Spectrum 14

There are a number of illustration annuals, showcasing the editors’ choices for notable contemporary illustration. I look forward to several of them, The Society of Illustrator’s Annual, for example, but for many years (14 to be exact) my favorite illustration annual has been Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, edited by Cathy Fenner and Arine Fenner.

They are aided each year by a jury of top artists in the field, and, in addition to displaying the work chosen from hundreds of submissions, they bestow several awards, including a Grand Master Award, honoring a respected veteran who has made an outstanding contribution to the field, which this year goes to Syd Mead.

Submissions are open to anyone, though there is an entry fee ($20), and the selection is competitive. The Call for Entries for the next volume, Spectrum 15, is now open. The deadline is January 25, 2008.

There is a good article on Irene Gallo’s always informative blog The Art Department from almost exactly a year ago, in which she writes about the Call for Entries for the volume that just came out. In it she discusses why an artist would pay to have their work considered for entry in the collections. (See also my previous post on Irene Gallo.)

Originally concentrating on fantasy, science fiction and horror illustration, with a minor in comics, the selection of work for the Spectrum collections has widened in recent years to include film and gaming concept art, as well as more mainstream illustrators whose work can fit into those categories.

My first reaction when I encountered Spectrum 14 years ago and leafed through it’s pages full of gloriously imaginative and beautifully executed work was “Wow, cool!”, which has continued to be my reaction each subsequent year, as the editors show a remarkable tendency to showcase illustration, comics and fantasy art that I really like.

They have in fact, included work form a remarkable number of artists that I’ve featured for you here in lines and colors posts. There is a partial list of them in my post from last year on Spectrum 13.

Spectrum 14 just hit the stores yesterday, at least for those of us who buy their copy in bookstores that sell comics. Other bookstores should have it soon.

I’m second to none in my appreciation of artwork on the web, but there is one factor that is still lacking. Compared to print, computer monitors are low-resolution (maybe 100ppi tops for the most part; though advances in the Apple’s new Leopard operating system are laying the groundwork for true high resolution (200-300ppi) computer screens in the near future).

In the meantime, if you like the fantastic art that I’ve featured over the years on lines and colors, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll enjoy seeing the work in the Spectrum collections, in the high resolution print medium for which it was intended.


7 Replies to “Spectrum 14

  1. Yes, but you can get all of those wonderful European BD albums that are difficult to find over here.

    (Actually, that may be a good thing; otherwise I would spend way too much money on them.) ;-]

  2. I started reading Spectrum when the 5th volume came out a looong time ago. I remember seeing Shaun Tan’s work in an earlier volume and being blown away. Anyway, I’m glad to see that it’s continued after all these years. I need to submit something one of these years.

  3. I’ve been picking up some of the first few,since I have almost all of them. I have stopped buying the new ones as they are becoming overpopulated with digital art. Sad trend really.

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