Wayne Barlowe is an American science fiction and fantasy writer and painter. He has painted over 300 book and magazine covers and illustrations for many major book publishers, as well as Life magazine, Time, and Newsweek.He is well known for his realistic paintings of surreal alien (or fantastic) life. His Barlowe’s Guides to extraterrestrials and to fantasy are his interpretations of specific creatures and beings from well-known science fiction and fantasy literature. His Inferno is an interpretation of the demonology contained in the Grimoire of Honorius.
Barlowe also worked as a concept artist on HELLBOY, HELLBOY 2, PACIFIC RIM and BLADE 2.
How were you introduced to GdT’s work?
I pretty much became aware of GDT’s work when I signed on for BLADE2.
How were you first approached to work with GdT?
Honestly, it was a while back so my answer may not be entirely accurate. But, I believe GDT (or one of his staff) reached out to me via my literary agent, Russell Galen.
Favorite GdT project/movie etc.,?
Well, this is, of course very subjective but I’m sure I’m not alone in my incredibly high regards for PAN’S LABYRINTH. To me, it is th epurest measure of GDT and what he is all about. An utterly brilliant film — I only wish I’d had a hand in it!
What are you working on now?
I’m doing a lot of personal artwork — Hell images, in particular – as well as writing. I’m working on two screenplays which are in development and also continuing to write my second novel, a follow-up to GOD’S DEMON.
What did you contribute to the projects that you worked on while with GdT?
I’ve worked with GDT on six films: BLADE2, HELLBOY 1 & 2, THE HOBBIT, ATMOM and PACIFIC RIM. In order and amongst many other elements, I worked with GDT to develop the Reapers, various autopsies, Sammael, Abe Sapien, the Troll Market creatures, various characters for Middle-earth, Cthulu, the Old Ones, the Old One’s city, Shoggoths, Knifehead, Bladehead, various other kaiju and the Precursors.
What is it like working with GdT?
It’s always a blast working with GDT. We understand each other and each other’s vocabulary. He is very articulate about what he wants to see and how he wants things to work — his vision is pure. That makes my job a lot easier and more fun. There’re very few wasted directions, very few paths that aren’t there for a reason. When the phone rings and it’s GDT, I know I’m in for a wild challenge.
You’ve worked on various projects from Avatar ,Harry Potter,Hellboy,PacRim etc., Do you enjoy conceptual work?
Yep. It’s undeniably rewarding seeing something you labored over on the screen, especially as vividly as Jim Cameron or GDT bring them to life. I love the challenges that are presented. The design challenges aren’t simply aesthetic problems. One has to factor in practical aspects such as movement, costume manufacture, etc. — all within the framework of the director’s needs and the parameters of a script. I’d say I get notes on less than half of the gigs. On the other hand, I insist on reading the source script so those serve as their own notes.
What would be in your Cabinet of Curiosities? ManCave?
Tons of dinosaur fossils, all kinds of ancient Roman bits, old books, as much WW1 artifacts as I could handle, bronze statues of animals, Japanese armor, Chinese scholar’s rocks, lots of skulls, robots — you name it. Pretty much what I already have but a helluva lot more!
What do you enjoy more writing or creating art?
I’d have to say I enjoy doing artwork more than writing. I can paint or draw while I’m on the phone. It comes very automatically. Writing is a terrible labor for me — I need silence or a very select few albums on in the background. I also need time to gear up for writing and then I have reread what I’ve written ages ago. It’s all very tedious.
Are there Pros and Cons? do you prefer one or the other?
They both compliment each other. When I write, I’m very much attuned to the visual — the writing makes me want to paint. When I paint, I’m almost always doing narrative work which, in turn, makes me want to write. So, it’s a bit confusing and frustrating sometimes.
What was it like working with all the other talented folks at BLEAK?
It was a sheer pleasure. GDT picks amazing people to rub elbows with. The camaraderie is undeniable. As is the talent.