The Art Of Dave Seeley (book review)

September 25, 2015 | By | Reply More

Anyone with SF geek credibility does when opening a new artbook and not knowing the artist is rummage through the pages first and get a feel for the material. I suspect non-geeks do this as well if there’s an open copy in the bookshop but that’s not always likely to happen nor when ordering over the Net. So you have me and a few sample interiors to make your judgement by. When you see the painting of the Frankenstein creature enjoying himself on a swing, you also realise Dave Seeley also takes delight in what he does. Much of Dave Seeley’s which involves cards and cover art is for American publishers so we in the UK are less likely to come across his work. It’s only when I saw some covers from some of the Vatta book series by Elizabeth Moon amongst others I’ve reviewed in recent years that something clicked and liked.


More remarkably, although he comes from an artistic family, Seeley’s initial career was in architecture before he urge came to get more creative and made the transition to doing genre art. Much of Seeley’s paintings is used in military SF although there’s a fair wad of ‘Star Wars’ paintings here as well. He reveals in that section that he’s also a die-hard fan and more than in his element. Saying that, although he identifies TIE fighter Wedge Antilles as actor Denis Lawson, he was never that fat and I think he mean Porkins on page 107 or it’s a bad pose.

Seeley-QuarantineBarrier7skewCMYK                Seeley-High5ElfArcherCMYK2

Seeley is also a mixed media painter, mixing oil and digital and even photos into his compositions. He describes his technique as kit-bashing literally with his art. He also likes model-making and kit-bashing as well so that didn’t surprise me. In some respects, I wish he’s included some photos of these models as well as he uses them for reference. I’m sure that they would inspire more people to move away from basic modelling. He references websites and software that have provided him some use that those of you who want to follow a similar path should look up.

Seeley-HealerCMYK                       Seeley-CryoBurnCMYKfinal

One thing that comes out a lot is Seeley’s need to demonstrate motion in a static painting so although on a glance there’s a little blurring in some paintings, it does give the right effect. When it comes to people doing it, the pictures are a little sharper but it still works although I doubt if few people really move at speed without our eyes slowing them down. When you see some of his photos capturing human models, it becomes rather fascinating how he captures particular poses.

Seeley-BurnZoneCMYK                   Seeley-BioHellCMYK

I like a lot of Seeley’s work here and although I suspect publishers have pigeon-holed him at the moment, I hope they allow him opportunities in other parts of our genre. This is definitely an artbook to add to your collection and I suspect the ‘Star Wars’ crowd will want this book to see his paintings sans cover blurb. Don’t forget to look inside the dustcover, because it conceals two different pictures.

GF Willmetts

September 2015

(pub: Titan Books. 176 page large illustrated hardback. Price: £29.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78329-353-7)

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Category: Books, Fantasy, Illustration, Scifi

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About UncleGeoff

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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