by Bob Eggleton

Paper Tiger



Greetings from Earth
Cover by Bob Eggleton

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

While multiple Hugo Award-winner Bob Eggleton's previous collection, Alien Horizons focused on his science fictional art, with only a dozen pages dedicated to his fantasy artwork, Greetings from Earth reverses the focus, illuminating Eggleton's fantasy and horror work, although still including several paintings which incorporate science fictional settings.

The reproduction of the paintings is good enough that in many of them, you can see the brush strokes and canvass.  This gives the reader a better feel for Eggleton's technique than just reading the accompanying text by Nigel Suckling.  Eggleton displays more than just a variety of techniques in Greetings from Earth, he also displays the use of a wide variety of media.  Although most of his finished work as depicted in Greetings from Earth appears to be acrylics, there are also representatives of watercolors, pastels, oils, pencil, ink, charcoal, and chalk.

Nigel Suckling's accompanying text provides a context for much of Eggleton's work, giving the reader and indication of the course of Eggleton's career and how he uses painting for his own enjoyment.  To add to this, the book is filled with short descriptions of the various paintings in which Eggleton describes what he was trying to do beyond just the title and technique of the painting.

Many of the art books published by Paper Tiger include indexes to allow reader to quickly locate their favorite paintings.  Unfortunately, Greetings from Earth does not include such an index, which means that although a reader can't quickly find Eggleton's cover for Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky (p.66), there is more of a chance the reader will happen across a previously unknown work, such as "The Spirit of Science Fiction" created as a private work (pp.64-65), which captures a strong feeling of the work of Chesley Bonestell.

Perhaps some of the most evocative paintings in Greetings from Earth are not the fantasy or science fiction art, but a series of watercolors Eggleton includes of Hawaiian landscapes.  Some of these, most notable "Volcano II, Hawaii" (p.46) have colors which jump out of the page in a way not generally associated with watercolors.  Their inclusion also shows what Eggleton is capable of doing when he elects to stray from the genres for which he is best known.  Furthermore, when the color and composition of these watercolors is compared to the more fantastic work in the book, it shows where Eggleton gets some of his inspiration.

Greetings from Earth is a fantastic introduction to the works of Bob Eggleton.  It collects numerous book covers he has done with other, perhaps less well known, paintings and presents them in clear reproduction to allow the reader to enjoy them and search for details which are often missing from the painting as reproduced on a cover.  The text sheds light on both Eggleton and his work in a manner which makes the paintings even more enjoyable, especially to readers who may not have a full understanding of art.

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