Journeyman: The Art Of Chris Moore by Stephen Gallagher (book review).

I did say I was going to look at ‘Journeyman: The Art of Chris Moore’ by Stephen Gallagher after reviewing Adam Rowe’s book ‘Worlds Beyond Time: Sci-Fi Art of the 1970s’. It was actually very easy to find decent copies online. At the time, publisher Paper Tiger was facing closure before being bought by Collins & Brown before fading away, so it’s not surprising that perfect copies were stashed in warehouses or even in retail shops.

This is the first and only book about Chris Moore’s book cover paintings. If you’ve got a decent selection of SF books, then you probably have some of his work there. Purchasing this book gives you access to the majority of his work up until the 1990s, and he also ventured into the realm of car books. As an artist, you have to show work in different kinds of books, and Moore’s mastery of the airbrush earned him a certificate.

The writer Stephen Gallagher’s interview with Chris Moore (1947–) covers his history. Gallagher notes in his introduction that when Moore took art to sell at conventions, he returned with art he bought instead. That, to my mind, sounds like a geek attitude, and I would love to know the size of this collection now. Moore does point out that he likes to study other artists’ techniques and will steal good ideas, so maybe this isn’t really geeky, just good business practice.

He didn’t utilize an airbrush until a colleague’s job at college required him to do so. He had one brief lesson on using Frisk-making templates and made a career out of it. Looking at the captions, Moore’s work is primarily in acrylic, which is understandable because of the airbrush.

Moore’s use of digital technology is mentioned, primarily for design and approval purposes prior to painting.

What is significant is his discussion on how he prepares his pictures from a spontaneous sketch and redraws or enlarges them to copy onto canvas. These days, we’d no doubt see an example, but it has to do with words. I’m surprised Moore didn’t use his tracing paper template as a means to cut his Frisk film to cover parts of his picture for airbrushing.

Similarly, we only receive descriptions of his studio layout at the back of the book, along with two small pictures that depict its appearance. I think there is always some curiosity about how artists arrange their studios for work, not so much to emulate them but as to what kind of environment they will work in. Generally, a well-lit window tends to be more effective. Gallagher describes his writing room with the blinds down, so he has no distractions.

Although this book came out over 20 years ago, it deserves to be in your artbook collection if you haven’t already gotten a copy. The art is sumptuous and covers a wide spectrum.

GF Willmetts

April 2024

(pub: Paper Tiger, 2000. 128 page illustrated largest hardback. Price: varies. ISBN: 1-85585-849-5)


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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