Lamplighter Magazine Cover Illustration Artwork by magazine illustrator Duncan Long.

I love the unexpected that is part of freelancing. I never know what the next illustration job might entail. Science fiction, religion, fantasy, mystery… The subject matter varies and keeps things from ever being boring.

This weekend, I received the print copy of the Jan/Feb. 2011 issue of the Lamp Lighter magazine (published by Lion and Lamb Ministries). It’s always interesting to see how magazine illustrations turn out in print. These days my monitor is more closely aligned to what the presses will produce, so it’s not quite as surprising as it once was.

Not being too surprised is always good when it comes to the printing process.

Editor Dr. David R. Reagan was quite generous in his praise of the picture on the cover of his magazine as well. In the “Observations by the Editor” column, he wrote,

For a long time I have wanted to write a feature article for this magazine about Satan, but I was unable to find appropriate art for the cover. It was very frustrating… hours searching the Internet — all to no avail…. Then, early this year I tried once more, and to my delight, I discovered the amazing painting that appears on our cover…. The artist who produced this phenomenal image is Duncan Long.

His column goes on to detail my books in print, and where all my illustrations have appeared.

Yes, my head is swollen with pride now.

But my ability to stick my foot in my mouth will undoubtedly aid in rapidly deflating it.

Looking back at the year (as one is prone to do in Dec. and January), it has been an amazing ride. Interestingly enough, this cover is the second bit of artwork that dealt with one of the stories in Genesis (the other being Birth and Rebirth Through Genesis by Rabbi Michael L. Samuel). Two illustrations are likely more coincidence than trend, but it’s something to consider.

This year, more than any other, there’s been an amazing variety of jobs, running from CD covers to magazine work to my first graphic novel. And, of course, about umpteen book cover illustrations.

I’ve enjoyed the work every step of the way.

As far as trends, I saw a huge explosion of illustration work done for self-publishing authors. I’ve created such illustrations in the past, but never in the number I did this year. I suspect this trend of self-publishing by authors will continue this coming year, and it perhaps suggests a sea change within the publishing industry.

I’m betting the coming year will be just as interesting, and hopefully just as busy. There are bills to pay, after all.

When not contemplating the past and speculating on the future, Duncan Long smiles a lot and labors as a freelance magazine and book illustrator. He’s done work for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, Fort Ross, ISFiC Press, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors. See his book illustrations at: