Thank You, Balticon 50!

Cover art by me for a limited-edtion GRRM hardcover novella, exclusively available via the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

Cover art by me for a limited-edtion GRRM hardcover novella, exclusively available via the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

Great times this past weekend at Balticon 50, where George R. R. Martin and I were Guests of Honor, along with Mark Van Name, Fran Wilde, Alexandra Duncan, Kim Stanley Robinson, and an impressive roster of past GoHs such as Charles Stross, Peter Beagle, Connie Willis, Jo Walton, Joe Haldeman, Larry Niven, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, and more. The level of creative talent in the building felt like a miniature version of Worldcon.

GRRM and me during the onstage "Conversation" event. That was fun. :)

GRRM and me during the onstage “Conversation” event. That was fun. 🙂

Huge congratulations to Nora Echeverria and the entire con com for achieving the single largest Balticon attendance ever. THANK YOU to all of the con attendees who packed the seats for my programming items– and especially my Loteria game session and onstage interview with GRRM, which were filled to capacity. Great job by Sarah Pinsker and Michael R. Underwood on their Dangerous Voices Variety Hour event. Thank you to Fan Guests of Honor Martin Deusch, Shirley Avery, Sue, Nora, Anna, Meredith, Filthy + the Art Show staff for setting up a terrific Art Show and thank you to all who made it a big success as almost all of my A Song of Ice and Fire artwork sold out, along with so many framed originals and prints. I sold out of Loteria Grande Card Sets and signed countless items at my Artists Alley table. Before the con even began, George and I pre-signed 500 limited-edition copies of a new GRRM hardcover novella that I illustrated called In The House of the Worm. (Special thanks to Sean Wallace for making it happen.) This convention was an intense and absolute joy.

I had a blast spending time with George, Parris, Lenore, and Jo. Enjoyed the conversations and quality minutes that I had with so many pros and fans. Always much love and best of times with The Hardest Buckaroos — the Brotherhood Without Banners — Martha, Doug, Christine, Eddie, Neal, Yags, Pod, Kristina, Dave, Douglas, Caryn, Meg, Bill and everyone. Special shoutout to my IMPALED PHALLUS bandmates! 😉

So many people gave their all to make this con happen, as is always the case with fan-run conventions (thank you, Allison, Adrienne, Joe, Roy, Anna, and all). Did Balticon have massive problems with its programming schedule? Absolutely. And yet, thanks to the grit and resilience of diehard volunteers, I saw nothing but joy from every fan I encountered. Romeo Capriotti, this is for you. (Thea, change the words to “woman” and “ma’am” and same applies.) You did a great job, Romeo. Best GoH Liaison I could ask for.

Linda Wenzelburger: Your take on my “La Calavera” is one of my favorite cosplays EVER! Gorgeous work! Made my con. <applause>

Linda Wenzelburger's completely awesome "La Calavera" cosplay (Inset: Cropped detail of my "La Calavera" Loteria artwork.)

Linda Wenzelburger’s completely awesome “La Calavera” cosplay (Inset: Cropped detail of my “La Calavera” Loteria artwork.)

You were amazing, Balticon. In closing, I’m going to share some words from Nora, who chaired this event. This is from her FB page, and I hope she won’t mind. I think it adds some much-needed context.

“i want to thank everyone who helped organize, work, volunteer and attend Balticon 50. You ALL made this an amazing show.

In particular i want to thank Jonette Butler for coming up with the idea for bringing back our Alumni Guests of Honor and for being the driving force behind that and our fundraising projects. Because of her, we were able to raise well over $55,000 AND bring back every Guest of Honor Alumnus who wished to attend. And they all had a wonderful time.”

And especially the following words:

“At the end of the day, Balticon is run by volunteers. We do not take a salary, we have jobs and families and other obligations, i.e., LIFE. We work hard but we make mistakes. We aim for the moon and sometimes we hit it and sometimes we crash back down to earth. We all come together to do this out of our love for the genre and of fandom.”

Well said, Nora — and thank you again, Balticon and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society! It was an honor to be with you!

George R. R. Martin and Nora Echeverria at the Balticon 50 Guest of Honor Dinner.

George R. R. Martin and Nora Echeverria at the Balticon 50 Guest of Honor Dinner.


