Quantum Muse: Which artists have influenced
you the most?
Todd Lockwood: Michael Whelan, Frank
Frazetta, NC Wyeth, Spike Jones, My Dad, Jeff Easley, Brom, Walt Disney.
QM: When would you say you started
painting at a professional level?
TL: At a level I, myself, would consider
professional? About three years ago, though I have been painting professionally
for about twenty years. Pathetic, no? And I still have a lot to learn.
QM: When did you realize that you loved
TL: About twenty-four years ago, when
I first started playing D&D. Prior to that, I had been more of a sci-fi
fan than a fantasy fan. Of course, I had been drooling over the Tolkien
calendars before that, particularly those of Tim Kirk.
QM: Do you have a personal favorite
piece that you have done?
QM: What are you working on now? I'm
working on a single malt scotch.
TL: I'm working on a Salvatore Drizzt
Novel cover, two TOR book covers, a game cover, and a list of bizarro
QM: What's the best part about being
Todd Lockwood? The fame, fortune or babes?
TL: Given that it hasn't translated
into babes (which is probably good, as my wife would have murdered me
if it had), and since being an artist- even a relatively successful
one (or transitorily successfully anyway...) doesn't automatically equate
to wealth of any degree, I guess I would have to thank my seven or eight
fans for the little bit of fame I am enjoying...
QM: What did you do before you were
incredibly cool and famous?
TL: I was lukewarm and infamous. I
painted pictures of beer cans and bottles, satellite dishes, and other
incredibly boring things, until one day I shot myself dead.
QM: Do you ever paint your own ideas
or do you paint strictly for clients?
TL: It's never that black and white.
I spend 99% of my working time painting for clients, but I get a lot
of leeway. Frequently I will get a manuscript or synopsis of a story
and then start coming up with ideas that will both satisfy the needs
of the client AND allow me to paint something I have been wanting to
QM: With the exception of agreeing
to be interviewed by Quantum Muse, what has been the low point of your
TL: 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.
Another time, when I had agents in New York, one of them gave me
an assignment to do the annual report cover for Amtrak. The deadline
was extremely short, and I came down with the flu while I was working
on it. I got so dehydrated, I ended up in the hospital. The agent (who
shall go nameless, but with a little research and the initials HB, one
could figure out who it was) called me up TO CHEW ME OUT FOR MAKING
THE PAINTING A DAY LATE. That was when I first started plotting my escape
from advertising. Bastard.
QM: The high point? (With the exception
of being interviewed by Quantum Muse.)
TL: I have had so many high points
since I started with TSR I couldn't possibly pick one. Various Guest
of Honor stints, trips to Germany and Amsterdam (oh what a fine town
that is!), friends made from all over the world, the satisfaction of
painting works that people actually WANT to look at, even buy... It's
all gravy. I am very lucky, and very happy in my work.
QM: Do you have any formal art training?
If so, where did you learn? If not, how did you learn?
TL: 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 (and in fact the first year and a half
after graduating from CIA I was a designer, not an illustrator) but
taught all of the important basics if only to a minimal degree. Later,
I left to pursue illustration and became my own teacher, which means
that my teacher was an idiot. 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
QM: Admit it, becoming an artist is
the best way to get chicks to pose naked.
TL: I think being a rock and roll star
would be better.
QM: Where do you find most of your
inspiration comes from?
TL: From all my naked models.
QM: Have you seen many changes in the
style or ways that publishers want their art rendered?
TL: The biggest change would have to
be the advance of digital technology. I didn't learn it because I like
it, believe me.
In twenty years, styles have changed a lot, though possibly fantasy
and sci-fi to a lesser degree have been the steadiest. That is probably
because book jacket art has always been in the classic mode of painting,
separate from modern art trends. There will always be a place for representative
art, and fantasy particularly will be one of them. I hope.
Meanwhile, I have seen the airbrush disappear from popular art.
Thank God. I started out doing airbrush because, at the time, it was
what everybody wanted. I had to do it in order to get work. Now, computers
do a better rendition of airbrush... and it still looks stiff and artificial
most of the time.
QM: Do you have a favorite place to
TL: I don't think so...
QM: What media do you like to work
TL: Oils or pencil. I worked in acrylics
for years and years, figuring that if it was good enough for Michael
Whelan it was good enough for me. Then when I switched to oils I realized
how wrong I was. I believe that, while some artists may be able to work
in any media effectively, most will find one media to which they are
better suited. For me, that was oils. Pencil, on the other hand, was
the media I grew up with. It is the most forgiving, the most fluid,
the best suited to exploration and discovery.
QM: Is there any truth to the rumors
of wild sexual experimentation? Any pointers?
TL: Twelve and a half.
QM: How did you crawl and scrape your
way into professional art jobs?
TL: Not a question to which I can give
a short answer easily! I started by attending sci-fi fantasy conventions,
particularly World Con and Dragon Con, where I met other artists and
started networking, getting feedback, and learning. Then I got really,
really lucky: I met the right people at the right time.
QM: In a lot of your paintings, you
use people around you as models. What other resources do you use to
paint things such as dragons, monsters or other subjects?
TL: 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.
I also have an extensive file of animal and human reference materials.
The Wildlife Fact Files, published by International Masters Publishers,
are very useful. I also have files and files of photos clipped from
magazines like National Geographic, Vogue, Audubon, various swimsuit
magazines and the like. And the Internet can be valuable, too.
QM: Aside from practice and persistence,
if an amateur artist wanted to break into the professional playing field,
what would be the most important piece of advice you would give (aside
from sending in naked photos of the artist at work)?
TL: Go to my website and visit the
I answer that question in depth there. The short answer, though, for
this interview, would be: Get Started.
QM: If you had 20 million dollars,
would you spend it on wine, women and a trip to the space station, or
would you just waste it?
TL: I would... I would.... dang. Make
it 30 million and that would be easier to answer.
QM: Did you show at a lot of Sci-fi/Fantasy
Art Conventions before you were working professionally?
TL: Technically, I was working professionally
long before I started showing at conventions. But my paintings were
QM: Deadlines - Devil's work or Godsend?
TL: Wasn't the Devil sent originally
QM: Would you mind buying the next
TL: Not at all!