who had never been nominated for a Hugo. Time he was, I think. In addition to the calendar, Marc has also done several covers for the French editions of my novels from J'ai Lu, covers that were then reused in Brazil, and by various other publishers around the world. It was those covers that first drew him to my attention. Here's one:


Then, of course, there's MICHAEL KOMARCK. My admiration for his work is well known. Komarck did the very first Ice & Fire calendar back in 2009, the ill-fated Dabel Brothers calendar; he has also done some gorgeous Ice & Fire artwork for Fantasy Flight Games and Green Ronin, and of late has established himself as the definitive Wild Cards artist with his covers for Tor's editions of the WC books, both new and old.


Komarck FINALLY got his first Hugo nomination last year, at Chicon. Of course, he went on to lose to Picacio in the final balloting. I plan on nominating him once again. You can see a lot more of his work at his own website: http://www.komarckart.com/

And that's five nominees right there: Alan Lee, John Howe, John Picacio, Marc Simonetti, Michael Komarck. Only five places on the ballot. Alas, there are a lot more than five great artists working in SF and fantasy right now. Among them are MARC FISHMAN and TOM KIDD, two more terrific talents. I've had the privilege of working with both recently. Fishman illustrated the Subterranean Press limited edition of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, Kidd their limited of DYING OF THE LIGHT. We need more places on the Hugo ballot, I think (no, not really, just trying to make a point). Anyway, take a look at their stuff as well. I believe Tom Kidd has been nominated in the past, though he has never won a Hugo. Fishman has never even made the ballot. They are both worthy of consideration.

This is a hard one, as I said. There's no wrong answer here. The main thing, I think, is to consider ALL the great work being done in the field, instead of just rounding up the usual suspects. All too many times in the past, the ballot for Best Professional Artist has consisted of the same five names, as if no one else was worthy of the award. Nothing could be further than the truth.


Margaret Organ-Kean
Mar. 5th, 2013 06:07 am (UTC)
Suggestion for Best Artist
Terese Nielsen.
Kinukyo Craft.
Rebecca Guay.
Ruth Sanderson.

Probably others.
Adrian Jones
Mar. 5th, 2013 09:39 am (UTC)
Michael Komarck
I loved the high-resolution copies of his work that came in the Hugo Voters' pack last year. I have and A4 printout of his Aces High cover on my office wall at home.
Damian Marovay
Mar. 5th, 2013 12:00 pm (UTC)
Alan Lee
It's a damn shame that Alan Lee hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves.
One of my favorite Films of all times is the Merlin 'mini series' from 1998 and if I remember correctly he did most of the conceptual design for that. Loving the flair and character he gave that film.
Rodrigo Cerqueira Lopes
Mar. 5th, 2013 12:27 pm (UTC)
Alan Lee and John Howe
I voice with you about John Howe and Alan Lee. It's really an absurd!
Lee Geurts
Mar. 5th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
My favorite artist
My favorite fantasy artist by far is Terese Nielsen. Just my two cents.
Patrick Wagner
Mar. 6th, 2013 08:40 pm (UTC)
Really Off Topic
I'm sorry to post this here, I just didn't know where I should post it. I just listened to the Sports Illustrated Pod Cast and found it very interesting and cool; I also thought their sports map of Westeros/Free Cities was awesome! I just think it is great to see your world being talked about in just about every facet of our society. Congratulations on all of your success and I look forward to your next piece of work!
Mar. 8th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
A question.
I know he's controversial (and dead), but a lost collection of Robert Bishop's was found recently in Chitown. Six pieces I believe, high quality. SF/F spin too. Can awards be given posthumously?
Mar. 8th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
Re: A question.
Yes, awards can be given posthumously.

Sadly, history has shown that dying can sometimes be the surest way to win a Hugo.

Must confess, I don't know Robert Bishop or his work.
Martin Bennedik
Mar. 10th, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC)
Difficulties nominating for a Hugo in this category
I am allowed to nominate for Hugo this year. It is only my second time, so maybe I am overlooking something.
The Hugo award for best artist is for the work of the artist in 2012, according to the rules.
I am a fan of Michael Kormack, however I have a hard time nominating him, as I have no idea which illustrations of his were first published in 2012.
For example, the cover for "Aces High" you are showing above is from 2011.
Also, the website of him unfortunately does not have any current illustrations. It seems as if the website has not been updated for several years.
Therefore I have decided not to nominate in this category.
I am not sure if I am overlooking something, or maybe this is a general difficulty of voters, that should be brought to the attention of the artists or the WSFS.
Mar. 10th, 2013 07:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Difficulties nominating for a Hugo in this category
This has been an ongoing problem in the Best Artist category. No one is ever quite sure which work belongs to any particular year. Various attempts made over the years to address the problem have all failed.

Actually, I would favor abolishing this category in favor of one for a particular work: Best Cover, let us say. This has been proposed many times in the past, but always rejected, on the grounds that it would discriminate against interior art... but since the magazines no longer publish interior art, that quibble has lost whatever validity it once had. An effort to add a second art category, recognizing the work instead of the artist, was tried a few years ago, but received so few nominations that it was dropped... but the problem there was that it was added as a second, supplementary category to Best Artist. It should have REPLACED the older category; if so, people would have taken it more seriously.

The "usual suspects" aspect of Best Professional Artist is a predictable result of rules that favor a body of work and general professional reputation over a specific work done in a specific year. That's why we see the same artists winning year after year after year. Had there ever been a Best Writer category, Robert A. Heinlein would have won twenty of them, he was so popular.



George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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