Dreamland by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell (book review),

To call artists Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell prolific painters is a bit of an understatement. More so with this book ‘Dreamland’, other than a couple at the back, the rest are new to me. It’s a shame that their source isn’t noted nor when they were used or printed before, although I do get a hint from the book that a lot of them were for private collectors, personal paintings or used in their calendars. Most of them are in portrait mode with fewer lapsing into two-page landscape.


I’m not sure whether it’s the printing process or the two artists but they appear to be using a darker palate than usual. There is also a bit more text than usual with both Boris and Julie giving potted histories of themselves. Bell makes a telling point that the reason that their humans are so athletic that in the fantasy worlds they create, if you were unfit you wouldn’t survive. This is reiterated by Vallejo later. This did result in a rather wry grin as to where do they hide their training gyms or in our world, where do the centaurs and snake-women hang out that they paint.

Dreamland published by Pavilion Books © Boris Vallejo 2015
Dreamland published by Pavilion Books
© Boris Vallejo 2015

There’s an interesting comparison on pages 94-95 showing the pair of them doing their own interpretations of the same model. Using my own artist’s eye, Bell has a greater emphasis on a darker mood than her husband although I can’t help think it was tailored by the model’s dark costume.

Dreamland published by Pavilion Books © Julie Bell 2015
Dreamland published by Pavilion Books
© Julie Bell 2015

Some of the questions asked do seem a little obvious to me but their answers do give insight into their creative process. I mean I never think of an empty canvas as intimidating, mostly because I’ve already thought about what’s going on it.

Dreamland published by Pavilion Books © Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell 2015
Dreamland published by Pavilion Books
© Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell 2015

Those of you who pick up the books of Vallejo and Bell are going to love adding this one to your collections. There’s a lot of good art from the last decade and although it came out in October 2014, it seems to have missed being reviewed until now. Oh, the ten A4 art prints are from pages from this book and can come out of the sleeve on the inside back cover easily enough without damaging the book which is always a good sign. A book to wander through when you want to imagine yourself off-world.

GF Willmetts

March 2015

(pub: Pavilion Books. 192 page illustrated large hardback plus 10 limited edition removeable art prints. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-909397-87-3)

check out website: www.pavilionbooks.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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