The cover of “Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices),” the prequel to “The Mortal Instrument” series by author Cassandra Clare, was illustrated by fantasy illustrator Cliff Nielson.
Fantasy and science fiction illustrator Cliff Nielson and photographer/prop designer Lisa Crockatt will give a free guest artist lecture this Friday in p the Fine Arts building, Room 101 at noon. The artists will give a presentation on their work as well as career advice for student artists.
Nielson has worked on projects for Marvel Comics, “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and the “X Files” franchises. His most recent work can be found in Cassandra Clare‘s book series, “Mortal Instruments.”
He trained in Art Center College of Design in Pasadena as both a traditional and digital artist, but eventually settled for working in digital media due to its flexibility in making corrections and potential for experimentation.
“Back in the old days, it was very rare to get a revision with oil painting,” Nielson said. “If you can imagine how difficult it would be to change someone’s clothes or paint over a person’s head, you would practically be starting over using the traditional medium.”
The cover of”Star Trek: Troublesome Minds” by Dave Galanter, was illustrated by Cliff Nielson.
He has illustrated over 500 books, according to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, but he said he has created over 2,000 images. He added one of his friends calls the bookstore Barnes & Nobel, “Barnes & Nielson” due to the high number of books he has illustrated which are found in the bookstore.
“I have 10 to 20 different projects that I am juggling at a time in different phases,” Nielson said. “From the the sketch phase to the preliminary to the revision phase.”
Nielson said that he has had a lot of dream projects offered to him, including covers for books he read while in middle school such as “Chronicles of Narnia.”
“I have been really lucky, I have had a lot of good ones,” he said.
Nielson’s advise to aspiring illustrators is to study motion graphics or animation if they want doors to open in their career.
“My advise for any illustrators graduating is to study motion, whether that be motion graphics or animation,” Nielson concluded. “There will always be a need for static images, but the cutting edge thing will be motion incorporated in illustration. We will see more of that in illustration because digital allows it.”