ARBOLpicacioJust heard that “El Arbol” from my ongoing Loteria series has been selected for inclusion in the 23rd edition of SPECTRUM: THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY FANTASTIC ART, which will release this fall. Thanks very much to this year’s jurors for the honor. 🙂 It bears mentioning again that this work is dedicated to the late, great Jay Lake who modeled for this before his passing. Salud, Jay, and a big hug and shoutout to his family and loved ones. Back to work here making new Loteria artwork!

Infected By Art Vol. 4!

Loteria Grande card artworks for "El Venado" and "El Arbol" by John Picacio.

Loteria Grande card artworks for “El Venado” and “El Arbol” by John Picacio.

Great news — two of my recent artworks, “El Venado” and “El Arbol”, have been selected for inclusion in the forthcoming art annual Infected By Art / Volume 4 (published by Hermes Press). Lauren Panepinto, Allen Williams, Erica Berkowitz, and Patrick Jones were the jurors for this year’s annual. Both pieces were created for my ongoing Loteria series, and that makes their inclusion even more gratifying.

“El Venado” is an homage to the Grisha Trilogy written by my friend Leigh Bardugo, while “El Arbol” is a tribute to the late, great Jay Lake. Shoutout to both of them, and to Jay’s family.

In Loteria We Trust. 🙂

Volume 4 will be available in bookstores everywhere during the last quarter of 2016. Congratulations to all of the artists selected for this amazing book!

Today’s The Day


Got my tickets for tonight’s 7:30pm screening of The Force Awakens. If there’s ever been a film with more hype and buildup than this one, I can’t recall it.

I’ve been a Star Wars fan since ’77 and every once in a while, something sparks that full sense of wonder I first experienced for these films when I was a kid.

Found these at my parents’ house several months ago. One of my prized possessions as a kid was The Empire Strikes Back Ralph McQuarrie portfolio. I studied every inch of these concept paintings. They’re still amazing today. The newsletters you see in that photo? Those are copies of Bantha Tracks, the official newsletter for Star Wars fan club members. I remember pulling those out of the mailbox and immediately analyzing them like they were holy documents. I knew more about the behind-the-scenes crew that worked on those films than I knew of some of my own family members.

So yeah — Episodes IV, V, and VI had a profound effect on me, to say the least. I’m grateful I was a kid during that era.

I hope my own daughter gets to experience some of the same.

Here’s hoping this film has some of that impossible magic.



Here’s my final cover art for the 60th anniversary edition of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Earlier this year, Simon & Schuster / Touchstone’s senior art director Cherlynne Li approached me to cover-illustrate this classic Jack Finney novel, originally titled The Body Snatchers. First serialized in Collier’s Magazine in 1954, the book was collected by Dell into a single volume in 1955. Since then, it’s been re-packaged countless times. Hollywood has morphed it into four major screen adaptations, where the title was changed to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (which apparently caused publishers to retitle the book itself).

When I began brainstorming cover art concepts, I realized that even though I had never read the original novel or seen one of the films, I felt like I ‘knew’ the story. Sleepy American town is creepily assimilated by alien beings who take over people’s minds, one by one. The narrative is virtually an archetype at this point, but of course, it wasn’t enough to ‘feel’ like I knew the story. I read Finney’s text in its entirety and realized another thing. While very much a story of the 1950’s, Finney never intended the narrative to be a metaphor for the American paranoia toward Communism. I suppose that hysteria was what the early film adaptations played upon, but reportedly, that wasn’t Finney’s original intent.

Instead, the story seemed to be about a different kind of fear — the fear of loss and change — of losing the one you love the most, of losing your identity, and even completely losing yourself in a changing world. These aren’t just 1950’s themes. These are themes that resonate thunderously right now.

That was the eureka moment that inspired my cover art.

We live in a time of sweeping and sometimes terrifying change. Many of us are fighting against centuries of aggressive assimilation. We all seem to willingly allow ourselves to be assimilated daily by technologies of our making, and yet we’re all trying to hold on — to our loved ones, to our values, and to ourselves — to be something meaningful before our precious time is snatched away.

If there’s a reason to read a familiar story, it’s to be reminded how to summon the will to overcome our own challenges. It’s no wonder this book is still resonant as ever after sixty years.

For more on the book vs. film connections, check out Sandy Ferber’s review via



The Force is strong with you, San Antonio.

