Bob's ART du Jour

Hi, I'm Bob Eggleton and this is my painting and "life in general blog" but mostly paintings. Usually they're for sale. Anyway, if you like something contact me at and ENJOY!!

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Location: New England, United States

I am a Hugo award-winning fantasy/SF artist who works on both publishing projects and film concept work(such as Jimmy Neutron and most recently, The Ant Bully) but I have a passion for landscape work, small paintings and exploring the properties of paint. This blog will mostly showcase my "painting-for-the-day" as kind of a personal voyage. I'll also be inserting sketches,photos and ideas of projects I am working on, that I can, when I can, so look for those every so often(usually as paint is drying!)

Friday, October 31, 2008


Nothing too exciting other than it's HALLOWEEN! So from me to you-BOO!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ART DIGRESSION: Surfaces to paint on

I'm often asked, what surfaces do I like to paint on? With oils, the answer is simple: stretched canvas. Usually cotton duck as it's a nice surface that can be re-textured with gesso and modelling paste, it tends to get rid of the "cotton" feel to the texture of the weave. I like the "give" of a stretched canvas. Some artists don't but with me it's a a matter of choice. I will work on canvas board as well, it's cheap and easy to re-texture. Again with oils I'll also try gessoed masonite-or, as it's called in some countries-hardboard. I find it a somewhat unsympathetic surface sometimes I'll admit. Another way is to stretch cotton canvas around it, gluing it down with matte medium. The overall problem I have with masonite is it's weight-when shipping paintings this weight adds up! With stretched canvases it's alot lighter in that regard. I also am not sure of painting on prepared paper either. Cloth seems to be a better standard for working especially on large, major pieces. Belgian Linen is also nice, if you can afford it-it tends to be expensive- and it can go "brittle" in time.

With watercolors, I prefer a fine paper made for such. There are lots on the market. Cold Press means it has a rough or textured surface to it, and Hot Press means it's really smooth. Depends on what you are doing and what is needed. If you want a loose painting, I advise Cold Press paper, or if it's rather tight, try Hot Press. Yoshitaka Amano once advised me to try rice paper because the ink or watercolor disperses so much it forms it's own patterns and you see these great accidents happening before your eyes.

Working with Gouache, or Acrylics, I prefer illustration board. Acrylics is also nice on canvas board as well, and you can get some great dry-brushing effects. Dry brushing is when you take a brush, that has a bit of paint on it and gently brush it across a darker color that's painted on something very textured. Illustration board is simple bristol board which is mounted on a thicket piece of cardboard. Bainbridge and Cresent made good boards for this.

I've painted on everything in my life, so this is just passing on some info for students and others who might be interested in experimenting with surfaces or, are curious as to what I use!

Very busy these days! Something visual soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ART DIGRESSION: Oils vs Acrylics

Someone sent me a kind letter asking what I felt the difference between working in oils vs acrylics was like? As many know, I worked in acrylics from the start of my career and recently in the last two years, switched to oils.

Acrylics have their own properties. They're a recently invented paint-in the 1950's they came into being. The make-up of them is basically 15% color mixed with 85% acrylic resin-more or less a more fluid form of Elmer's Glue. It's why they dry fast and, yet, the color never seems as rich as it could be, especially after they dry. Acrylics dry in the air, fast and their make-up changes which is why there is such a huge color shift sometimes. Acrylics can be mixed with water or run through an airbrush. You can "draw" with acrylics if the brush is fine and you make a thin mixture of paint. But because they're inherently "plastic" they tend to look a bit plasticy and also flat when dry. You can fake oil-paint effects and, most store bought/tubed acrylics are designed to emulate just that. Varying brands of them mean also the quality varies. It's also alot harder to work from dark to light with acrylics. Acrylics are good for wash effects and can be thinned to use like watercolors and unlike watercolors, they set up in thin layers one on top of another.

Oils are simply put, alot sexier to use. Oils are close to 85% pigments mixed with linseed oil or recently, safflower oil. I've found some of the cheapest brands, the better because they use linseed oil. The more expensive have supplanted this with safflower oil which can have problems if it's exposed to too much heat-it melts off. Oils are mixed with linseed oil or other mixtures of such and set up with the idea that light penetrates them and reflects back, giving an oil painting it's obvious brightness and depth. Oils on canvas have a nice tactile feel. Moreso than acrylics on canvas. You can do alot of what we call "glazing" with oils-building up thin layers on top of thicker ones, and it just gives the painting more and more depth. An oil painting can be left for the night and when I return in the morning, I still have the same color values and depth than I would with acrylics. When I went over to oils, I realized all I was missing since I last worked with them in school in the late 70's. Oils can take a long time to dry however! This prompts me, especially for commercial jobs, to use Galkyd or Liquin. Galkyd is a resin medium that promotes fast drying. Galkyd resin is what is in Alkyd paints-Alkyds are Oil's related cousin and they are fast drying but, can be chalky, I'm told. However Galkyd in oil paint is the best of both worlds.

