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Artist: Scott Fischer by Gayle Surrette Intervew  ISBN/ITEM#: ARTSFische
Date: 01 April 2007

Links: Scott's Website: /

As with most SF genre artists, you may not recognize the name but you should because you've probably seen his art on the covers of many of the books on your shelves or to-be-read piles. A sampling of his works include the worlds of Peter Pan, Secrets of Dripping Fang series, Halo, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons and Dragons.

SFRevu: You've done an impressive amount of work in the SF/fantasy field. Have you always done genre illustrations? How did you get started?

Scott Fischer: I've always wanted to be a genre illustrator. I even wrote a paper in 4th grade that stated I wanted to be the artist for Dungeons and Dragons. Fast forward a couple of decades and Bam-o! That's what I was. But like a lot of folks my first 'in' came from an introduction at a convention to an art director.

Image strip of 5 of Scott's bookcovers

[Check out the originals on Scott's website}

SFRevu: When you get an assignment, how do you go from first request to the finished work? Do you read the book/story/whatever? Do you get a list of things to put in the artwork? Is it a combination? What's the process like?

Scott: I speed read as much as possible, usually finishing the whole novel, unless a solid idea hits me 2/3rds through. I've never gotten a list from a Novel art director per-say. I just sketch ideas in the margins of the manuscript as I read and then bring elements together into a final sketch. Once approved, I work my mojo on the final piece!

SFRevu: Do you have a favorite medium -- one that you chose to use over other? Has the introduction of computer graphics at all changed the way you work?

Scott: The computer has changed EVERYTHING! Man I remember spending hours at book stores going page by page searching for the right reference. Now it is a quick google search away. I also work out a lot of my illustration ideas right on the computer. Scanning in sketches, manipulating them, adding textures. Sometimes I will finish a piece 100% digital. But if time allows I would always rather have physical painting when I am done.

SFRevu: How is the illustration market these days? How much of an artist's time is spent keeping their name out there? Can an artist survive if they're not also a bit of a salesperson?

Scott: Yes you totally have to be a sales person. Personality is almost more important than talent. Once you hit a certain level you are more likely to have companies knocking at your door than having to blind solicit clients, BUT, you still have to entertain the company when it comes a calling!

Spectrum is a fantastic resource for keeping your name out there. And of course it is essential to have a website. So when folks hear your name whispered in the wind, they can check you out.

SFRevu: Do you think artists in this field get enough recognition? If not, how could it be changed or what would help?

Scott: I do. Perhaps not within the illustration community itself (commercial, editorial, etc.) though I feel even that is changing with the Spectrum show at the Society of Illustrators, and skyrocketing pulp SF art sales. But with the general public? Heck yeah. I have been sent across the globe for the simple reason of signing autographs. SF/Fantasy fans are the best you could ever hope for.

SFRevu: What do you find helps sell your work? Is it a particular style, subject, humor...?

Scott: All of the above. An artist comes up really focused on what their heroes are doing. And that is hugely important when you are starting out. For me: Rockwell, Zug, Justin Sweet, Brom, Odd Nerdrum, Phil Hale, Rick Berry, DiTerlizzi and comic book guys like Doug Gregory, Mike Mignola, Rob Haynes, Andrew Robinson, the list goes on. But it is when we stop looking at what others are doing that people start looking at what we're doing. Funny how that works.

SFRevu: I saw in another interview that you did that you'd have a children's picture book coming out this year. Is that still an ongoing project? Could you tell us a bit about it?

Scott: I do! It is a whole other side to me that few have seen. It is called Twinkle (Simon and Schuster). It is a reinterpretation of Twinkle, twinkle, little Star. But with Aliens and space ships and all the cool stuff I loved as a child! It even has a pop-open center spread! It has a pub date of August 2007.

And if anything I would say my influence ran more toward Calvin and Hobbs than anything else. It is a total riot! Here is an Amazon link

SFRevu: Who are you favorite artists or inspirations? What do you do to refresh the creative well?

Scott: All those guys I listed above and a million more! To refresh the creative well I take a break. Play a guitar. Build a guitar. Germinate what my next kidsbook will be. Watch cartoons.

SFRevu: Do you only paint for assignments, or do you paint for yourself as well?

Scott: Whenever I can! There is a personal paint section on my website

SFRevu: What do you read and/or watch? Last 5 books/movies/TV shows?

Scott: Kids books, kids books, kids books (I have a 4 year old!). Lots of Noggin. The last movie I saw was 300 (AMAZING!) before that I had not gone to a grownup move movie since the second Lord of the Rings (Did I mention I have a 4 year old?) The last books I TOTALLY loved were John Wright's Chaos series. They really are amazing. They made me feel smarter than I am!

SFRevu: Do you have any advice for people trying to break into the field?

Scott: Join, it is an astounding resource. Go to conventions. Meet fellow artists. The reality is almost every successful person had an introduction at some point to the right person. Find someone to introduce you. And make the most of that slightly open window.

SFRevu: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

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