Yesterday’s STAR WARS: THE FORCE OF ART exhibition at the Centro De Artes in downtown SA was a celebration of all things Jedi and Sith, and it was a phenomenal event. Texas A&M University / San Antonio owns the facility and said it’s the most successful audience attraction that the building has had since the days of the Museo Alameda. It was a one-day art extravaganza sponsored by Alamo City Comic Con, and there was a line of fans out the door and down the steps before the show even opened.

Waves of huge crowds surged all day long, despite rainy weather and a busy holiday shopping season. I was one of the featured artists and presented a large-format conceptual sketch for a Yoda tarot card (pictured above). Artworks by Drew Struzan, Stephan Martiniere, Adam Hughes, Terese Nielsen, Tommy Lee Edwards, Scott Harben, Lawrence Reynolds, Mike ‘Comp’ Arguello, Adrian De La Cruz, Alfredo Lopez Jr., Gary Villarreal, and so many more made for a dynamite collection.

Apple De La Fuente and members of the 501st at Star Wars: The Force of Art in San Antonio.

Apple De La Fuente and members of the 501st at Star Wars: The Force of Art in San Antonio.

This is the first time Alamo City Comic Con has ever organized and sponsored an art event of this type, and huge congrats to Apple De La Fuente, Austin Rogers, Wes Hartman, and crew for a bigtime success. Special thanks to Brandon Oliver, the 501st Legion, ACCC volunteers, and the South Texas Collectors Expo as well. Saturday’s show planted another seed toward San Antonio becoming a pop culture art mecca, and ACCC has already announced that they’re sponsoring their next museum celebration on March 19th celebrating ‘Batman v. Superman’.

It was a great day for San Antonio, and I think there are more great ones ahead for this kind of art in this city.

Art by Scott Harben.

Art by Scott Harben.

Art by Stephan Martiniere.

Art by Stephan Martiniere.

Art by Mike 'Comp' Arguello.

Art by Mike ‘Comp’ Arguello.

Art by Drew Struzan.

Art by Drew Struzan.

Art by Lawrence Reynolds.

Art by Lawrence Reynolds.

Art by Gary Villarreal.

Art by Gary Villarreal.

Art by Adrian De La Cruz.

Art by Adrian De La Cruz.

Ready for ACCC 2015!


Come see me at Alamo City Comic Con this weekend. I’ll be there in Artist Boulevard at C17. VIPS: For Thursday night ONLY, I’ll have a 10% discount for you on all merchandise, including my George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire archival prints, Loteria cards and posters, Star Trek and X-Men art and much more.

In addition, all weekend long, everyone who makes a purchase from my table will score a free Star Wars 3D playing card, while supplies last.

I can’t wait to play Loteria on Saturday at 4pm in Room 205. Get there early. I’ll have terrific prizes for you, and it will be epic. 🙂

I’m amazed what Apple De La Fuente, Wes Hartman, Austin Rogers, Garrett Killian, and crew have done to build this event. This will be the third annual ACCC and San Antonio has never seen a pop culture event like this one. I’m stoked and honored to be an ACCC guest again.

Let’s do this, SA! 🙂

“You Can Always Go Downtown”


Hey, San Antonio: I’m presenting a lecture and slideshow about my science fiction/fantasy book cover art career, including a look at my George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire calendar art, Star Trek cover art, and my new Loteria work. The Central Library downtown (600 Soledad Street) is the place to be at 6:30pm on Tuesday, September 1st. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Kids and adults both welcome. Even better? Parking in the Library’s garage is also FREE that night.

There will be a reception after the presentation, and I’ll have a limited supply of my Loteria Grande cards and posters available for sale there, as well as a selection of art prints.

See you tomorrow night, SA! 🙂


Loteria in New Mexico! Sasquan Wrapup!

I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, getting ready to appear at George R. R. Martin‘s Jean Cocteau Cinema Thursday at 7pm for “Loteria Fest”. It’ll be an evening of Loteria games and prizes (think Mexican Bingo), plus an exhibition of large-scale prints of my work where New Mexicans can score my limited-run cards and posters. I’m stoked. Be here, Santa Fe, and bring your friends. Let’s pack that place. Come score your prizes and Loteria goodies.