I think both types of paint-Acrylics and Oils- have their own properties and uses. It's just lately, oils seem a whole lot more fun and satisfying.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ya Wanna See Something REALLY SCARY?

Tis' the season for horror and scary films. Here's a few of my personal faves!

PLANET TERROR(2007) Robert Rodriguez' terrific tribute to the drive in films of the 1970's complete with a "fake" opening trailer and film that looks like it's been shredded and faded in places. The plot-ex-terrorist and some mercenaries unwittingly unleash a green gas that transforms people into flesh-eating zombies. It's a fun film with alot of cheesy dialogue and effects you haven't seen since the 1970's. I love this one. Alot of fun for a 'crowd' of friends.
28 DAYS LATER/28 WEEKS LATER(2003/2007) These two actually scared the bejeezus out of me. A contagious "rage" virus escapes an animal experimentation lab and spreads over Britain over the course of 28 days. Most of the populace is either dead or infected-rage-filled, blood-spewing and incredibly agile- and the survivors are hunkering down in hideouts from them, venturing out for food supplies. 28 DAYS is really scary in several very frightening scenes. While there is some gore, it's more what you imagine than what you see. In 28 WEEKS LATER, the US Army attempts to re-populate refugees in Britain who managed to escape. Only now the virus has become latent, and mutated to something more sinister and it's just a matter of time until it shows up again.
ALIEN(1979) The first and best of the series. Genuinely eerie and has a great build up and a pay off with one of the most frightening creatures ever imagined on screen. An alien creature of unknown origin, is taken aboard a spacecraft after one of the crew is infected by one of the alien eggs. Again, we have a film where more is imagined than shown in spots which only heightens tension. Still scary after all these years.
And also...
MATANGO:ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE(1963). Based on William Hope Hodgeson's creepy story "A Voice In The Night", MATANGO was made by Toho Studios who normally made Godzilla films, but this was a departure into horror for them and it's quite scary in places. Ishiro Honda's frightening build-up works on all levels which depicts a boatload of well-off people who, thanks to a storm, wind up shipwrecked on a lost and fog-enshrouded island and as food and water become scarce, they descend into madness. And then they find those "delicious" mushrooms...
QUATERMASS AND THE PIT(1967) (US Title: FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH). A London excavation unearths what appears to be an ancient spacecraft, in an area that has been plagued for centuries with sightings of ghosts, goblins and possessions. Even the name of the street is called "Hobb's Lane" which we are told, is a nickname for the Devil. Despite some of it's hokey effects it's still just a scary film because so much is done with lighting and sound and, just plain good direction and a terrific cast.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW(1975). Okay not scary but(Unless you see Tim Curry in garter belts and full make-up, and such scary), a Hell of alot of fun around this season! And, the music is just catchy now as it was then.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is it Friday Already?

Wow. Where'd the week go? It was Tuesday yesterday.

Nothing new to show. BUT I did do two small "rocket" paintings. Look for them this weekend.
Busy as ever, and exciting things to come! Still here, still blogging...just...busy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Anderson And...An Anderson!!

Classic Author Poul Anderson was known for his wild alien life forms. These stories were not an exception. Top is one for a story called "People of The Wind". The creatures have legs that function as wings, or, vice versa one could say! The book will be called THE TERRAN EMPIRE.
The bottom image is for the upcoming NESFA Poul Anderson book and this story is called CALL ME JOE which has this wild creature that walks around on the surface of Jupiter-keep in mind the science was dated in the extreme but so what? A good story is a good story. So these are new covers coming up in months!! Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Found Advice-

"Success is a Journey, not a Destination"

-Found in Chinese Fortune Cookie

Thursday, October 16, 2008

John Charts The Stars!!!

You have to see this:

It's John Davis' astrophoto blog, I pimped it here back in May but, he just continues to make my jaw drop with what he claims is a hobby but he looks pretty damn pro to me! He recently went on a major Star Party in the middle of someplace between Texas and Arkansas and took lotsa cool photos. I've got a friend, Leslee who reads the stars, and John, who photographs them.
I really couldn't stop looking at the pictures. I've seen John's set up and dedication to what he's doing and, all I can say is "rock on". This is totally inspiring stuff.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I just finished a cover to a new NESFA Press book of Poul Anderson's. I got to paint a classic image from a somewhat outdated-science story(but no less entertaining and good!) that takes place on Jupiter's surface, called CALL ME JOE. It's a fun, colorful image I'll post soon!

