Dragonfly on Ancient Paper - a book cover illustration artwork by Duncan Long

Dragonfly on Ancient Paper - a book cover illustration by Duncan Long

Folks often ask if I use paints (or ink) to produce my book and magazine illustrations.

Short answer: No.

But I started as an actual painter and later as a pen-and-ink illustrator. But digital is so much cleaner and faster (plus there’s that undo key), that there’s just no contest between it and real paint.

And the results are also much, much easier to get to a publisher. No insurance, FedEx forms, or worry about damage to the work; just fire it into the ether and wait for it to arrive at the publisher’s computer a few seconds later.

That said, I do try to maintain a “painterly” look to my digital illustrations, and hence a little confusion with clients and viewers from time to time who mistake the artwork for something created with real paint and brush or pen and ink.

I work on a PC workstation with a Wacom digital tablet. Software varies greatly, but the lion’s share of the work is done on an old (Windows 95!!!!) copy of Corel PhotoPaint which has the paint brushes, smear tools, and plugins that I’ve become accustomed to using. I’ve worked on the PC for a long while now, in part because some of the key art software I use in creating my pictures is only available for the PC.

I dread the day I have to change to some other software. At that point I may be forced to change my name and pursue a life of crime.

Until that day, the world remains safe from me and the flying monkeys that work here in my studio.

When not planning for his life of crime, Duncan Long works as a magazine and book cover illustrator. You can see more of his illustrations at Duncan Long’s Magazine and Book Cover Portfolio