Peter Andrew Jones drawings

About "prelims", "visuals" & "roughs" . . . . . .
My "prelims" (preliminary) are usually highly finished works - not "sketchy".
As some fans and collectors of my works already know, my relationship with "prelims" (or "roughs" as we called them in the paperback industry of the 1970s in the UK, or "visuals" later in the 1980s in my time in TV and movies) is unusual simply because I rarely did any "sketches" from about the mid 1970s onwards.
The demand for my work from publishers grew extremely quickly in the early few years of my career and was so intense that it was simply impossible to keep up with it if time was spent on "prelims", so publishers, who vied with each other for my studio time,  gave up asking for them and instead just trusted that I would produce "final art" (the paintings) that "sold the book".
As far as my memory serves me, by around 1976 (just three years after I'd produced my very first book cover, for Puffin Books in the UK) my sales reputation evolved to a point where W.H. Smith then the biggest retailer of books in the UK, told one publisher they would "take any book that has a PAJ cover on it without first seeing it" which was a delight to the publisher's sales people out on the road as they didn't have to bother hawking my cover proofs around and spending precious time offering them to individual bookshop owners and managers and a delight to me as I could spend more time on the finished painting and, if I got myself organised, actually spend time on related personal pieces, additional pieces, and often multiple variant pieces to explore the idea(s) I wanted to convey, then choosing one of the variants to deliver to the publisher as a "final" piece.
It may also surprise some people that quite frequently I was not given a book to read, or even a decent chapter of a book to base ideas on, instead, often relying on either a one paragraph description from an editor or even a verbal brief or indeed, believe it or not, no information at all.
I did have a secret weapon though!
My early works were produced while I was still at St. Martins School of Art in central London (now Central St.Martins) and around the block, in Soho, was "Dark They Were and Golden Eyed" the specialist Science Fiction book shop named after the Ray Bradbury short story, and as often as I could I used to go there and buy the imported American editions (usually first to be produced in paperback) and read the book I was creating the UK cover for. It worked quite well as a process for a time.
I even created pictures for books I was unlikely to ever get asked to cover. I remember making images relating to Michael Moorcock's character Elric, Published in the UK by Pan Books, just because I liked the concept even though the books were already published in the UK so I would be unlikely to be asked to re-cover the series because it was already so successful but at the time, in 1979, I was in negotiation with David Larkin, the art director at Pan Books in the UK who represented Ian Ballantine's company in The USA that had published the Frazetta book and they were looking for "a significant follow-up" with an anthology of my works, and I had this great but utterly crazy idea that I could paint "all the covers I had not been asked to do for paperbacks and put them in the anthology". To quote David Larkin, "when are you ever going to have time to do that?" meaning he needed to get on and get the book published and not hang around waiting to accomodate PAJ's crazy desire.
I guess I was quite obsessed really, thinking back on it now.
When I reflect on the sheer levels of energy that drove me then it is scary!
This meant that my relationship with drawings and paintings was, and still is, pretty much an individual one with the specific work and not a procedural one where a "prelim" precedes the "finished painting", the typical industry process of the era and relationship of one to-the other: Instead, I just “plunged right in” with no “prelim” most of the time.
As the 1970s moved on, and the market expanded, with my works increasingly published throughout Western Europe, the fact publishers were publishing non-English language editions made it even harder to deal with the lack of written source material. In many cases, publisher's requests were merely "let us have something" and it became increasingly hard to even pin down exactly what they were going to actually use the image(s) on!
Eventually, the commercial success of my work led to a situation where often I was asked to create an image and the author wrote a passage around the picture or an editor would "amend" a novel to accommodate the subject matter of my picture!
Essentially, the paintings often became the lead item with the book attached.


Peter Andrew Jones Warlock of Firetop Mountain The Ultimate Spell Heroes & Villains  Warlock of Firetop Mountain The Ultimate Spell Puffn Penguin Peter Andrew Jones Peter Andrew Jones Warlock of Firetop Mountain The Ultimate Spell Heroes & Villains
"Final" art + "Prelim drawing" & "prelim painting"
(and there's more in the archive!)
Perhaps the most striking, though by no means unique, example of how things frequently occurred is illustrated by the creation process of the cover for the Fighting Fantasy role play paperback book The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (which is actually titled "The Ultimate Spell").
In 1982 when the art editor at Puffin, Doreen Scott, who I had known for many years, called me in to discuss the cover for the book, I was told "it's a new kind of book and we've no idea what to do with it"; they had already had a cover done by somebody, I don't know who, which "was not working" and I was asked to >

