Dave Dorman at the San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

Dave Dorman at San Diego Comic-Con

Dave Dorman is an Eisner award-winning illustrator who has been working as a professional artist since 1979. He is best known for his photo-realistic paintings of Star Wars as well as his action and fantasy subjects. If you haven’t seen his work yet, go to his blog and check it out.

Archie cover by Dave Dorman available from M&M Comics

Archie cover by Dave Dorman available from M&M Comics

Last weekend at the San Diego Comic-Con, some of our staff had a chance to meet up with Dave who is also one of the Illustrators of the Future Contest judges.

Dave was certainly busy while we were there, signing posters and books for his fans including this original drawing he was doing for one lucky guy (see video below).

Between signings, he filled us in on his recent projects, one of which was doing the cover for the relaunch of the new Archie. M&M Comics selected Dave to paint a realistic cover for ARCHIE #1 Variant. Dave, who has been a fan of Archie since he was a kid, took up the offer and created an image of Archie that brings that iconic figure into the 21st century. It was a hit with the fans as all the copies at Comic-Con quickly sold out.

If you missed out on getting your Dave Dorman Variant, visit M&M Comics to order your copy.

Dave Dorman

Dave Dorman – A Legend in the Star Wars Universe

You may not know this but back when there was no Illustrators of the Future Contest, we commissioned artists to illustrate the winning stories. That was when we first came into contact with Dave Dorman—he illustrated “Rachel’s Wedding” in Writers of the Future Volume V, published in 1989.

Dave is now one of our venerable Illustrators of the Future judges, most known for his Star Wars artwork having done covers for numerous Star Wars comics, books and magazines. His major works include Tales of the Jedi, Dark Empire and Young Jedi Knights. He also illustrated William C. Dietz‘ novella Dark Forces: Jedi Knight and he most recently did the cover for Star Wars: Darth Maul—Death Sentence.

So, while we have five writer judges who contributed to the Star Wars universe, we also have Dave Dorman contributing to our solid decision that International Star Wars day is our day.

Illustrator Judge Dave Dorman with Golden Brush Award winner, Michelle Lockamy

Illustrator Judge Dave Dorman with Golden Brush Award winner, Michelle Lockamy

Dave and his wife Denise braved it out to Los Angeles for this years workshop and annual awards event despite tornados and storms in their home state of Illinois. They made it just in time to come with the winners and judges to Cliff Nielsen‘s studio for the practical assignment in sketching of live models.

And David did an amazing presentation at the illustrator winner workshop. While he may not be a super hero, he is a super artist.

Writers and Illustrators of the Future wishes Galaxy Press a happy international Star Wars Day (a little early.) Until then…


Writers and Illustrators holding a copy of the book with their winning stories and illustrations outside Bang Printing in Valencia, California

WotF Workshop – Day 5

Nothing compares to seeing a book come off the press. Watching the machines print, stack, and cut, is a fascinating process. What takes that feeling to the next level is knowing it’s your book coming off that press. And that’s what the writers and illustrators experienced today at Bang Printing Press.

Everyone filed into Bang Printing’s conference room, which was just large enough to hold our group. Some of the winners were rubbing their eyes from the late night hanging out with the judges and other winners in the lobby of the Loews Hotel until the wee hours. During the short introduction several of the winners asked about the quality of the paper. Tim Napper said, “I’m not concerned about the paper. I want to see the book!” A great segue just before we were treated to a tour of the printing press.

Choong Yoon discovered a pallet loaded with packets of color prints of the illustrators’ work.  It was a surreal moment as every packet had his winning illustration on top and he happily had his picture taken with the stacks.

But the best moment of the tour was when the winners spotted their book for the first time. Scott Parkin snagged a book that had been misaligned and was marked for disposal. He asked permission to keep the copy and the printer allowed it; bringing new meaning to one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

At the end of the tour the printer handed each winner a copy of the book. The glue was still hot. Books in hand, and full of gratitude for the opportunity, the winners returned to Author Services for afternoon presentations.

Illustrator’s Workshop

The afternoon illustrator’s workshop consisted of inspirational presentations by Errol Gerson, Illustrator Judges Dave Dorman, and Sergey Poyarkov. Illustrators learned the importance of consistency, professionalism, and confidence.

Writer’s Workshop

After a brief lunch break, the writers reported back to the workshop to critique one of the 24-hour stories and lucky Tim Napper was the writer of the chosen work.  He found the exercise extremely helpful and said he would need some time to sort through all the feedback given.

Then the writers were treated to a series of guest lecturers, starting off with a presentation by no less than Tom Doherty, the publisher at Tor Books.  He spoke about the history of publishing and answered winners’ questions about the industry and his own publishing house.

Judges Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, and Orson Scott Card also took the stage, with each of them leading a discussion based on their own expertise. Daniel J. Davis talked about how happily overwhelmed he was by the amount of insight he was being given in a single day.


