Creator Spotlight: Award-winning illustrator John Picacio

25 Years of Illustrations by John Picacio

25 years ago this month, Michael Moorcock’s Behold The Man: The 30th Anniversary Edition was published by Mojo Press, featuring cover artwork by John Picacio – an event that has, deservedly, led to him becoming a multi-award winning artist, whose work has gained fans worldwide.

At the time, John was self-publishing his own comics stories in a book called Words & Pictures.

“My dream was to work in comics, not to become a professional illustrator in the realms of science fiction and fantasy,” he notes in his official web site. “But when I was offered the gig, I fell in love with the process of making the cover art and designing the book, and 25 years later, I’m still in love with that process.”

Today, John, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the most acclaimed American artists in science fiction and fantasy over the last decade, creating best-selling art for George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the Star Trek and X-Men franchises. as well as over 150 book covers.

Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House - art by John Picacio
Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House

Major clients include Penguin Random House, Tor Books, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Saga Press, Pyr, Baen Books, Tachyon, and many more. His body of work features major book illustrations for authors such as Leigh Bardugo, Rebecca Roanhorse, Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison, James Dashner, Brenda Cooper, Frederik Pohl, Mark Chadbourn, Sheri S. Tepper, James Tiptree, Jr., Lauren Beukes, Jeffrey Ford, Joe R. Lansdale, and many, many more.

His accolades include three Hugo Awards, eight Chesley Awards, three Locus Awards, two International Horror Guild Awards, the World Fantasy Award, and the Inkpot Award.

He is also the founder of the creative publishing imprint, Lone Boy, which has become the launchpad for his Loteria Grande cards, a bold contemporary re-imagineering of the classic Mexican game of chance, an ongoing series that features some of his favourite works of recent years.

In 2018, he became only the third person in the history of the World Science Fiction Convention to serve as Guest of Honour and Hugo Awards Master of Ceremonies at the same Worldcon, and the first Latinx to ever be a Worldcon Guest of Honour.

Art by John Picacio

He’s also the founder of The Mexicanx Initiative, which supported 50 Mexicanx writers, artists, filmmakers and fans to attend the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in 2018.

“If you would’ve told 12-year-old me that would happen someday — I would’ve signed on for that life in a heartbeat,” says John, and his many fans are hugely grateful the cards fell the way they did.

While just which art by John might resonate the longest is up for debate, he feels 2021 will be a pivotal one for me, as he’s creating work for a couple of new projects that he hopes will resonate for a long time.

I’m one of many always delighted to see what new art John comes up with. Congratulations to him on achieving such an important landmark.

John Picacio is online at johnpicacio.com

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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