I arrived here yesterday from Spokane where Sasquan ruled the town, or at least what you could see of it, as it looked like Mordor due to all of the surrounding wildfire smoke. The Sasquan con com put on a great event overall, and my hat’s off to them as well as all who attended my programming and events! Special shoutout to all who visited me and bought my Loteria merchandise in Artists Alley. I SOLD OUT of all of the Loteria Grande cards I brought to the con. Well done, Spokane.

Favorite memories of the con for me? The Brotherhood Without Banners party and George R. R. Martin’s Hugo Losers Party at the Glover Mansion. The former was epic as always (missed you, Martha and Doug), and the latter was a night for the ages.

I thought DC17 assembled a helluva bid for the 2017 Worldcon, but they lost out to Helsinki. So congrats to the Fins! Back to work here in Santa Fe, prepping for tomorrow’s big ‘Loteria Fest’. For now, here are a few Sasquan memories.


ABOVE (clockwise from left): The Misfits were a terrific band at GRRM’s Hugo Losers Party. John Scalzi gets up close and personal with John W. Campbell Award winner Wesley Chu. Kristina Hiner and the legendary Lodey at the Losers Party. Packed house at the Glover Mansion as everyone gazes up at GRRM as he presents the inaugural Alfie Awards.


ABOVE (clockwise from left): Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear at GRRM’s party. LOCUS’ Francesca Myman and Gail Carriger. A special moment when the late, great Jay Lake’s family came to visit and expressed their approval for Jay being included in my Loteria series. (They were so incredibly gracious.) Eddie Tannini, Nichole Giles, and Erik Kluth decked out at GRRM’s Losers Party.


ABOVE: Helsinki 2017 supporters visited my Artists Alley table decked out in full regalia.

Coming Soon to Santa Fe: Loteria Fest!


SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO: You ready to play Loteria and win fabulous prizes?

Here’s the skinny: Starting August 12th, George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema will host “Loteria Fest” — a first-ever exhibition of large-scale giclĂŠes featuring my first series of Loteria artworks. They’ll also have a limited supply of my first eleven Loteria Grande cards for sale, as well as limited-edition prints of my George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire calendar artwork and other cover artworks. The exhibition and sale will run from Wednesday, August 12th to Saturday, August 29th.

What you don’t want to miss is the big night of the whole event. That’s Thursday, August 27th, and that’s when I’ll be in town to host several rounds of Loteria (AKA Mexican Bingo), giving away terrific prizes including DVDs, books, signed Loteria posters, and more. I’ll be there from 7pm to 9pm, playing this traditional Mexican game of chance, and signing cards and posters. I’m really looking forward to it. If you’ve played Loteria before, you know how fun and addictive it is. If you’ve never played, this is your chance to learn, as it’s super-easy to do so, and you’ll have a blast. Here’s some more info on the game and how I’m re-imagining it in a new and personal way.

FYI: The Cocteau has posted an online write-up about the event, but they may be having trouble with their website, as their posted information currently contains some inaccuracies. So don’t get confused. The information I’ve posted above is what you need to know. Holler at me if you have any questions.

The theatre only seats 132, so make sure to mark your calendar and get there by 7pm on Thursday the 27th. I’ll have more updates soon, regarding the prizes and goodies you’ll see that night.

Help me spread the buzz in advance of this event, Santa Fe! This is my first time to your town. Let’s pack the Cocteau!

In Loteria We Trust! 🙂

ARMADILLOCON 2015: Where To Find Booze And Free Stuff. And Me.

NUESTRApicacio800I’ll have new work on display and for sale in the Armadillocon Art Show (hint: Invasion of the Body Snatchers + 2015 Chesley Award nominated works). For the first time, I’ll also be manning a table IN the Art Show during selected Saturday hours (see below for schedule). THIS is your chance to score Loteria Grande cards, posters, and A Song of Ice and Fire limited edition prints at special prices!

Heads up — there will only be a limited supply of ASoIaF prints available at the con, and popular ones will sell quickly. So if there’s a particular ASoIaF print that you covet (choose from these), drop a comment here and tell me which one before 5pm CST, Thursday, July 23rd, so that yours will be reserved. You can then pay and pick up at the con. Easy. And that means you don’t have to knife someone in the side and whisper “For The Watch” when said individual stands between you and that coveted ASoIaF print that should be yours. 🙂 (Online price for these limited edition prints is $125 each, but at Armadillocon only, the sale price is $100 each, while supplies last.) Get ’em before they’re gone, people.