Laurie Tom

Laurie Tom

Guest Illustrator post by Laurie Tom
2010 Writers of the Future Grand Prize winner

Tina Gower

Tina Gower

Guest Writer post by Tina Gower
2013 Writers of the Future Grand Prize winner

Group shot of the artists with their illustration and the authors to the stories.

WotF Workshop – Day 4

Today was an emotional day where the illustrator winners got to show the illustrations they did for the winning stories to the writers for the first time—but more on that below.

The illustrators started their day by choosing four pieces from their portfolio for review by Ron and Val Lindahn, who critiqued the selected works as well as gave advice for the type of career the different illustrators were interested in pursuing.  They had a wide range of interests, including comics, collectible card games, book covers, and gallery work.

Megen Nelsen was the brave person to have her work reviewed first.  She wants to get into comic art and book covers and both instructors and fellow winners alike crowded around the pieces she selected.

As they went through the portfolios, Val and Ron talked about the challenges of digital art, such as using blending to avoid the cut and paste look when working in digital where the fore and backgrounds might be on different layers and how to use less details in non-essential parts of the illustration to draw the viewer’s eye to the true focus of the piece.

In the afternoon the artists were treated to guest instructor Jim Meskimen who talked about what it’s like to push through as an artist, what interested him as a young talent, and what his experiences were when growing up.  He was surprised that many of the illustrators did not identify as artists when they were children, and in response Quinlan Septer talked about how he went from calling himself an aspiring artist to deciding that he actually was one and it wasn’t a decision he came to until after college.

Jim discussed how important it is to understand the fundamentals of the medium, so the artist knows when to break the rules and when to fall back on them, and he highlighted the difference between showing work to another artist and to everyone else, because another professional is not the audience.

Finally, Jim left the illustrators with a brand new assignment which has not been part of the illustrators’ workshop before.  For the first time the illustrator winners would be required to do a 24-hour illustration in the fashion of the writers’ 24-hour story.

Jim challenged the illustrators to create an illustration consisting of three elements; one of five emotions collectively called out by the class itself, a random object given to each illustrator by Jim, and something from the modeling session they would attend later that evening at judge Cliff Nielsen’s home.  The illustration would then be due the following afternoon, leaving the illustrator winners plenty to think about.

Many of the winners looked baffled at the objects they had been given, mirroring the reactions their contemporaries in the Writing Workshop had only two days earlier.  Jessica Lee received a tiny coconut, Taylor Payton the most concise dictionary he had ever seen, and Amit Dutta could only guess what the clear plastic block with the colorful stickers was for.

After the emotional reveal of the artwork to this year’s writer winners—the photos above tell it all—the illustrators piled into several vans in a caravan to Cliff Nielsen’s home studio, located in what had once been a warehouse. There, everyone got a chance to sit down with live models for practice and inspiration for their 24-hour illustration.

The theme this year was astronauts, with the three models changing props and poses roughly every ten minutes so the illustrators had a variety of angles and expressions to work with. Judge Dave Dorman joined the festivities and sketched right along with the winners.

Alex Brock was quite happy with the experience and now knew exactly what he would do for his 24-hour illustration. Can’t wait to see everyone’s final work!

Writer Workshop – Day 4

Since the writers were holed up and madly scrambling together their 24-hour stories, I had to watch their progress unfold on social media. Martin Shoemaker posted a research question he needed to complete his story. There are no rules to the 24-hour story except to finish it. Martin’s strategy played out a lot like a “Who Wants To Be A Writer” game show and Martin was phoning a friend and several past winners and friends jumped in to help him out.

Zach Chapman posted an interview with Fox News that aired in his home city, San Antonio. So not only was Zach working hard on his story, but he also managed to defy physics and exist in two places at once!

Around 2pm the stories trickled in. Sharon Joss was the first story across the finish line, followed closely by Auston Habershaw. As the stories were sent in the writers began to show at Author Services. Amy M. Hughes’ husband, who has become an honorary member of the group, talked about making sure Amy was feed while writing. He also served as an editor and brainstorming partner.

With the stress of the 24-hour assignment behind them, the writers laughed and shared battle stories of fighting with their plot, characters, and racing the clock to turn them in on time.

Judges have been arriving throughout the day. Doug Beason gave an inspirational science presentation. Eric James Stone, a past successful winner, came to share his knowledge of the writing industry with the writer winners.

But the cap of the day, the reward for all their hard work was the highlight of the week: the art reveal. This was the most talked about and anticipated event of the workshop. The writers gathered at the front doors of the illustrator’s workshop room anticipating the reveal.

The illustrations were set up in a semi circle and since the writers already knew their illustrator, the illustrators stood back and let the writers find their illustration. There may have been several tears. For most of the writers, it’s the first time anyone has visually interpreted one of their stories. There was a lot of: “My illustration was the best.” Or “I’m positive my illustration will be the Gold winner.”

I think this means the reveal was a success!


Laurie Tom

Laurie Tom

Guest Illustrator post by Laurie Tom
2010 Writers of the Future Grand Prize winner

Tina Gower

Tina Gower

Guest Writer post by Tina Gower
2013 Writers of the Future Grand Prize winner