In the meantime I am doing a CD cover to the 60's British band Downliner Sect. My friend of them all is bassist Keith Grant-Evans who's just a great guy who knows how to tell a good story. He's got a living history of British rock in him, it's alot of fun. I'm doing the cover to their new CD and, some inside art as well. And, I met Keith many years ago thanks to Brian Lumley, who, by coincidence, I am doing the cover art to his new book for Subterranean Press!! All this has to be done this month. So posts may be uneven. What did I last say, that posts would be "sparse" and then, bang, I post one a day for like 10 days?

I'll also have some stock images in a new "Dragon" book by a UK publisher. Fun book that came out of the blue, I'll be one of many in the book. This is not, incidently, the Dragon "How To" book I am doing for another publisher there! More on all that as it develops!!

Also got some important business taken care of this week, as in "paperwork". I hate paperwork but it's something at some point we all have to get out of the way!

More soon, and I promise, some smaller paintings.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


One of the biggest misunderstood relationships in art, occurs when the artist and his or her agent do not see eye to eye. Agents are used by some artists who are either bad with handling their own self-promotion OR lack the social graces to be able to deal with a client on a one-to-one basis. The typical "Art Agent" takes something like 35-45% of the fee. So say you get paid $1000 to do a job, the agent will take something like $350-$450 right off the top and suddenly, you've lost quite a bit for what is, your hard work. I had nothing but bad experience with those kind of agents. You depend on their well-being and being able to perform in order for you to be working. Also, many of these kinds of agents are "inclusive" meaning, that, even if you get a job on your own out of the blue, they still get something like 10-15% of what you got!!

Typically, the agent likes to "pigeonhole" an artist. I had one that insisted on calling me an "Technical Airbrush Artist" and marketed me as that. I hated it. Because I did more than airbrush and now, have since given up airbrushing because of health reasons and...painting in oils is just *better*. If I did anything else, this agent didn't want to show it, which means I couldn't grow as an artist. Also, this person, I found out, had a "substance addiction". Clients paid this person soon enough, but the excuse given was "They haven't paid yet". And the truth was, it was going up this person's nose and the hope they had was getting money later to pay the artists!!! Finally, the agent tried to "launder" some money via a job I was doing-this person insisted that they were entitled to a percentage from another job I had gotten on my own. The job I was doing just happened to be enough for the percentage, and basically, the agent kept it and made it appear,on paper, as if I had received the money at the end of the year. There was no issue with what I did, but, this person tried to in effect, launder money. That was the straw that broke the camel's back.

So I broke ranks with this person and left them to their own and haven't looked back(and it's been 17 years). Still another agent-who was an artist- was "repping" artists and then, the artists did HIS jobs and he'd sign HIS name to the work!! And still another had her art-director husband comment and ART DIRECTING the work that he had nothing to do with!!!

I am sure there are a few agents that are good, and I do know a few. But largely it was a negative experience. Sometimes, certain "large" corporations insist on an "Agent interface" because they, cannot deal with us beatnik artist types.

The other kind of agent that has worked out has been Licensing Reps. What they do is assign rights to work, for books, puzzles, drink coasters, stationary, checks, etc. All this is simply "found money" and that works great. Nothing but good experience there. There is a different style and approach these kinds of reps take. You lose nothing and have everything to gain in many cases.

So, that's my speel on Artist Agents. A lot of people get really screwed by some, and it's out of sheer innocence and ignorance of the fact that Reps are more like Lawyers than anyone creative-they're out to feather their own nests.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seven Museums in Two Days

We went to Washington DC and Baltimore. My wife attended the 2008 Bouchercon and made some great contacts for her mystery writing. I took the train down to Washington DC to see some of the museums and galleries I had not seen in awhile.

I got in and had lunch with my longtime friend Angelique Trouvere-widely known as a costumer and in the 1970's she was one of the first "Vampirellas" and "Red Sonjas" at many of the comic cons. Hadn't seen her in ten years so it was great to catch up.

After that, I pounded the Mall and went to the NAtional Academy of Sciences for the John Brosio display. John is a great artist I have come to know lately as a friend, and he paints tornadoes like no one I know. He has 12 large canvases there and they are on display in the same halls that once walked the likes of Albert Einstein back in the day. The place is impossible and, so obvious to find!!! After that, I went to The Corcoran Gallery, The Renwick Gallery, The National Gallery and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History! WOW! All in five hours!!!