ART SHOW BONUS! For the first time ever, everyone who bids on one of my Art Show display works will receive a free signed Loteria poster of their choice! So even if someone outbids you in the Art Show, you still walk away a winner with a limited-run Loteria poster! After you place a valid Art Show bid on one of my works, just come see me during my Art Sale table hours to claim yours.


Exploring the faithfulness of the adaptation and the high points of the books vs. the show.
6pm-7pm • Ballroom E • Bakutis, Benjamin, Clarke, Finn, Picacio, Swendson

7:30pm-9:30pm • Lobby


For a limited time — get your Loteria Grande cards and posters + score signed limited edition George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire archival prints. There will also be a quality selection of sf/f first editions featuring Picacio cover art. First come, first serve!
10am to 12noon • Table in the Art Show (look for the giant ‘La Sirena’ banner)

How did our Artist GoH break into the field and make a career, and what has he seen along the way?
12noon to 1pm • Ballroom F • Kelley, Picacio, Zrubek

Want to score cool prizes including DVDs, books, and signed Loteria posters? Come play the classic game of chance (AKA ‘Mexican Bingo’), for multiple chances to win. It’s fun and easy to play! Hosted by Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio.
1pm to 2pm • Conference Center

If you miss your chance in the morning to score Picacio art merchandise, this is your reprieve. C’mon over and get yours. (Also: There’s a rumor that single malt scotch may be discreetly available at this table, during these hours, for sharing with discerning adult customers and friends. It’s merely a rumor though. ;))
3pm to 6pm • Table in the Art Show (look for the giant ‘La Sirena’ banner)

What can you do as an artist or writer to get people to notice your work, and how do you keep them as fans?
6pm to 7pm • Southpark A • Eudaly, Hoover, Melton, Picacio, Rose

See you soon, Austin.

2015 Locus Award Winner!

LOCUSAWARD2015I’m back home from Seattle, and I brought back the 2015 Locus Award in the Best Artist category. Wow. 🙂 I was nominated this year along with Michael Whelan, Jim Burns, Charles Vess, and Shaun Tan. That’s a helluva lineup and I have huge respect for all four of those artists. Winning the award is doubly gratifying because it’s an acknowledgement of the ongoing Loteria artwork that constituted a large part of my 2014 output. So THANK YOU, Locus Magazine Readers!! This is hugely appreciated.

Going forward, I’m excited to see where Michael is headed as a visual storyteller. I’m stoked to see where Charles is headed with his next illustrated book. Ditto Shaun. And note to self: I need to buy Jim’s 2014 art book from Titan.

Congrats to all of the winners and finalists in all of the categories!

* What a great moment to see Jay Lake’s daughter Bronwyn, as she accepted his Locus Award for Last Plane to Heaven winning Best Collection.


* Congrats to Irene Gallo as scored the award for Best Magazine. Well earned, Irene.

* Was great visiting with Brom as he accepted the award for Spectrum 21 (winner, Best Art Book).

* In fact, our Locus Awards banquet table racked up a fair share of hardware as Brom, Del Rey editor Michael Braff, and me were all seated with each other (as luck would have it). Michael ended up accepting for Joe Abercrombie’s TWO Locus Awards wins, as well as George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’ win for Rogues, as Best Anthology.

* Really enjoyed visiting with Patty Garcia, Tor’s Director of Publicity (#Mexican@sFTW!!), Liz Gorinsky, Brooks Peck of the EMP, Jack Skillingstead, Daryl Gregory, Francesca Myman, Arley Sorg, Eileen Gunn, Leslie Howle, Adam Christopher, Ramez Naam, Duane Wilkins, and of course, Liza Groen Trombi, who made this whole endeavor come together (with Connie Willis emceeing the awards ceremony). I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton of people, but I want to say a huge thanks to all of the new friends made, and all who visited my table of Loteria merchandise. Special shoutout to Wilde Rover in Kirkland for hosting Loteria Fest on Thursday night and all who came and played (thanks to Brenda Cooper, Jan Greylorn, and of course, Teeny Ayento)!

