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The Digital Art Of Steve Stone: Nexus DNA Volume One (book review).

November 17, 2020 | By | Reply More

For a book that is some 22 years old, I found getting hold of ‘The Digital Art Of Steve Stone: Nexus DNA Volume One’ relatively easy and even an autographed copy no less. As John Burns explains in the introduction, he was visiting various artists for their views on his new digital software and came across Steve Stone and finally convinced to try the new-fangled computers out.

Of course, things have moved along a lot in the past 22 years but seeing Stone’s early work is still an eye-opener. Thing is, looking around for his later work has proven to be a lot tougher. Which is unusual considering he worked in early role-playing games with the likes of ‘Zero’ and designing its ‘Hiveworld’ and later ‘Nexus DNA’ and ‘The Amtrek Wars’ amongst others. I suspect those of you who do RPG have seen more of his work than I have.

It’s hardly surprising that HR Geiger had some influence on his robotic-like art and a predominance for female figures because he notes so little done with them at the time. There’s a predominance of black and white work here but I think the intent was to be dark and scary which seems to work.

Oddly, Stone’s history isn’t given until late in the book where he started off as a compulsive pencil artist which served him in good stead in conveying layouts to his employers before the digital painting. Considering he was working in the early days of Photoshop and such, it does show what you could do back then.

I think what was more important was his time in college and the descriptions of how abusive some of the tutors were and less about preparing them for commercial artwork. Hopefully, things have changed since then but, even so, having seen these scenarios come up time after time over the years, it does tend to present itself as having teachers who weren’t successful in the industry taking it out on the students.

The fact that so many think that art students have to throw away everything previously learnt is hardly a way to develop imagination or personal talent. It’s hardly surprising that the successful artists are the ones who leave early and rely on hard work and doing what their employers want.

What is the bigger puzzle is where is any further volumes beyond this book. Granted Stone is probably too busy but after 22 years, you would have thought something would have happened. I came across Steve Stone more or less by accident but its also a reassurance that artbooks are out there if you want to find them.

GF Willmetts

November 2020

(pub: Archangel, 1998. 80 page illustrated softcover. Price: I pulled my copy for about £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 1-892519-00-1)

check out website: www.archangel.com

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Category: Books, Illustration

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 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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