“Hello! I am a senior concept artist with Riot Games. I specialize in illustration for marketing, key art illustration, and character design. When not at the office, I am also a freelance illustrator specializing in illustration for sci-fi/fantasy and young adult novels. I have also taught private classes on concept design and have lectured and demoed at numerous international conferences. My work has been featured in galleries in both the US and in Europe.
When I am not painting, I like to travel abroad…
but most of the time I like to chill with the wife, pet my cats, and play video games.”
… and to give you a few insights into this year’s nominees, we’ve asked them all a few questions…
Tell us one of your early favourite fantasy novels?
Back in High School, and into early college, I was a big fan of the Legend of Drizzt series, by R. A. Salvatore.
What fantasy novel was a real game changer, shifting the way you thought about epic fiction?
At some point I read the book “Heroes Die”, by Matthew Woodring Stover. This was the most adult and gritty sci-fi/fantasy novel I had ever read at this point in my life and opened me up to an edgier branch of the genre.
What do you like to see on fantasy novel cover art? What puts you off?
I like seeing interesting characters or situations or some kind of intriguing/bizarre image. What normally gets me to pick up a book off the shelf to give it a closer look is a cover that begs me to try to solve whatever mystery it is presenting me.
What classic fantasy themes always get your interest on the cover or in the write up of a new book? Any pet hates?
I’m a big fan of elves, strong female characters, and interesting costumes and armor designs. I don’t really have any pet hates for covers, but covers featuring photographic images usually do not peak my interest as much.
What’s the next big thing you’d like to see in epic fantasy fiction?
As much as I love classic fantasy, I would love to see more good fantasy fiction that reinvents the genre a little more. What if the the fantasy world was not based on Europe? What if there were something other than dwarves, elves, wizards, and dragons? I feel like those elements are current staples of the genre, but don’t necessarily need to be so.