In a year when we’ve seen science fiction/fantasy awards suffer tremendous abuse, both from without and within, there’s something extra-special about winning the Locus Award this year. It’s because the ballot of nominees felt more like an artful snapshot of excellent works and creators from the most recent calendar year, rather than a collage of vandalisms. This ballot and the winners are decided by science fiction / fantasy readers and art lovers. It’s a people’s award, open to all. I’m grateful and honored to be recognized within such a diverse, world-class gallery of talent, and it only inspires me to be better with my next works.

The 2015 Chesley Award Finalists!

The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists has announced this year’s Chesley Award finalists, and wow — I’m grateful and honored to be nominated for FOUR Chesleys! It’s a stellar list of art and amazing illustrators across all categories, and my thanks to ASFA voters for recognizing my work amongst such great company.

My nominated works are:

Best Cover Illustration / Hardcover
John Picacio • ENDYMION by Dan Simmons
(for the Subterranean Press limited edition, December 2014)
Art Director: William K. Schafer

Best Interior Illustration
John Picacio • Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza
(for the story by Carrie Vaughn)
Art Director: Irene Gallo

Best Product Illustration
John Picacio • ‘La Calavera’ Loteria Card
(for Lone Boy)

Best Monochrome Work • Unpublished
John Picacio • ‘El Venado’
Medium: Graphite

Thank you to Irene and Bill for making two of these nominations possible. I’m also gratified to see that two artworks from my ongoing, creator-owned Loteria efforts — ‘La Calavera’ and ‘El Venado’ — are recognized this year. ‘Means the world to me. Thank you to Carrie Vaughn for writing a terrific Wild Cards story that inspired the art for Nuestra, and to George R. R. Martin for editing Wildcards, one of my favorite of all fiction universes. A mighty blast of Loteria karma to Leigh Bardugo — her Grisha Trilogy (and especially Shadow and Bone) is the waking dream that helped birth ‘El Venado’. I can’t wait for her new book, Six of Crows, releasing in late September.

The complete list of 2015 Chesley Award Finalists. Congrats, all!

Best Cover Illustration / Hardcover
Julie Dillon, Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology edited by Brandon Sanderson; Dragonsteel Entertainment, June 2014
Jon Foster, Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi; Subterranean Press, 2014
Todd Lockwood, The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan; Tor, March 2014
John Picacio, Endymion by Dan Simmons; Limited Edition, Subterranean Press, December 2014
Michael Whelan, Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson; Tor, March 2014

Best Cover Illustration – Paperback
John Harris, Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie; Orbit October 2014
Jon Sullivan, The Return of the Discounted Man by Mark Hodder; Pyr, July 2014
Raymond Swanland, The Lady by K.V. Johansen; Pyr, December 2014
Danielle Tunstall, Unseaming by Mike Allen; Antimatter Press, October 2014
Raoul Vitale, Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 edited by Kij Johnson; Prometheus/Pyr

Best Cover Illustration – Magazine
Julie Dillon Analog April 2014
Matt Dixon, Clarkesworld #90 March 2014
Wayne Haag, Interzone #253 July/August 2014
Patrick Jones, Analog March 2014
Jae Lee, Batman/Superman #14 DC Comics October 2014
Peter Mohrbacher, Lightspeed #48 May 2014
Dan Dos Santos, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #3 Dark Horse, March 2014

Best Interior Illustration
Anna Balbusso and Elena Balbusso, “Ekaterina and the Firebird” by Abra Staffin-Wiebe;, January 2014
Galen Dara, “A City of Its Tentacles” by Rose Lemberg; Lackinton’s #1 February 2014
Julie Dillon, Imagined Realms: Book 1 July/August; Kickstarter December 2014
Scott Gustafson, Classic Bedtime Stories; Artisan, September 2014
Karla Ortiz, “The Walking Stick Forest” by Anna Tambour; May 2014
John Picacio, Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza; October 2014

Best Gaming Related Illustration
Noah Bradley, Drown in Sorrow Magic card, Born of the Gods; WotC, Feb. 2014
Eric Deschamps, Ephara, God of Polis Magic card, Born of the Gods; WotC, Feb. 2014
Michael Komarck, D&D The Rise of Tiamat; WotC, Oct. 2014
Peter Mohrbacher, Pharika, God of Affliction Magic card, Journey into Nyx; WotC, May 2014
Karla Ortiz, Ghoulcaller Gisa Magic card, Commander 2014; WotC, Nov. 2014
Chris Rahn, Ajani the Steadfast Magic card, 2015 Core Set; WotC, July 2014

