October 24, 2022

Upcoming Artist Collaborations

We’ve been immensely pleased to collaborate on our letterpress edition of Peter Pan, which opens for pre-orders in two days, with award-winning fantasy illustrator Charles Vess. Charles’ rich palette, striking compositions, and lavish detail has graced the pages of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Stardust, Susanna Clarke’s The Ladies of Grace Adieu, and George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, and innumerable other books.

In our recent interview at Collectible Book Vault, we spoke about how important illustrated books are to us:

We love reading well-illustrated books ourselves as illustrations elevate the reading experience. This can be done by granting us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a world, in a way that mere words can’t, or by evoking a feeling that’s in harmony with the words on the page. We know this is just as important to collectors, so careful consideration is given to the artist we collaborate with on each book...

While we’re not quite ready to share the titles or artwork of the other books we have in production, we are elated to announce future Conversation Tree Press editions will feature richly imaginative artwork from the following award-winning artists:

Tom Kidd

Tom Kidd has been a fantasy illustrator for over 30 years, winning a World Fantasy Award for Best Artist and seven Chesley Awards during that time. His highly detailed, colourful style, influenced by Norman Rockwell and Chesley Bonestell, has graced the covers of hundreds of books for the likes of William Morrow, Harper Collins, Ballantine Books, and many others. He has also created illustrated editions for specialty publishers like Subterranean Press and Centipede Press.

When I first reached out to Tom about illustrating the book, he revealed that he’s long wanted to collaborate on illustrating work from the author. He will be creating nine full-colour paintings, character portraits, and over twenty pen and ink illustrations to be used throughout the text.

Marc Castelli

Marc Castelli is a renowned marine artist with over twenty years of experience sketching, drawing and painting watermen, lobstermen, their workboats, America’s Cup racers and their yachts, and the extended families that race their log canoes along the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore.

His paintings are exhibited at prestigious galleries in Connecticut and Maryland and in U.S. embassies throughout the world by way of the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies Program. Marc has been widely published in Nautical Quarterly, Sailing Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Sea History Magazine and in several books.

Over the years, Marc has collaborated on a handful of fine press editions, where he creates his work in pen and ink, including the highly regarded edition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness from Chester River Press (now Mad Parrot Press).

His drawings provide an opportunity for very close integration with the text of our book, and we continue to collaborate closely, discussing scenes, trading sketches and designing interior layouts. Prototypes for the books are in the early stages of production, with one of Marc’s drawings playing an integral role in the binding.

Petar Meseldžija

Prince Marko and the Water Fairy (Marko Kraljević i Vila Vodarica) - 70x100cm, oil on wooden board, 2015.

Gregory Manchess had this to say of Petar Meseldžija:

Petar Meseldžija is an artist’s artist, a painter’s painter. This isn’t just another oil painter, another painterly approach to realism. This is historical, timeless, generation-inspiring work, the kind that eventually garners thick tomes by professors of classic art study. His paintings must be felt, allowed to draw one in, pull one from the everyday.

Petar is a highly-regarded fantasy artist, with a style compared to the likes of Rembrandt and Rubens. Starting his career in his homeland of Serbia, he moved to the Netherlands in the early 90s and dedicated himself to illustration and painting. In the years since then, his work has adorned the covers and interior pages of many books on both sides of the Atlantic. He’s also published a number of retrospective art books and books he wrote and illustrated himself. Petar has won multiple awards from the prestigious annual magazine Spectrum - The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.

Our collaboration is a book that’s very dear to Petar and one he’s wanted to illustrate for quite some time. So much so, in fact, that this is the first commercial work he is undertaking since deciding to focus only on commissions and paintings for his personal book projects.

Our book will include twelve oil paintings along with multiple pen and ink vignettes. Having started this year, he expects to complete all of his work within two years.

Future Projects

We have also had fruitful discussions with Dave McKean and Vladimir Zimakov, who will all be starting projects for us next year.

We look forward to sharing more about our future publications as production work continues. For now, we hope that this gives a good sense of the high regard we have for the illustrative aspect of our bookmaking and our intent to continue collaborating with some of the most talented artists working today.


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