Glenn Chadbourne is a freelance artist specializing in the horror/dark fantasy genres. His artwork has appeared in over fifty books as well as numerous magazines, comics, and computer games. His trademark pen and ink illustrations have accompanied the works of today’s best-selling horror writers, most notably Stephen King. He created the extensive artwork that appears in both volumes of King’s The Secretary of Dreams as well as PS Publishing’s edition of The Colorado Kid. Chadbourne has a longstanding relationship with Cemetery Dance Publications where a great body of his work can be seen in various books published by the company. He lives in Newcastle, Maine with his wife, Sheila, and their pug dog, Rocket. For more information, visit his website at www.glennchadbourne.com. For a gallery of Glenn’s work, please click here.
HWA President Rocky Wood said, “Glenn Chadbourne is a quiet achiever with a truly unique artistic style. I am fortunate to know him well – he is a character, a Mainer through and through and a true gentleman. He illustrated my first graphic novel, enhancing every word with astounding new views of such iconic characters as Frankenstein’s monster and Count Dracula, as well as authors such as Mary Shelley and HWA’s old friend, Bram Stoker. We are proud to have Glenn as WHC’s Artist Guest of Honor. Attendees are in for a real treat, viewing his artwork and getting to know the huge personality that is Glenn.”
Over the course of the coming months leading up to the Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana, I will feature a series of interviews with each of the Guests of Honor.
Darkeva: You’re one of the most noted Stephen King artists, particularly for Secretary of Dreams, and your work has frequently appeared in Cemetery Dance. What do you find the most challenging or the most rewarding aspects about being an illustrator working in the horror genre?
GC: As for challenges, every new gig is a challenge. I always try to nail down the atmosphere or flavor of a new story I’ve been asked to illustrate, and the challenge is conveying the right sort of mood or impact in the art that represents what the author is “up to” in the given story. In other words, real dark serious stories would suggest dark art. Stories with a funny or comical tone would require something completely different. So it’s always a challenge to accommodate different tones to projects. Hopefully I’ve pulled off this trick over the years. As for the rewards…hell, if people like what I’ve dredged up that’s the greatest reward. I love what I do and hopefully it comes across to the reader.
Darkeva: Although you’re primarily an illustrator, you’re also a huge horror fan. What were some of your favorite books and films growing up?
GC: I chewed through just about every genre vehicle offered as a kid. Movies, TV, books and comics.
I grew up in a wonderful time when a lot of groundbreaking fiction hit the bookshelves and movie screens. The Exorcist, The Omen…a slew of paperbacks came out that pushed the envelope of horror–and there was that King fella who seemed to have a new kind of knack for scaring the shit out of people. I read all the genre comics of the day–Tales from the Crypt, etc, and loved all the old Warren mags: Creepy, Eerie, Famous Monsters and so on. And the Hammer flicks absolutely ruled in my book–I’m a big Hammerhead. So it was a great time to be alive with all this scary energy going on in every aspect of the genre and I was influenced by it all.
Darkeva: Although painters such as William Blake and Hieronymus Bosch have been producing horror in art for centuries, modern-day horror illustrators focus on magazine covers, posters, and book covers for the most part. What were some of the challenges you faced when you were first trying to break into the art scene with your work?
GC: As for challenges, trying to break in to the biz…well, you’ve got to have a pretty tough skin and it takes perseverance. I got shoe boxes full of polite rejection slips but I kept soldiering on, sending out samples of my art to different outlets. You have to keep in mind that, just because your portfolio is a labor of love, there’s some person sitting at some book/magazine publishing site with a mountain of art samples sitting in a mile-high slush pile, and you’re just one of many submissions to check out. “Patience and persistence” is the best advice I can offer. The thing with me is I just drew this stuff daily anyway–didn’t give a rip if I got paid for it or not. It was in me wanting to get out…so I just sent stuff out every so often and hoped for the best, and in time I started to get published and it went from there.
Darkeva: What part of being a Guest of Honor at the Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013 are you most excited about?
GC: Oh shit, I’m beside myself psyched for this event. It’s really a true honor for me and I was very moved when asked. You do this stuff sitting in a studio for years then one day one of your own [then] someone from the tribe honors you by asking you to hang out with the best in the biz–it’s orgasmic!
Darkeva: What other projects do you have on the horizon?
GC: I’ve got a slew of projects going on at once as I answer these questions–a couple of things that I can’t really talk about for pre-order legalese reasons, but I’m a busy boy. Look for half a dozen new books in the near future and one uber-cool project that’s soon to be announced. At the same time I’m busy doing private commissions, so all’s well up here in mid-winter Maine. I guess that’s about it. Hope I’ve answered all this, and thanks very much for asking me in.
A huge thank-you to Glenn for agreeing to be part of this feature. Be sure to visit his website here, where you can find out more about his latest works.