Julie Dillon is a rising star in the science fiction and fantasy community. Her gorgeous artwork has appeared in everything from the covers of novels from publishers such as Tor Books, Angry Robot, and Penguin, as well as for magazines such as Clarkesworld, Lightspeed and Uncanny Magazines. Now, she’s Kickstarting a new art book called Daydreamer’s Journey, a retrospective of the art that she’s produced over the course of her career.
The project just passed its funding goal of $18,500, and she notes that the book will be a 200 page hardcover art book containing her personal and professional work, sketches, studies, and drafts, some of which hasn’t been available before. She also says that the book will include commentary on the art, “so you can see part of my painting and brainstorming process.”
She tells The Verge that she’s gone through Kickstarter before, noting that the two projects that she managed — Imagined Realms: Book 1 and Imagined Realms: Book 2 (featuring fantasy and science fiction art, respectively) were smaller projects that were ideal for Kickstarter. At the time, she didn’t feel that publishers would be sufficiently interested in the books, and going through the crowdfunding platform allowed her to have complete control over the final product. Now, years later, she says that she felt it was time to do something that was “entirely my own.”
Dillon has gained a considerable amount of acclaim for her work since those first books were published in 2014 and 2015. She’s been nominated for and has won the Chelsea (an annual award for SF/F artists), Hugo, Locus, British Fantasy and other awards for her work. She says that over the years, she’s had to go hunting through hard drive to search for a file, and often came across artwork that she had forgotten about, and wanted to figure out a way to showcase her work.
That artwork is often vivid, bursting with color, and she says that she tends to focus on “magic and narrative composition over strict photorealism,” and that she wants her work to have a “lush feel, so that looking at it is visually satisfying.” She also notes that her favorite scenes are the ones in which she can “focus on the human reaction to a fantastical situation.”
A majestic landscape is wonderful, yes, but how would it feel to a person looking out over that vista? How would someone react to seeing this magical creature? What would someone’s life looked like if this fantastical setting was ordinary to them? Science fiction and fantasy offer a broad range of subject matter, and allow for more surreal approaches, but I think ultimately it just gives you more ways to reveal our own humanity, in the way that we relate to those scenes.
She notes that Daydreamer’s Journey is already assembled, and once the campaign finishes, the book will be printed and shipped to backers by December 2018. A physical copy will run $30 (a digital PDF is be $10), with some additional tiers including copies of her prior work, prints, and more. She also notes that there’ll be “very limited availability” of the book following the campaign.