Jeffrey Alan Love is an award-winning artist and writer whose clients have included The New York Times, TIME, The New Yorker, Tor, Gollancz, Scholastic, HarperCollins, and others. Nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the British Science Fiction Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Chesley Award, and the Spectrum Fantastic Art Award, he has won a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators and two Academy of British Cover Design Awards.
What was your introduction to working in the field of science fiction and fantasy art? Who were your influences; was there a particular artist or artists who drew you in? My first job in SF/F, I think, was working for Irene Gallo for Tor.com, an absolutely wonderful website which has revolutionized short fiction and art in the SF/F field. I couldn’t have asked for a better first job. Irene sets the standard, in my opinion. My first book covers in the field were for Gollancz, for Simon Ings’s novel Wolves and for a reissue of his back catalog. Growing up, I would buy any book that had a John Harris cover, and Michael Whelan was also a favorite. Victor Ambrus’s illustrated books of King Arthur were what made me want to become a writer and artist as a child.
What’s more important – inspiration or perspiration? Is being an artist a higher calling or a craft like any other?
I think there are aspects of both in art. As an illustrator it is definitely a craft, a job, but to stand out I think you need some of that ‘‘higher calling,’’ that personal voice that speaks in a way that only you can. But the only way to get that voice is through perspiration. Like almost every other artist I’ve met who makes a living at art, I don’t believe in waiting for inspiration – inspiration comes to those who sit down and do the work every day. It is like a meditation practice: no one day’s work matters that much in the grand scheme, but it is the building up of those days over time, year after year, where you learn to trust that if you just sit down and get to work the muse will show up and sit down with you.
Is there something about what you do as an artist working in the SF field, or an upcoming project, that you’d like to tell our readers about?
I wrote and illustrated my first book, Notes from the Shadowed City, which is out now from Flesk Publications. Later this year an illustrated book of Norse Myths written by Kevin Crossley-Holland will be released, for which I did around 150 paintings. I’m also in the process of writing a novel. If you’d like to learn more about any of those things please visit www.jeffreyalanlove.com or twitter.com/jeffreyalanlove or instagram.com/jeffreyalanlove.