Interview: Lee Moyer

Lee Moyer is an esteemed illustrator and designer whose work has been featured in art books for more than a decade: D’Artiste, Sci-Fi Art, The Future of Fantasy Art, many Spectrum annuals, and the poster for Call of Cthulhu.

His work has appeared in Communication Arts, Design Graphics, and China’s Top Artist Magazine; the New York Times, Washington Post, and the BBC. His work has also been displayed at the Society of Illustrators, the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institute’s Natural History Museum, and many private collections.

He served as Art Director for Electronic Arts, and as a contractor for Sony, Upper Deck and Hasbro.

His film work can be found on the covers of HP Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, Out of Mind, Cool Air, Dreams of Cthulhu, Pickman’s Model, The King in Yellow, Annabel Lee, Strange Aeons, 8 Laurel & Hardy films, and the Special Edition Spiderman 2 DVD. His theatrical work includes world premiere posters for Stephen Sondheim, Andre 3000, John Mellencamp, Stephen King, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

He has illustrated authors as diverse as Raymond Chandler, Philip Jose Farmer, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Iain M. Banks, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and George R.R. Martin. His product illustration and branding clients include Domaine St. Michelle, the Jackson Hole Soda Company, Hudson Industries, and Pharmacopeia.

He was one of the two concept leads for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons and his new games,13th Age and The Doom that Came to Atlantic City, premier this year.

His literary pin-up calendar for 2012 has been a great success….

IFP: How did you get started as an illustrator?

LM: Illustration has always interested me. I was enchanted from a young age by the beautiful Art Nouveau sirens of John R. Neill in L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, and marveled at the works of N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell. I always enjoyed drawing and began my career in late high school, putting art work in the art shows of conventions in the northeast. That was 33 years ago.

IFP: What attracts you to fantastic art?

LM: From classic works, like dueling The Lady of Shalott by William Holman Hunt and John William Waterhouse and The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke by Richard Dadd, to new work by Greg Manchess, Todd Lockwood, Steve Prescott, Aaron McConnell, and Brom, fantastic artwork is like reality, only better. It is exciting, interesting and new. I have a great love for scientific and documentary illustration, and a really good fantasy artist uses these forms and takes them to a higher level, whether that is Wayne Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials, Tony DiTerlizzi’s natural folio of The Spiderwick Chronicles, or James Gurney’s Dinotopia books.

IFP: How did you discover Lovecraft?

LM: On the shelves of a mass market bookstore in 1976 in Denver, Colorado, in a mall called “Villa Italia”. The cover illustrations of John Holmes, combined with the psychedelic type and the utterly improbably name of Providence’s native son, trapped me like a rat in the walls. I was at that perfect age of cosmic teen terror and his work has stayed with me ever since. It was my great pleasure to create an homage to Mr. Holmes on the cover of the DVD documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown.

IFP: How do you feel now that your Kickstarter project to fund The Doom that Came to Atlantic City has reached its goal?

LM: In a word, relieved. We asked for the barest minimum required to publish this 20-year labour of love. When that mark was passed on day 10, my relief was palpable. Thankfully, with each new supporter, we get to add those grace notes I always wanted in the game, but worried we would have to remove simply to get it published.

IFP: Was this your first time fundraising this way?

LM: Yes. Kickstarter has been a miracle, but one that has played merry hell with all the other work I had planned to do in this period.

IFP: What is your dream project?

LM: I am blessed to be currently engaged in at least three of my dream projects. My quest for unknown Kadath is currently on hold.

IFP: What’s next for you?

LM: I am finishing two theatrical seasons’ posters for Northwest Children’s Theater and the Lakewood Center, and will soon begin work on a spinnaker design.

But as to dream projects, I am even now working (when Kickstarter so allows) on several other exciting projects. I was one of the two design leads for 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons, a project rife with frustration both on Hasbro’s side and my own. But working closely with Jonathan Tweet (D&D 3.0 and 3.5) and Rob Heinsoo (D&D 4) is an unmatched delight. Our project is called “13th Age” and, in addition to working with those fine gents, I am collaborating with Aaron McConnell. You may see previews and read hints of the glory of 13th Age here. There are several other things I would love to talk about, but confidentiality agreements prevent. Suffice it to say, there are fun surprises in store for this year.


IFP: If you could be a Lovecraftian creature or character, who would you be and why?

LM: Nyarlathotep. I once had the pleasure of playing this elegant dark gentleman in a weekend-long role-playing game. His character was described thusly: “You are the heart, soul, and mind of the Outer Gods and their sense of humor.” Enough said.

Paul Komoda’s brilliant sculptures are entirely his own, save for Nyarlathotep, who is faithfully adapted from a series of drawings I’ve done over the last 30 years. I suspect that Paul’s work will become the de facto standard of the Outer Gods and it makes me smile to think that my beloved Nyarlathotep may be similarly adopted into mass consciousness.

Learn more about Lee Moyer at his website.


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IFPInterview: Lee Moyer