Best Product Illustration
Frank Cho & Brandon Peterson, Fast Food New York ComicCon 2014 art print
Donato Giancola, George R.R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire 2015 calendar Bantam, 2014
Patrick Jones, Conan The Conquered Illuxcon promotional art
John Picacio, La Calavera Loteria card Lone Boy
Raymond Swanland, One with the Light Limited Edition Giclee on canvas Acme Archives 2014

Best Color Work – Unpublished
Linda Adair, Dragonsbride oil
Michael C. Hayes, Alegretto oils
Reiko Murakami, Giving Name Photoshop
Mark Poole, Omens oils
Dorian Vallejo, Crossing oil on canvas
Annie Stegg Gerard, The Lady of Lorien oil on linen

Best Monochrome Work – Unpublished
Kristina Carroll, “Dragonslayer” charcoal
Sean Murray, “Gateway: The Storkfriars” graphite
John Picacio, El Venado, graphite
Olivier Villoingt, “The Soul of War” graphite & acrylic
Allen Williams, “Sphynx” graphite
Rebecca Yanovskaya, “Wisdom” ink & mixed media

Best Three-Dimensional Art
Dan Chudzinski, The Mudpuppy, resin & mixed media
David Meng, Sun Wukong, the Monkey King
Michael Parkes, Meditation, bronze
Forest Rogers, A Fish from Versailles, Kato polyclay
Virginie Ropars, Morrigan, polymer clay & mixed media
Vincent Villafranca, Modernity’s Squeaky Child, bronze & steel

Best Art Director
Lou Anders, Pyr
Shelly Bond, DC/Vertigo Comics
Irene Gallo, Tor &
Jeremy Jarvis, Wizards of the Coast
Lauren Panepinto, Orbit Books

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award
Kinuko Craft
John Harris
Gregory Manchess
Iain McCaig

The awards ceremony will be held at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, WA on August 19-23, 2015.  If you’re an ASFA member, make sure your dues are up-to-date! You have until June 30th at 11:45pm (East Coast time) to submit your final ballot. (NOTE: The final ballot is accessed with the “VOTING” tab in the red toolbar at the top.) If you’re not currently an ASFA member, join! It only costs a measly $35 and you gain full voting privileges.

I’ll be in Spokane for Worldcon. Congrats again to all of the nominees!

Austin, TX: Winter Is Coming!

'The Others'. Detail from the limited-edition A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE print art by John Picacio.

‘The Others’. Detail from the limited-edition A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE print art by John Picacio.

And so is Loteria! 🙂 Alright, Austin — so I know the temps are hitting 90 degrees right now, and it definitely doesn’t feel like winter. That’s for sure.

So where are my Austin-area Game of Thrones fans? You out there? If you’re glued to every episode like I am, then you know that the series finale is coming soon! BREAKING NEWS: I’ll be appearing in Austin the day before on Saturday, June 13th to talk about the show with fellow fans at Dragon’s Lair (2438 W. Anderson Lane), and I’ll have some of my limited-edition A Song of Ice and Fire prints at special prices for you.

In addition, you’ll have a chance to score my all-new Loteria Grande cards and posters too, and some lucky Dragon’s Lair customers are going to win cool prizes when we play the game of Loteria together that day! Never played Loteria? It’s easy. Think Mexican Bingo. Totally fun. Totally addictive. And it’s the best of times. For all who grew up playing this traditional game of chance with their family and friends (as I did), gather your homies (and any friends who love card games and tarot cards) and come play with me at Dragon’s Lair on Saturday the 13th. Let’s pack the house!

See you there from 12noon to 4pm, Austin!!



Journey To The Wasteland

Heads up, Missoula, Montana — I’ll be Artist Guest of Honor at this year’s MisCon from May 22-25. The con’s theme is ‘The Wasteland’ (you didn’t think I was calling your town a ‘wasteland’, did you? ;)), and I’ll be there with Terry Brooks, Anne Groell, Steve Diamond, Todd Lockwood, Steven Erikson, C.J. Cherryh, Mark Teppo, and many more.

Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire, and George R. R. Martin fans — some good news for you.


I’ll have a limited supply of my official A Song of Ice and Fire art prints for sale in the Art Show. These are printed on archival paper, and they’re signed and numbered (edition of 100). Each measures 17″ x 22″. These prints retail for $125 each, but at MisCon, they’ll be on sale for only $100 each — AND each print will be sleeved for free with an archival bag and board. You won’t get this sales price if you buy them online, so get them before they’re gone at the con! (Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow & Ghost, Eddard Stark, Melisandre.)

* THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO — Don’t miss my Saturday Guest of Honor slideshow and Q&A featuring highlights and process from my cover illustration career, and behind-the-scenes process and anecdotes about the making of my George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire artwork.

* LOTERIA!! — Come play Mexican Bingo on Sunday and win signed posters featuring my new Loteria artwork! This is going to be one of the best MisCon events this year. BE THERE. 🙂


For those of you that haven’t scored some of my limited-run Loteria Grande Cards — you’re in luck as they’ll be available for sale, while supplies last, during and after selected MisCon events. I’ve marked these events in my schedule below with a **.

Here’s where you can find me!

** 3:00-3:50PM: MEET THE ARTISTS / Great Hall (Upstairs)
** 4:00-4:50PM: CREATING THE BRANDS OF TOMORROW / Thunderdome Left (Big Room Left)
7:00-7:50PM: OPENING CEREMONIES / Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)

10:00-10:50AM: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY / Thunderdome Left (Big Room Left)
** Noon-12:50AM: THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO / Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)

** 10:00-10:50AM: AUTHOR BOOK SIGNING / Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)
** 11:00-11:50AM: LOTERIA!! / Thunderdome Left (Big Room Left)
** 3:00-4:50PM: ARTISTS’ CORNER / Hotel Lobby of Doom

** Noon-12:50PM: ARTISTS’ CORNER / Hotel Lobby of Doom
2:00-2:50PM: CLOSING CEREMONIES / Thunderdome Right (Big Room Right)


2015 LOCUS AWARD FINALISTS (Artist). Clockwise from top left: Charles Vess, Shaun Tan, Jim Burns, John Picacio, Michael Whelan.

2015 LOCUS AWARD FINALISTS. Clockwise, top left: Charles Vess, Shaun Tan, Jim Burns, John Picacio, Michael Whelan.

Congratulations to this year’s Locus Award Finalists! And wow, what an amazing list it is, across all categories. In a year marked by heated controversy for sf/f awards, this nominations list is especially notable and remarkable.

Hugely grateful and honored to be amongst the five finalists in the Artist category, along with the stellar talents of Jim Burns, Shaun Tan, Charles Vess, and Michael Whelan. I admire all four of these artists and where they’ve taken their careers lately, so thank you, Locus Magazine voters. Very appreciated.

Good luck to all! 🙂

Here’s the rundown:

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the top five finalists in each category of the 2015 Locus Awards.

Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 26-28, 2015; Connie Willis will MC the awards ceremony. Additional weekend events include author readings with Willis and Daryl Gregory; a kickoff Clarion West party honoring first week instructor Andy Duncan, Clarion West supporters, awards weekend ticket holders, and special guests; panels with leading authors; an autograph session with books available for sale thanks to University Book Store; and a lunch banquet with the annual Hawai’ian shirt contest, all followed by a Locus party on Saturday night.







  • “Tough Times All Over”, Joe Abercrombie (Rogues)
  • “The Hand Is Quicker”, Elizabeth Bear (The Book of Silverberg)
  • “Memorials”, Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 1/14)
  • “The Jar of Water”, Ursula K. Le Guin (Tin House #62)
  • “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”, Scott Lynch (Rogues)





  • Asimov’s
  • Clarkesworld
  • F&SF
  • Lightspeed


  • Angry Robot
  • Orbit
  • Small Beer
  • Subterranean
  • Tor


  • John Joseph Adams
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Gardner Dozois
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Ann & Jeff VanderMeer


  • Jim Burns
  • John Picacio
  • Shaun Tan
  • Charles Vess
  • Michael Whelan



For more information about the Seattle event and for Locus Awards and Locus Workshop ticketing, please visit the 2015 Locus Awards Information Page.