How did you become an illustrator?
I was always drawing as a child and was always the class artist in school. When it was time to enroll in college, I decided to major in art, since I had some talent in that area. However, I majored in Fine Arts. When I was in graduate school earning my MFA degree, I decided I'd rather be an illustrator after graduation. My first job was as an illustrator in the advertising department of a newspaper. I went from there to an advertising agency, and then on to freelancing as an illustrator, doing mostly advertising work.
Why did you choose science-fiction and fantasy as your own field of action?
I grew up reading comic books and fell in love with science fiction and fantasy literature as a teenager. The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs were very influential as were the Burroughs cover art done by Frank Frazetta and Roy G. Krenkel in the 60's Burroughs revival. I discovered fanzines while in graduate school and began to do some work for the Burroughs fanzines. I continued to work for the fanzines after graduation and eventually broke into science fiction & fantasy illustration on a professional level.
What techniques do you prefer?
I've worked mostly in oils for many years, though I've done extensive work in acrylics as well. I don't do any digital artwork. Everything I do is traditional.
From a personal and/or professional point of view, what is the most satisfying work that you have done so far?
I enjoy painting strong, sexy, female characters, so any time an assignment allows me to paint something in that vein, I'm pretty satisfied. Throw in a critter of some sort, and I'm ecstatic!
Is there any author or story that you would like to illustrate and haven't done yet?
I always enjoyed doing anything Edgar Rice Burroughs related. I'd love to be able to do some covers for his Barsoom or Pellucidar series. If his books are released again, I hope the publisher chooses me to do the cover paintings.
You are best known for the portrayal of strong, sexy female characters: besides that, are there any less known paintings that you're particulary fond of or proud of in terms of technique or subject?
Not really. Each assignment seems to present a unique challenge. I'm working on a cover for a science fiction book now entitled Exodus. The cover called for me to paint spaceships, and I'm not really a tech painter. I haven't painted any spaceships in a long time, so feel that I have to step up to the plate and deliver a good job on something I'm not terribly comfortable with.
What do you think about present-day fantasy illustration in general?
There are a lot of really talented artists in the field and I see lots of work that I think is fantastic. On the other hand, I have my own tastes, and there is work out there that I don't really care for.
Do you like most of what you see on book-covers? In your opinion, are they mostly original, repetitive or creative?
To tell the truth, I don't get out to the bookstore as much as I used to, so don't see many of the covers that other people do. I think a lot of the work in the science fiction and fantasy fields can be repetitive, but I marvel at how original and creative artists can be reinterpreting the same old subject matter. After being in the business for around 30 years now, it's a constant challenge for me to come up with different ideas and approaches to things it seems I've done a thousand times before. I'm on an illustrator's mailing list that includes about 80 science fiction & fantasy illustrators. There's quite a variety of work posted and a tremendous amount of talent represented. I'm always amazed at the versatility and creativity of these artists, both old and new, both digital and traditional.
Now a couple of questions for your Italian fans of FantasyMagazine:
Is there any Italian artist that you know better and like?
Aside from the the old masters, I'm sad to say that I'm not familiar with any Italian artists.
Have you ever been to Italy? Would you like to come and visit us?
No, I've never been to Italy. And yes, I'd love to visit Italy one day. My wife, Sharon, is a school teacher who teaches ancient Rome. She'd love to visit Italy as well.
Visit the Gallery with a few examples of Clyde Caldwell works: www.fantasymagazine.it/gallerie/134/