Stranger than Fiction

A change of pace

It’s not always fiction that I work on. Occasionally, I work on a non-fiction novel too. Some authors prefer something “more painterly” than stock images for a cover which I’m always happy to accommodate. I have produced stock image covers before for clients, but as it’s not my usual illustration I don’t tend to put them in my galleries to avoid confusion.

I worked on these three covers using stock images, doing a few touch ups, a bit of formatting and colour adjustments etc for these covers for author Kay Paterson at Witchwood Press.

Non-fiction illustration

In the past I worked on Adrian Thomas’ 1066 and all that, Whatever which was a non-fiction look at a historical subject. Adrian asked me to paint a new frame as if it was missing from the Bayeux Tapestry.


Creating non-fiction paintings isn’t so dissimilar to painting fiction, even fantasy fiction. Everything requires a reference point. For the above illustration I referred a lot to photos of the Bayeux Tapestry and learned a lot about the techniques and the reason they included different iconography. Just like when I want to paint a fantasy scene, I need to look at human posture, real locations in nature or architecture from real life.

Latest non-fiction

I finished my latest non-fiction piece last week for Richard West who is studying a masters in creative writing. He had a real concrete idea of what he wanted painted, but despite being non-fiction was almost more abstract and dreamlike than some of the fantasy I work on. Richard wanted iconography used to suggest elements of the story, like the broken glass, gravestones and eagle. It’s unlikely that all these things would come together in a scene, but we wanted to have the main image centered around a journey on his trusty Yamaha ‘Yammie’. So the image is a blend of surreal abstract and an everyday scene, with meaning embedded in every aspect of the painting.

You’ll have to read Richard’s novel when he releases it. I’ll be sure to post when he lets me know!


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