 "go away
and  come back
with something

The deadline was an impossible one, eaten into by the previous "not suitable" cover art and artist.
However, as a favour to Doreen Scott years earlier, because she'd given me my very first book cover job while I was still an art student, that even though I had moved on to much more lucrative work years earlier in adult books, TV and movies and no longer worked in children's books which paid badly in comparison, I'd promised her in return for her help getting me started in the profession when I was just 20 years old that she could "call me any time you need something done and I will hapilly do it for you."
It was a favour to her, and nothing else, as far as I was concerned.
As far as I recall I was given no manuscript, editorial overview, synopsis of any meaningful kind or input for such an important new book series launch. The "briefing" lasted "minutes". To get around this problem plus the problem that there was simply no sufficient time allowed by the severely shortened deadline >
I took an existing personal painting from "stock", did a bit more work to it, stuck a label on the back as I always did when I delivered a piece to a client, and let her publish it. In short , my painting, which I'd entitled "The Ultimate Spell" was nothing to do with the Fighting Fantasy  book series, it was merely a stock sale from what eventually grew to be THE SOLAR WIND PICTURE LIBRARY, one of hundreds my licensing agency carried out in virtually every country on the planet for a quarter of a century until I closed the agency in the late 1990s and turned to self-publishing, a decision based on the sheer extent of subscribers to my internet fan mailing lists, which made it abundantly clear I did not need (and therefore no longer wanted) anyone else to publish my works.
It is, in fact, one of several versions of the picture I'd generated for my own personal pleasure, which was a habit of mine that began even when I first started as a professional artist, in fact, it was probably a habit triggered on that very first day I took my portfolio to that very first Puffin Books client meeting with Doreen Scot (bless you Doreen) in the summer of 1973, because on the day she asked me to "do a sample for me" (which eventually led to my first actual commission in that summer of 1973) and so I had a "spare picture" even from day one.
On the day I took that very first "sample" piece to show her, in a way, a "prelim" to actual commissioned work she would subsequently give me, she took one look at it and simply said - "fine".
I had expected to have to justify my picture-making decisions -------
That very first "sample" fantasy painting of mine (below) created in the summer of 1973 while still at St. Martins School of Art, still hangs on my studio wall to this very day.

Peter Andrew Jones Solar Wind Hereos & Villains
Very first fantasy painting 1973
(now finally published in Heroes & Villains book
One of the advantages of being young and new to something is that you don't know how things work, so I just kept on making variants of pictures a lot of the time, mainly to explore different types of materials, exploring the differences of pencil, oil paint, acrylic, gouche, paper, card, hardboard, canvas (even glass!) when I had time, such as this drawing and "spare" painting that I did at the same time as creating the "final art" for The Zap Gun, created for Panther Books in 1974 >

Peter Andrew Jones The Zap Gun Solar Wind  The Zap Gun peter Andrew Jones Solar Wind  Peter Andrew Jones The Zap Gun Solar Wind
"Final" art + "Prelim drawing" & "prelim painting"
So, a decade later, I had amassed a "library" of "spare" art and when confronted with impossible deadlines I could pull a picture "from stock" usually at the publisher's request, and so the million-selling Warlock of Firetop Mountain cover was, in fact, a "spare" picture and merely a simple favour granted to someone I liked working with for whom I had created my first ever cover for a decade earlier.
While the success of Fighting Fantasy was spreading worldwide, requests  from publishers around the world, as far apart a Brazil and Tokyo who were publishing almost any kind of role play publications, books, boardgames, even phone cards, put my studio under further pressure and time constraints and when the French publisher Editions Gallimard had excellent sales from my Lone Wolf covers created for them, which also was published in Italy by Editioni E. Elle, the UK publisher of the series  began buying the French cover art for the Lone Wolf series from me which evolved into creating additional pictures for them in the UK and before long, with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, Eastern European start-up publishers in countries such as Hungary, The Czech Republic, Poland and even on the border with China, created a situation where even creating drawings in parallel with the paintings became difficult and soon I found myself even creating drawings while on a flight to Hollywood to work on a movie poster and creating one in the wardroom of HMS Nottingham, a British warship, while a guest of the Royal Navy for an aviation art project In was working on.
Eventually, by the time I created the Kult works for Target Games during the 1990s in Sweden and most particularly their Trading Cards where the number of works to be created was extensive, the situation became impossible and even my long standing tradition of "creating drawings and additional paintings" while working on the main image to be delivered to the client could not keep up with the market demand, indeed, even the task of creating the specific main individual artwork to be delivered to the client became an impossible situation where demand for the work had completely outstripped the ability to create enough of it to satisfy the market, the work now appearing in almost every single market in the world except Russia and China and the Middle East (though it did get published in Israel) and this created a "fork in the road" situation, where something had to be done to deal with it.
The solution was presented by the advent of technology, both the web and affordable desktop publishing, and to preserve my desire to create in an unrestricted way and not be blocked from doing so, I ceased providing works for "other publishers" and in 1999 closed the licensing division of my company, ceased creating work for "other publishers" and began self-publishing which allows me to create in a completely unrestricted way and so it is that my long held policy of creating several related works on a theme evolved into illustrating my own books, which ensures no restrictions occur and, more excitingly, every work now gets published - by me.
So, as a result of this historical and somewhat untypical way of working, where often a finished drawing was created alongside a finished painting, the relationship between the two becomes more about "what differences show up or can be shown" in the individual work(s) because of the different materials used and the fact that the drawing is not, generally, a "prelim" for the painting but more accurately described as a "companion piece", be it a drawing, a watercolour or even a metalpoint drawing or indeed, companion and related paintings from "a theme", a story in an illustrated book - of my own.
This working process, where I often tend to "start and continue to completion" usually with several drawn and painted related pieces on the go at the same time, is intended to keep the raw energy and initial creative impulse in the work and not risk squandering it on "scrappy sketches" which have never really interested me.
So, basically, the answer to a recent question from a collector of my works "Is there anything in a pencil work that you think is lost when translated into paint" is answered by replying that if my working process had been the typical "prelim-precedes-painting" one I would say that probably the often predominately linear nature of drawing might be significantly lost in the painting, especially if for example an artist painted in a very impressionistic manner. If, however, one works the way I did, and still do, the intrinsic nature of the drawing stays exactly that and the painting has a "related but individual nature of it's own".
So, in fact, my "prelims" are actually "finished drawings".
"As it was in the very beginning, so it is today . . . . . . ."

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