I was born and grew up in Boulder, Colorado. I had the Rocky Mountains in my backyard, and I got to see the “summer of love” through the eyes of an eleven year old in a college town. I watched "Lost in Space" in the third grade, when "G.I. Joe" was new, and "Star Trek" after that. Ray Harryhausen’s movies were favorites. Needless to say, Science Fiction and Fantasy consumed my childhood. Later, in my teens, I discovered Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and Dungeons and Dragons not long after. I’ve been Role-Playing for 25+ years! As an adult I became fascinated with Mythology, particularly transformative mythology and the hidden meanings of Myth. Joseph Campbell is a hero of mine for his thoughtful and thorough exploration of the World’s Myths.
I started drawing before I was two, or so I am told. Drawing was my main recreation throughout my childhood. After High School, I went to the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver. It was primarily a design school, but taught all of the important basics, if only to a minimal degree. The first year and a half after graduating from CIA I was a designer, not an illustrator. I left to pursue illustration and became my own teacher, which means that my teacher was an idiot. I would say that the artists who influenced me most, more or less in order of degree, were Michael Whelan, Frank Frazetta, NC Wyeth, Walt Disney, Spike Jones, My Dad, Brom, and Jeff Easley. In ’84 and ’85 I did a string of relatively fun covers for Satellite Orbit magazine, a sort of TV guide for people who owned satellite dishes. They appeared in Communication Art’s Illustration Annual, which was very prestigious and a cool honor. But after that, for about the next five years, I was the "Satellite Dish Guy". Any time anyone on the planet needed a painting of a satellite dish, they called me. That was when I first started plotting my escape from advertising. It took another twelve years to succeed...
I didn’t really start to excel until I began to work on Sci fi covers for Asimov’s and Analog. I learned more from going to three year’s worth of conventions and hanging out with other artists than from my schooling and the entire previous twelve or so years of my career. I did it the hard way. Get a good education up front. It was at conventions, particularly Dragon Con, that I met the people who would eventually open the door for me. One thing led to another, and suddenly I was moving my family to Illinois, across the border from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where I was the newest member of TSR’s art staff. It was a skinny little window of opportunity that opened for the briefest moment. I dived through. Later, Wizards of the coast bought TSR and rescued us from the Midwest, which I loathed (if you’re from the midwest… I’m sorry, truly sorry). I like the state of Washington a great deal.
I’m neurotic. I obsess. I despise lies, duplicity, laziness, lack of moral character, barking dogs, waste. I love sunsets and skies in general, quiet forests, complex rock like Afro Celt Sound System, folk music, mythologies, well-sculpted bodies, my wife Rita, and Aubrey, Tyler and Caitlin, cats (I miss you, Spook!), good food, exotic cultures, philosophy, mountains.
I have a fantasy world in my basement. I just go behind the water heater, knock on the wall, and go to a land of unimaginable breadth and beauty. It’s full of dragons and other beautiful and horrible things. It’s very convenient. Transporting it across twelve states was a trick, though.