Like the fan artists, I accept that this category is very much a matter of taste and that every person's taste is going to be completely different. Again, perhaps my main criteria is "would I buy it for myself?" My other criteria include technical skill and choice of subject matter.
- Carter Reid
Nothing in the packet for this guy, so I looked at his webcomic, and while it's technically not bad art, it's not really my kind of work. I don't dislike it, I just don't love it and wouldn't be inclined to buy a piece to hang on my wall, which is one of my criteria. It's also completely mismatched against the other artists in this category, to the point of being a ridiculous comparison. This wasn't apples to oranges, it was apples to lugnuts.
- Alan Pollack
Although there are three sample pieces in the packet, I also checked out his website. Technically nice stuff. Judging strictly from the packet materials, good cover art type work. It doesn't grab me, but I could see other folks loving it. Again, I don't like it enough to buy it.
- Nick Greenwood
Eight pieces in the packet. He also has a website. This is another artist with good technical skills who can convey ideas through cover art. However, I'm not really excited by this art. It doesn't do anything for me. It's good, but I don't gasp and say, "I gotta have a commission by this guy!"
- Kirk DouPonce
Eight pieces in the packet. I also hunted down his website. Very nice pieces that are technically great and definitely have the potential to draw people to check out a book. There are a couple of pieces that spoke to me, but there was always something a little off about them that means I probably wouldn't buy them... but I might. This art wouldn't be high on my want list, but it might make the list. Not bad.
- Julie Dillon
There are 14 pieces in the packet from this artist, a veritable plethora of work to look at. The artist also has a website to look through. The pieces in the packet include themes involving water, cats, and women... which obviously appeal to me far more than the comparatively staid works of the other artists in the category. This is an artist that I would buy from and would love to get a commission from, although my guess is that I could never afford this work. There were several pieces I'd love prints of in the packet, including "Downtime", "Menagerie", "Scholars' Tower", "Sun Shepherdess" and "Treetops".
With the exception of Dillon, whose subjects I enjoyed, and Reid, who had a wide variety of subjects, the choice of imagery was fairly standard for the artists. They were cover art for the most part, but they were fairly static. As a comic book reader, I like my art to flow and have some sense of movement... like your mind will fill in the next scene. Pollack, Greenwood and DouPonce had art that felt like it was posed. Dillon's work was more natural. Reid, of course, is a sequential artist, so he didn't have that problem.
Whew. Three posts on reviews in three days. I really doubt I can keep up this pace.
Note: I am also always looking for anything you have run across that will be eligible for a Hugo next year, so if you've seen something you liked, drop a note in the comments about it. I'll also be regularly posting my own suggestions for stuff to consider for next year.