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Nigel Suckling

I came to Paper Tiger in its second incarnation. The first was very much shaped by Roger Dean and his brother Martyn because the whole thing basically sprang from the success of Roger's self-published book Visions in the early 1970s. When I began to write for the company in 1984 it was just emerging from an acrimonious divorce in which Roger's business partner Hubert Schaafsma got custody of the company and Roger had moved on. I went along with the situation as I found it and the third book I did was with Martyn. Hmmm . . . it's a long story. Whatever the politics, the great thing about the books we produced over the next dozen years or so is that they inspired many people with notions of more interesting realities than the everyday world has to offer, yet which are true enough in their own way because life is an ongoing adventure full of angels, demons and all kinds of entities in between. They are the symbolic language we use to work out our lives. And they all become terribly real in times of crisis.

The great thing about these books is that each one was very individual. Not just because of the many different artists but almost each time there was a different designer, hands-on editor and so on. There was always some pressure from the publisher to come up with a consistent format but the chaotic conditions and speed with which they were put together meant that in practice each one took its own shape.

Valquira. Click if you'd like to see her walking.

After the third incarnation of Paper Tiger, with their wonderful rescue by Collins & Brown in 1997, I was mainly involved with Boris & Julie titles, as you can see from the chronological list below, though we slipped through a few titles that had been brewing as the old company went down the shute.

The artists I interviewed for Paper Tiger over the years covered a vast range of fantasy from barbarian heroes to Arthurian knights, spacemen, astral travellers and beyond. What these artists share are visions of other realities, realms of possibility that often overlap with each other and the everyday world in surprising ways. After some dilemma about the order, the simplest thing seemed to start with the most recent books and work back in time. Eventually I hope to get around to doing a little feature on most titles, but the only three so far on this page are Bob Eggleton's Greetings from Earth (which won us a joint Hugo in 2001 for the best non-fiction book of the year), Rodney Matthews' Countdown to Millennium and Jurgen Ziewe's New Territories.

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ULTIMATE COLLECTION
2005
Artists: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell


Visit the Boris & Julie website

Ultimate Collection cover

For this book I again visited Boris and Julie at home in Pennsylvania.


FANTASY WORKSHOP
2003
Artists: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell


Visit the Boris & Julie website

Fantasy Workshop cover

With this book I finally got to meet Boris and Julie face to face by visiting them in Pennsylvania for an in-depth look at how they create their pictures. Some pictures even took shape while I was there so the book contains a wealth of handy tips for budding artists, plus insights that enable anyone to appreciate their art better. The best book we've done together so far I reckon!

SUPERHEROES
2003
Artists: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell


Visit the Boris & Julie website
Superheroes cover

A repackaging of Titans (see below). Fans of the X-Men movies should enjoy Boris and Julie's interpretations of the main characters, commissioned from them by Marvel for trading cards and other media. But the book also covers many other comic-book champions, including Hulk.

TWIN VISIONS
2002
Artists: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell


Visit the Boris & Julie website
Twin Visions cover

This collection includes early work by both artists to show how their techniques have evolved. There is also a mass of new material previously unpublished in book form so seasoned collectors of their work need have no fear of finding any repetition here.

SKETCHBOOK
2001
Artists: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell


Visit the Boris & Julie website
Sketchbook cover

As the cover blurb says: 'Sketchbook takes the reader into the privacy of [Boris and Julie's] studio to see the drawings and colour sketches behind their more famous paintings'.

This book was great fun to do because of the variety of material. Personally I'm often as fond of sketches as finished paintings and drawings and this collection has a little bit of everything.

MIRAGE
2001
Artist: Boris Vallejo


Visit the Boris & Julie website
Mirage cover

I can't claim to have contributed much to this collection of Boris's erotic art as it is basically a new edition of an old favourite. As everyone felt it needed a fresh text, I wrote a kind of extended introduction while Boris supplied quotes to go with each picture. He also added a few new paintings, some of which were excluded originally for being a shade too risky.

Judge for yourselves. The cover is one of my favourite paintings by Boris, showing a sea goddess unleashing monsters from the deep.

TITANS
2000
Artists: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell


Visit the Boris & Julie website
Titans cover

This is the complete collection of Boris and Julie's comic superhero paintings. Most were commissioned by Marvel for trading cards, but there are also a few for other publishers and purposes.


It's also the first time their work has been presented side by side in a book so their styles and approaches can be directly compared. If you have a copy, try covering the captions and guessing.

GREETINGS FROM EARTH
2000
Artist: Bob Eggleton


Winner of the HUGO AWARD 2001 for 'Best Related Book' i.e. non-fiction. See Bob's website HERE for details.

CLICK COVER TO SEE MORE

This is the second collection of Bob's work I've had the pleasure to write for, and the third book we've worked on together.

We've become good friends and it is always a treat to see his new paintings. Turner and Constable are his heroes and it shows in his vigorous brushwork. Often he just throws away the brush and paints with a palette knife.

Click on the cover for a sample of pictures.

DREAMS
1999
Artist: Boris Vallejo


Visit the Boris Vallejo website
Boris Vallejo's Dreams cover

For those few fantasy fans not in the know, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell are married and share a studio as well as their lives. In fact they are very rarely apart, it's a happy symbiosis.

Boris himself can only be described as a phenomenon because he has made his own rules. And they work, type his name into your search engine and see how many entries come up.

SOFT AS STEEL
1999
Artist: Julie Bell


Visit the Julie Bell website
Soft as Steel cover

When Julie first appeared on the scene many people assumed Boris was painting her pictures for her, but she's simply a very fast and passionate learner. She is, Boris says, the most determined person he's ever met and will achieve anything she sets her mind on.

This was the second collection of her work I was involved with, or third if you count her portfolio, and during all of them she totally disproved the idea that all artists are temperamental.

COUNTDOWN TO MILLENNIUM
1997
Artist: Rodney Matthews


Visit the Rodney Matthews website
Countdown to Millennium cover

Rodney Matthews is the friend who introduced me to Paper Tiger back in the 80s when I used to ride a Triumph Bonneville and he used to drive a Lotus or two. Given the general drift of our other interests it used to puzzle people, but we all need some harmless vice to keep from getting too self-righteous.


For Rodney's first book I stayed with him for a week while his family left home. It's a habit we continued (though with later books the family were around but just kept out of the way).

NEW TERRITORIES
1997
Artist: Jurgen Ziewe


Visit the Jurgen Ziewe website
New Territories cover

This was the first book I wrote on a computer (having previously been an old-fashioned typewriter man) so it was poetic that it should be about computer art. Jurgen actually began as an abstract painter covering vast canvases with very 3 D, Kandinsky-ish swirls of colour, but sadly found he was the only one who really enjoyed them.


His computer art has proved much more popular and he has sold millions of posters through the major publishers. You're almost bound to know some of them, even if you're not familiar with his name.

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