The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Art Of Patrick J. Jones (book review).

October 29, 2016 | By | Reply More

A third book of the art of Patrick J. Jones in as many years from Korero Press is not a bad thing. This time, under the title ‘The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Art Of Patrick J. Jones’, he isn’t teaching but showing work from his career. A lot of this is painted with Corel Painter over the early part of this century and not something he’s shown in the previous two books. Without thinking, he’s still giving lessons by example. If the early software was this good and providing it works with the likes of the current Windows or whatever, why get the more expensive current versions as you learn to paint digitally. Also check the requirements of any book publisher you work for because they often prefer to have their work kept in layers for alterations. Having been playing with digital software over the past year, where there is an option to merge layers, that’s something you’re going to have to resist or at least resist merging or deleting them all thinking you’ve finished. Reading into this, I can’t help think that publisher cover editors aren’t trusting their artists to complete the work or the perceived ideal that digital painting can be changed instantly.

Although some of the history of Jones’ career in cover painting has been covered in his early books, a lot more is revealed this time, not to mention some of the practices used by other artists. The one I liked the most is using themselves as the models for their paintings but make sure you have a descent tripod and a decent time-stop on your camera to get in front of the lens in the pose you need.


Something that might strike a chord with a lot of pro-artists is spending a couple days a week teaching the craft doesn’t tend to damage but improve your painting time. I suspect that’s an illustration (sic) of Parkinson’s Law in operation. From Jones’ perspective it removes the hermit level any creative person goes through and by showing others various techniques, you’re improving your own technique. I learnt from this in my youth when in my fandom days, a lot of my letters was showing learner amateur artists how to improve their technique in quick sketches all the time was doing the same for me.

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

I loved his anecdote about only presenting roughs of paintings at publishing houses that you’d be happy to complete any of them than trying to direct a cover editor as to the one you prefer by detailing it the most. Likewise, the awareness of scale and when a painting is reduced in size, the background will be much of a blur but they don’t always see things like that. A further point is made that cover editors can also crop your painting to a bit they particularly like so don’t skimp on anything. Even when Jones says he isn’t teaching, you’re learning a lot about the industry and not to be too precious when selling a painting after all, these are the people are still your paying clients making use of and putting your work on a cover.

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

From Jones’ description of his long-sightedness and need for glasses, I’m surprised he doesn’t use a blurry look at the picture to check for tonal levels. His visit to the then Frazetta Museum also points from Ellie Frazetta that you shouldn’t just paint digitally because you have nothing physical as originals to sell one day. Oh and hold onto the rights of your painting than be a ‘work-for-hire’ because that always leaves the possibility of selling the cover rights again.

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

When it comes to Jones’ oil panting gallery, you see both the original rough and final painting. The contrast is interesting because he does use a lot more greens and blues in the latter. I suspect some of these painting probably look better in real life as oils do have a tendency to look darker when photographed. If you’ve ever seen art gallery brochure guides then you’ll know what I mean. I do agree with him about his liking his own ‘Solomon’s Loss’ as it has to be one of my favourites as well, if only for the mermaid with the very long tail.

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

(c) Patrick J Jones 2016

I would say much of Jones work in this book is fantasy than SF. His colour choices are often a match to the colour choices of some of the old masters which match the feel he wants to give for the time period depicted, especially for those from Greek mythology. Hopefully, the samples given here should indicate that this is a book you will want to own.

GF Willmetts

October 2016

(pub: Korero Press. 176 page illustrated large hardback. Price: £25.99 (UK), $39.95 (US), $53.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-95766-499-9)

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Category: Books, Fantasy, Illustration

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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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