I first saw Tyler Jacobson’s art on the cover of Beyond the Pool of Stars, a Pathfinder Tales novel by Howard Andrew Jones. A few days ago on his blog, Howard mentioned that Tyler won the 2016 Chesley Award for Best Cover Illustration for that same novel. So, in celebration of the win and because on closer inspection I found Tyler to be a phenomenal artist, I’ve dedicated this week’s “Art of Fantasy” to him.
Below is a small sampling of his work. Each image links back to the site of origin. Enjoy!
As can be expected, Tyler’s clients are numerous and lustrous: Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Paizo Publishing, Applibot Inc., Simon & Schuster, The Penguin Group, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Tor Books. The list continues and impresses mightily.
And it’s no surprise why he is so sought after. Tyler’s illustrations possess awesome detail and smooth textures that are accentuated and made alive by a vibrant and rich color palette. His expert use of dynamic lighting is a crown of light to each painting and serves to bolster the unique atmosphere inherent in his work.
I love that his art takes me back to my youth, to a time when the cover of a book sold me before I even read the description on the back. Back then, I used to think a good book cover was like a promise. A small taste of what you’d find inside. And I see that same promise of magic in Tyler’s work. It’s exciting and I hope his particular brand of illustration signals a return to the awe-inspiring fantasy covers of old, which, in my humble opinion, would amount to a giant leap in the right direction away from the limp photoshop specials we get these days.
For instance, I look at the Del Rey and Orbit editions of David Gemmell’s series of heroic fantasy novels and I want to cry. Man, those covers just don’t do his stories any justice—at all. Models posing with props, or in some cases just the props shrouded by digital fog and flames, are a far cry from what you’ll actually find inside a Gemmell novel. And there’s the pity. If you’ve read any of Gemmell’s books you’d agree.
I’m rambling on in the wrong direction. This post is about celebrating art, after all.
Having been properly enamored by Tyler’s talent, I’ve now put him on my dream list of artists I wouldn’t mind working with. The decision was not a difficult one.
And lest I forget, remember to check out this week’s Art of Science Fiction over on the Kōsa Press blog.