Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tor Books

Posted by Charley Parker at 9:11 am

Tor Books illustrators: Patrick Arrasmith, Christian Alzmann, David Bowers, Brom, Jon Foster, Bob Eggleton, Brian Despain, Aleksi Briclot, Daren Bader
Tor Books is a publishing house that specializes in science fiction and fantasy titles. I should probably say outstanding science fiction and fantasy titles; Tor has won the Locus Magazine poll for best science fiction publisher every year for the last 20 years.

Tor also publishes some of the very best science fiction and fantasy illustration, which is to say some of the best contemporary illustration, period. I’ve noticed in recent years, more and more mainstream illustrators moving into the this field, and more of them turning up each year in the Spectrum collections of contemporary fantastic art.

The superb choices of illustrators, and the art direction that aligns them in in fine tuned harmony with the stories they are illustrating, is the work of Tor’s insightful art director, Irene Gallo (see my previous post on Irene Gallo and her blog The Art Department). Gallo has been the art director at Tor since 1992.

Tor books has just launched a new web site at, and it has immediately become one of the best destination sites for science fiction and fantasy on the web.

In addition to the fascinating blog, and the stories you can read online (soon to include a graphic story, The Leviathan by Wesley Allsbrook), the new Tor web site includes a feature of particular interest to Lines and Colors readers, a gallery of some of their terrific illustrators.

There is a Featured Artist, currently Craig Phillips, and a roster of some of the field’s best illustrators, each with a gallery of representative work.

The list includes many illustrators I’ve featured here on Lines and Colors, including Craig Phillips, Scott Altmann, Christian Alzmann, Patrick Arrasmith, Daren Bader, Volkan Baga, David Bowers, Aleksi Briclot, Brom, Kinuko Y. Craft, Brian Despain, Bob Eggleton, Craig Elliot and Jon Foster, as well as many others that I haven’t covered who are sure to be the subject of future posts.

It’s an impressive showing and, as of this writing, they are apparently only up to the “F’s” in filling out the gallery.

Despite a few little post-launch glitches (missing thumbnails in some of the galleries) this is a fantastic collection of fantastic art, and even in its initial stages, already one of the best on the web.

The only downside I can possibly see is that that the Tor blog may distract Irene Gallo from her regular posting on The Art Department. While her posts on the Tor blog would be as interesting and informative, it’s nice to have them in one place, undiluted by other topics.

Though there may be larger repositories of science fiction and fantasy art on the web, you would be hard pressed to find a more concentrated sampling of the best the field has to offer (up to the “F’s”, that is).

(Image above, left to right: Patrick Arrasmith, Jon Foster, Christian Alzmann, Daren Bader, Brom, Brian Despain, Bob Eggleton, Aleksi Briclot, David Bowers)

Correction: Don Dos Santos was kind enough to write an let me know that there are, in fact, links to the other alphabetically arranged sections of the gallery. I specifically looked for links to additional pages at the top and bottom of the column of thumbnails, but they are off to the left in the heading area, which graphically seems to be a separate element from the thumbnail column.

Of course, that also extends the list of artists in the Tor galleries that I have previously written posts about on Lines and Colors (and I actually surprised myself on this one): Marc Gabbana, Donato Giancola, James Gurney, Stephen Hickman, James Jean, Tom Kidd, Todd Lockwood, Gregory Manchess, Daryl Mandryk, Stephen Martiniere, David Mattingly, Chris Moore, Lawrence Northey, John Jude Palencar, John Picacio, Alan Pollack, Omar Ryyan, Adam Rex, Robh Ruppel, Don Dos Santos, Sparth, Raymond Swanland, Greg Swearingen, Shaun Tan, Keith Thompson, Francis Tsai, Dice Tsutsumi, Christophe Vacher and Sam Weber.

2 comments for Tor Books »

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  1. Comment by DSillustration
    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

    There actually are artists after ‘F’…
    It’s just hard to notice.

    The link is at the top left of the first gallery pic.
    They have yet to put the links at the bottom too.
    They’ll get around to it soon I’m sure.

  2. Comment by irene
    Thursday, July 31, 2008 @ 3:23 am

    Thanks so much for mentioning us!

    We’ll try t address the navigation issue as soon as we hammer out some other bugs. Thanks for the heads-up on it. We’ve been looking at the site so long, it’s hard to see how fresh eyes will view it.

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