The National Gallery had some amazing Thomas Coles (his epics "Voyage of Life") my favorite(and Ray Harryhausen's) John Martin painting, and some fantastic paintings by Fredric Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt and Jasper Francis Cropsey, and JMW Turner, and many more. Back in Baltimore the next day, I went to the Walters Museum of Art and The Baltimore Museum of Art. The Walters wound up being my favorite, despite The Baltimore having a fine Thomas Cole. The collection at the Walters was pretty amazing. They have a 19th Century hall that has a Gustave Dore painting I have only ever seen in a book and it does it no justice, and a wonderful Asher Brown Durand. As well as this, they have an Orientalist room which contains some Jean Leon Geromes,a Delacroix and the always amazing Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

All of this completely re-invigorated my inspirations. It was reassurance for me. I'm never intimidated by masters such as these. I simply look at them and see things they did that I am now doing and feel like "Yeah, I'm doing the right thing". For instance, Dore has so much texture on his painting that it becomes all part of the detail and how you percieve the work. Nothing looks "slick". While I like Sci-fi and fantasy art, I like this stuff even more because it's epic and it's done for it's own sheer granduer. And I find myself rapt looking at these works.

I can always stress to artists, go to MUSEUMS. Take a look at these great masters and take your inspiration and style hints from them, don't copy contemporary artists. Also, if you make a living in art, it's tax write off to visit these places to see this work in person. And it enriches your mind and expands your perceptions.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Transits of The Virgo Suns

Great title, huh? My good friend Leslee, who maintains her amazing and excellent blog "3rd House Party"(SEE MY LINKS and take a look after this!!) gave me some recent insight into "Reality Quakes" from Monday. Leslee is a writer and a tremendous photographer who captures moments and patterns in life and nature like no one I know. Really, you have to see what she does, and her adventures are so well written it's a vicarious experience just reading them. Anyway, she's a Virgo, 2 days ahead of me, and she told me that indeed, the planets are acting up. I'm a big follower of astrology not just as mysticism but I'm very drawn to it as a guide now and then. I even read my horoscope. Daily. Which is saying alot for someone as Agnostic as me!! I mean, Virgos *act* like Virgos, I can sense others of the same sign. An earth sign(thanks Leslee!), it means I can also, thanks to Pisces, be drawn to water, which is why I feel safest near water-like an ocean. To sum it up, we're "feeling the transits to our Virgo Suns" which is something so cool and cosmic sounding, one could title a book the same, however, it creates discord with our lives and exactly that "shifted reality" I have been feeling. Anyway, the activity is supposed to subside, by the end of the month. Which I can't wait for.

Shogo Tomiyama and me in 2002, on the set of Godzilla X Mechagodzilla(photo by Norman England)
In other news, I had two nice phone calls with my good friend Shogo Tomiyama-president of Toho Studios in Japan. He's Godzilla's BOSS! The only man who can really tell Godzilla what to do. He was visiting the US on some business and I'd say we're now pretty good friends, so he wanted to chat and say hi. Godzilla is pretty much retired now, he lives on in his films and toys. It was great to talk with him because I miss Japan abit these days.

And, I'm off for a few days to Washington DC to see some art in the many galleries and museums, while Marianne attends the World Mystery Con in Baltimore. So, no new posts 'til next week. A change of scenery will be nice after having finished four bookcovers in the span of about seven weeks!

Double Heinlein

"The Rolling Stones"

"The Puppet Masters"

Two new Heinlein covers. The top one is for one of his juveniles, called THE ROLLING STONES and it's not about the group. It's a family in space. Except not lost, if you get my drift. I wanted to emulate the Chesley Bonestell feel to it, with a 1950's "rocket" ship in the full light of the sun whilst two characters are exploring the dark side of Phobos, the inner moon of Mars. The bottom is the re-issue of THE PUPPET MASTERS. So many versions of the covers used someone on strings so many times, it was kind of a habit I wanted to break. So after some consultation with the publisher, she determined a "really weird and kind of creepy city" would look good. And that I could do what I wanted in the sky. So my approach-it's a heady book with alot of human interaction- was to show earth literally being enveloped and covered with the "slugs" as they are, all sort of attaching themselves as they do to the human hosts.

Both covers are designed for Big Type in mind. That is, the covers have to have big type on the top and sometimes the bottom. As being Heinlein they have to look pretty spectacular so this is designed to work with the type. On a recent message board about my art, I my work was accused of looking "So much like bookcovers" which, duh, that's what they are!!! Several others dutifully defended me on this point.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Reality Quake...

