By The Cover

John Jude Palencar

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. I can’t say I’m one to hold to such philosophy because in all honesty, it’s the cover that often catches my attention, that is, when it comes to actual books.

Book cover art and illustration has a lot to do with my childhood interests in art and has stayed with me even ’til now. While daydreams of seeing my work in galleries, on the walls of collectors and in magazines are delightful and inspiring, I’ve always wanted to walk into a bookstore and see my work on the covers of books, particularly of the scifi, fantasy and speculative fiction genre but I’m open to any genre if my work fits.

 Yesterday I made a visit to my local Barnes & Noble and took pleasure in indulging in one of my old past times; cruising the shelves just looking at cover art. 

I’m a big scifi & fantasy fan so that’s where I headed. I used to be into novels such as the works of Ursula Le Guin, Storm Constantine, Octavia Butler, Tanith Lee and Charles De Lint. But over the years I’ve become short on time and find myself less able to commit to a full novel. Now I just opt for short stories for reading or watch a movie. It’s not often that I buy, let alone sit down and read a novel nowadays. Hopefully that will change in the future. 

When it comes to cover art though, I feel that scifi & fantasy has some of the best work particularly in the area of traditional art. I pay attention to cover art so much that I’m now at the point where I can look at a book cover and immediately know who the artist is. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a wide range of varying styles and I’m seeing more of the same artist’s work on various books. This makes me wonder, are there fewer traditional artists being employed by publishing companies? A lot of cover art now appears to be a mix of design and digital artistry. Not that anything is wrong with that. I myself have a background in digital art, which has its own beauty, uniqueness and skill. But as someone who likes traditional art more, I am drawn to art and illustration that has more of a look and feel of being created through traditional mediums and it saddens me to think traditional arts are being eclipsed by the convenience and speed of digital art that in some ways lack the distinctiveness of the traditional.

Below are a few snapshots along with examples of a few artists whose art caught my eye while visiting B&N. You can see more work by each artist at the links provided.

Magdalena Korzeniewska is an illustrator from Poland whose gel pen drawings are inspired by the world of literature, legends and fairy tales.

Travis Louie is a New York based artist who creates paintings of portraits of mythical beings and human oddities based in Victorian and Edwardian times.


Sam Wolfe Connelly is a New York based artist whose works are ethereal, emotive, haunting and quietly evil.

Tommy Arnold is an illustrator whose art has the feel of atmosphere and action. You can find his work gracing the publications of Tor, Orbit and Wizards of the Coast books.

Carve & Draw Monthly

Just a little FYI for you lovely people who want to stay up to date but feel the weight of information overload. I have a little newsletter that I send out monthly (every fourth Sunday). It’s essentially a digest of what I blog about here along with my available works and any sales I have going on. If you’re one of those souls who want to keep up to date with what I’m doing but feel too exasperated to thumb through your blog feed, then please be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter at:
Have a peaceful day. 😊

Happiness Is A Choice

We are victims of our own idealism, tragedies before our own perfectionism. Happiness is a choice that is dependent upon nothing other than us deciding to simply be happy. The sun doesn’t need to be shining in order for us to smile. A six figure career doesn’t need to be obtained in order for us to feel joy. A lover doesn’t need to be perfect in order for us to love. And everything doesn’t need to be right in the world in order for us to be kind. We place far too much of our happiness upon external things and circumstances, casting happiness off into some future existence that we hope to be rewarded with after we achieve some preconceived idea of success. Happiness isn’t an object to be obtained. Yet we have been so thoroughly trained to look towards external things in order to be happy that we live although it is something that we need to strive after, something that we need to chase, when all we have to do is stop and look within. When we see that it doesn’t take much to laugh, to smile, to love, to create or to feel joy, we will see that happiness is within us and that it is a choice that is within our grasp with each new day we awaken to, leading us to realize that life doesn’t need to be perfect in order to be happy. 

Open Letter to 2016 Political Candidates | Copyright Alliance

Copyright Alliance has drafted an open letter to our 2016 political candidates, for any artist, creator or supporter to sign, urging them to maintain America’s commitment to the right of creators to determine when and how they share their works in the global marketplace. I’ve signed this petition out of concern for the increasing misuse and abuse that has taken place on the internet of the works of artists and creators. If this is a concern of yours then you should probably take a look at this petition. I firmly believe that copyright laws should also apply to internet uses and that platforms, companies or individuals should not be allowed to profit off of the works of creators without the expressed permission and compensation to the creator and that attribution, where applicable should be given to the creator. There’s nothing worse than discovering your work has been hijacked by some company like in the case of Urban Outfitters. 

Please take a look at this petition and sign if your heart feels compelled.

Open Letter To 2016 Political Candidates
Thank you. ❤