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Interview with Insomnia Web Magazine

February 16, 2010

Last year I did an interview with INSOMNIA, an Argentinian web magazine dedicated to Stephen King, about my art, and in particular my Stephen King illustrations.  The interview was translated into Spanish for their readers, so I’ve decided to post the original interview I did with them in English below, so all you non-Spanish readers can now read the full interview.  Their Spanish version, complete with illustrations, which was posted in October 2009, can still be seen here.

I’ve done a few other interviews that have been translated into other languages so in the future I may post the English versions of those here as well…

Interview with INSOMNIA:

Hello Vincent! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi Insomnia magazine.  Thanks for asking me to do this interview!  I’m a freelance Illustrator and Designer living in the UK.  I’ve been working in this industry for the past 5 years and I’m probably best known for my work on book covers in the fantasy/horror/SF genres.  Apart from my work for book covers I have also created artwork and design for magazines, CDs, websites, flash games and book trailers.  Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to work for a lot of nice people around the world and have even had the honour of picking up an award or two for my art along the way.

Who arose the project of being the illustrator of the limited edition of Stephen King goes to the Movies, published by Subterranean Press?
I’d already worked on a number of other covers for Subterranean Press before, so when they offered me this project I jumped at the chance to do it.  In fact, the first project I worked on for Subterranean Press was ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ by Joe Hill, whose father, is of course Stephen King!

Did you know Stephen King’s works before you worked on this project? If so, which one is your favourite and which one would you like to illustrate?
I read many of Stephen King’s books when I was younger and was quite a fan.  Through the years I’ve also watched a lot of the movies and tv adaptations of his works – some I’ve enjoyed, but there are many that I think are nowhere near as good as the books!  When the Polish publisher Proszynski i S-ka asked me to do the covers for their series of Stephen King books, it’d actually been many years since the last time I’d read one of his books, so I really enjoyed getting reacquainted with them, and it was a thrill for me to be asked to illustrate the books of an author that I was a fan of when I was growing up.  I think one of my favourites is ‘The Shining’, although I remember I also really liked ‘Needful Things’ when I read it when I was younger.  I think the ‘Dark Tower’ series would be cool to illustrate, and I also think ‘It’ could be quite fun to do!

What are your thoughts about the movies present in “Stephen King Goes to the movies”? Would you have chosen others to be present in the book?
I think there is a good selection of King’s stories present in the book – it’s quite a varied collection and show off the different types of story he is capable of.  As for the movies themselves, I’ve not seen ‘Children of the Corn’ or ‘The Mangler’ but ‘The Shawhank Redemption’ was a great film, and I did quite enjoy ‘Hearts in Atlantis’ even though they’ve changed things and, understandably took out all the ‘Dark Tower’ references of the yellow men.  I didn’t enjoy the movie version of ‘1408’ as much as I thought I would, though I know a lot of people who did like it.   One I perhaps would have chosen would be ‘The Mist’.  I saw the film version not long ago and really liked it, and I think that one would have been a fun movie poster for me to do!

What are you working at nowadays? (Original interview done in Oct 2009)
The majority of the work I’m doing at the moment is artwork for book covers and interiors.  Right now I’m working on a few other projects for Subterranean Press including ‘Grave Peril’ of the ‘Dresden Files’ series.  I’m also in the middle of doing a few covers for a couple of major publishers in the US and Australia.  A UK rock band will also be releasing an album later this year using one of my old images for the cover.  I’ve done a few album covers for bands in the past, and this is something I’d love to have the chance to do more of in the future.

What drawing and painting methods do you usually use?
I use a lot of different techniques in my work, but all the final images are put together digitally in Photoshop.  Depending on what’s needed for the image, I’ll use a combination of photography, painted or drawn elements, sculpture, created textures from various materials, or even found objects that are scanned in.  When creating the image I’ll assemble all these different elements and import them into the computer and then use Photoshop to combine and manipulate them to create the final image.  Sometimes I’ll also use Illustrator to create some objects that I’ll then use in Photoshop.  When creating painted elements, I usually use either acrylics or watercolours.  I don’t tend to do any of the drawing/painting  digitally as I’ve always done that by hand and it feels more natural to me.

Where else can we find your illustrations? Which other authors did you work with before?
The best place to see my illustrations and design work is my website: www.vincentchong-art.co.uk.  I also have a Flickr photostream if anyone wants to find me there: www.flickr.com/photos/vincentchong-art/. Publishers I’ve done a lot of work for include Subterranean Press, PS Publishing and Proszynski, so you can find my work on a number of their covers.  I’ve worked with a number of different authors over the past few years, but one of the authors I’ve worked most with is Joe Hill – I’ve done covers for his ‘20th Century Ghosts’, ‘Heart-Shaped Box’, ‘Locke & Key’ and ‘Gunpowder’ books and will be doing the artwork for the limited edition of his next book ‘Horns’.  I’ve also worked with John Scalzi a number of times on his ‘Old Man’s War’ series and am about to do another project with him.  Other authors whose work I’ve illustrated but didn’t get to work with directly include Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Richard K. Morgan, Jim Butcher….

Did you ever do movie posters? Those present in the book are perfect! If so, which ones?
I’ve not done any actual movie posters but it’s something I’d love to do.  I’m a big fan of movies and think that there are some great movie poster designs out there.  In fact, movie posters are one of the things I sometimes look at when I’m looking for inspiration for my artwork.  So I was very excited to be able to do my own versions of the movie posters for ‘Stephen King Goes to the Movies’.  I’d definitely like to have the chance to do some real movie posters or dvd covers in the future so if anyone is after any, do let me know!

We recently saw a remarque of a “Low man in yellow coat” you did for a copy of Stephen King goes to the movies and we think it’s INCREDIBLE! Did you do more remarques? Can they be acquired? (if so, where) Do you have pictures of others you did?
I only recently began doing remarques for people after I started getting a number of requests for this.  Apart from the ‘Low Man in yellow Coat’ remarque, I’ve also done a number of other remarques for a few of the other books I’ve illustrated, including ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ and ‘Gunpowder’.  I am happy to do remarques for people, but it does depend on how busy my schedule is as to when I’ll be able to fit them in.  The fee I charge for this is £10GBP for a small sketch and £30GBP for a large full page sketch (the prices do not include the cost of the return postage for the books).  If anyone would like more information on this they can email me at vinny@vincentchong-art.co.uk

Anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Thanks for taking the time to read this interview and finding out a little bit about me.  I hope you like the work I’m doing and in particular my interpretations of Stephen King’s work!  If anyone would like to know any more about what I do or has any questions they’d like to ask me, please feel free to email me at vinny@vincentchong-art.co.uk.  I’d love to hear from you!  Prints of my artwork are also available – more details can be found at my website, or again you can email me for more information.

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