Has anyone felt uneasy lately? I mean, in a way that hasn't been in awhile. I'm terribly nostalgic for "the good ol' days" whatever they were even going so far as to email and communicate with a Boston radio DJ named Dale Dorman who I grew up with, via TV in the 1970's when he hosted afternoon TV shows on Channel 56, like Lost In Space, The Flintstones, Speed Racer and such. He's a good guy and we all called him "Uncle Dale" despite not one of us kids really knew him personally. A "TV uncle" that raised so many kids. He's still in action, on Boston station WODS FM-Oldies 103 ( which plays, largely, 70's music. He has a Saturday morning slot and, frankly it's like a comfort zone-I even had a flashback listening to him, that took me to his show on the old WRKO AM-when AM stations played music in the 1970's.

Why is it those days seemed so "easy"? I'm not sure what is happening but it's affecting me very deftly these days. Not sure what is next. Every end of the year I keep thinking this is my last ever year of being successful. That, it's truly all downhill from here.Of course, I have been saying that for almost 20 years. We're coming to the end of the 2000's in one more year. This decade was really a bad one in so many ways-economics, politics, corporatism, terrorism...all of it changed...and it changed the world. Even the music more or less sucked. The 2000's I hope to never be nostalgic for. It will always be the 70's and 80's for me. They won't come again and, it saddens me I didn't remember all of what I wanted to remember from that time.

I keep thinking "Is this the year coming I should dig in and use a computer for art?" At least some of it. I still like painting. That's kind of the issue. I see work disappear more than materialize.

It's as if I am in some kind of strange place, and reality has shifted. Occasionally I am sure this happens. We get Reality Quakes, I call them. When you get up and your "intuition" tells you something is different...a, maybe. It scares the hell out of me, frankly. It's sort of like listening to Supertramp's "Logical Song" which I am sure everyone has heard.

I may be a little "off" in posts until this settles down and I hope it settles down soon. I know people who look forward to the future. I don't. It scares me because of the awful times we live in.
I'm not much good at anything besides art and even then I doubt myself on that. My fear is being obsolete, because that way, lies death.

Anyway, just some random thoughts into cyberspace....

I trudge on.

Another sketch...

Another fun sketch from my sketchbook. It'll be part of my upcoming book on how to draw and paint dragons(coming in 2010 with all luck). This one is a "Woodland Dragon" done in charcoal.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Rocket sketches....

"Mars Landing"

"Mystery Ship"

"Spaceship Summer"

"Last to Leave"

Here are some sketchbook musings. Of course, I love "rocket" pictures and I went on a seemingly free-flow of ideas that all came at once. The first one up top is something I am working into a cover job I'm doing-the 2nd volume of RA Heinlein scripts. "Mystery Ship" is that long played with idea of finding an apparently derelict ship on another planet...I'm into the idea of a spaceship sort of enshrouded in fog of some kind. "Spaceship Summer" is another idea I got from combining my love of English landscapes with the idea of rockets in them -for no particular reason other than to juxtapose the idea of something very out of place given the prosaic enviroment. "Last to Leave" is an astro art idea of some planet on the verge of destruction and a spacecraft lifting off from it, with a bloated red dying sun, and the planet starting to crack apart in it's death throes.

These are all examples of how a painting starts, in my mind. Very quick sketches to get down the general idea and composition, all done in charcoal pencil which is a great medium to work in.

With any luck they will be developed into larger paintings.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Turner Coda...

The Turner post of a few days back proved popular. It shows us that "art" and "exhibitionism" are two different things. The Tate Modern used to be a large building belonging, I believe to London Transport at one time. It's the "vaunted" museum that, not to be confused with *The Tate Gallery* across and up the Thames, that has all the good stuff in it(like Turner's works).

The Modern, a couple of years ago, had an entire "installation" of a huge pile of garbage bags. Okay I guess this was representing some non-representational thing. Overnight, this was lost on the custodial staff who proceeded to throw them all out thinking they were garbage, left from some construction. Hysterical.

In the course I took in modern, installation art-which, I will add was quite fun doing all sorts of useless things and calling it "art"-I asked the teacher why was realism so frowned on and instead, these "statements" being made. His response? "Years ago, artists moved paint to make a statement...we've done that...we now take that a step further and we move electrons".


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Married-10 Years!!!

Just a quick one. My wife and I are celebrating Friday(Today, by the time you read this), our 10th Wedding Anniversary. I'm amazed at where the time went and it's all been wonderful. Anyway, short post, we're off to Salem Mass for the opening of our show( Scroll down and see blog post from Sunday!) and staying over up there. More next week!