Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

The Hugo and Retro Hugo artists

I always feel slightly incompetent at discussing art; I know what I like, but have some difficulty articulating why. However, I'm not going to let that stop me from giving my views on the finalists for this year's Hugo for Best Pro Artist and Best Fan Artist, and for the 1939 Retro Hugo for Best Pro Artist.

To begin at the beginning:

1939 Retro for Best Pro Artist

1) Margaret Brundage.


It's all variations on the same theme (see Weird Tales covers here, here, here, here, and here) but there's a great use of colour and characterisation. You feel that these imperilled women all had interesting lives before the story began, and if they are lucky will continue to have interesting lives after it ends.

2) Virgil Finlay.


Similar stuff to Brundage (see here and here) but less of it to choose from, so I give Brundage the edge.

3) Alex Schomburg.


There's something refreshingly honest about Schomburg's line drawings (more in the Retro Hugo voter packet). They may not be Great Art but they tell a story.

4) Frank R. Paul.


In narrative terms this is a decent enough illustration of Kuttner's story (which is a finalist for the Best Novella category), but I find it a bit lacking technically. A bit disappointing - Paul was deeply influential on the field but this is not his best year.

5) H.W. Wesso.


The human figures are good enough, but he doesn't really seem to be trying with the more sfnal elements of the art. (See more here, here and here.)

2014 Hugo for Best Fan Artist

1) Sarah Webb.

Sarah Webb

I must say that Webb's folder of art, in the Hugo voter packet, really quite took my breath away. It's as good as the material submitted by the Pro artists. Apparently she is only 19. (Confusingly, there seem to be at least two older artists with the same name - see here and here.)

2) Mandie Manzano.


Manzano may lose out from not having her work in the voter packet, but her website is here and well worth a look. I assume that it's not actually stained glass, but she has got that effect rather well, making her figures very expressive even without facial features.

3) Brad Foster.

Brad Foster

This comes back to the more traditional fanzine / fanac illustrations, always quirky and eye-catching.

4) Steve Stiles.

Steve Stiles

Similar to Foster, not making any great claims for itself but entertaining enough.

5) Spring Schoenhuth.

I voted her much higher previously, but we have very little to go on this year - website under construction, and just a couple of pieces on the Loncon site. So it's impossible to form a good judgement.

2014 Hugo for Best Pro Artist

I found this a particularly difficult category. All the finalists have submitted excellent work to the voter package.

Edited to add: That is, with the exception of Fiona Staples, whose work on Saga is in another category. I had forgotten that she was nominated, so have re-ordered my votes accordingly.

1) Fiona Staples.


I'm not sold on the plot of Saga, but I am sold on Staples' superb art. I hope she wins.

1) 2) Don dos Santos.

Don dos Santos

I love the characterisation of his figures, and the art is uncluttered and clear. Just shades into my top second spot.

2) 3) Julie Dillon.

Julie Dillon

Brilliant use of colour and shade. Very tough call between her and Dos Santos for me.

3) 4) John Picacio.

John Picacio

A series of intriguing, not-quite-human figures.

4) 5) Galen Dara.

Galen Dara

Technically accomplished, just the colour/line combination didn;t really work for me.

5) 6) John Harris.

John Harris

Almost no human figures, as compared to the other nominees, so one really is judging chalk and cheese here. In a set of artworks which only included other grand landscapes, I might well have ranked it higher; I liked the pieces a lot, I just liked the other finalists a little more.

So that's what I think. But reasonable people can disagree.

You can vote in this year's Hugos, and the 1939 Retro Hugos, by joining Loncon 3 at .

2014: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) | Best Professional Artist | Best Fan Artist
1939: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) | Best Professional Artist
Tags: hugos 2014

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