Interview: Tom Daly

How did you first come to discover the Barsoom books by Edgar Rice Burroughs?

When I was in Junior High School there was a small bookstore around the corner. They had a lot of the Ace/Ballantine paperbacks that had the marvelous Frank Frazetta covers—you just knew there was something wonderful inside!

What do you find appealing about the characters and milieu?

I love the vividness of the writing.

What sort of an influence do you think the Barsoom books have had on the development of fantasy & science fiction?

It formed a template that so many others have worked off of for developing new, complete but still recognizable fantasy worlds.

Who is your favorite character in the Barsoom canon? (And why?)

Lum Tar O! A really creepy entity; had the wits to survive hundreds of centuries as a disembodied spirit. And a really great villain name; just the name tells you all you need to know.

Tell us a bit about your illustration for the anthology. What’s happening in the scene?

I chose to illustrate a scene at the beginning of the story when Dan Lan Chee is trying to impress an attractive woman. But she cuts him down to size, and he realizes that she is right about him. That’s when he has a moment of insight that propels the rest of the story.

After reading the story, how did you decide which scene to illustrate?

Since L.E. Modesitt had created kind of a wonderful story about love and finding oneself, I wanted to pick a moment that didn’t involve swordplay. There were two moments like that, but the second one is towards the end of the story when he frees the ancient (but still beautiful) princess from her tomb. It’s a great moment but I wanted to have the art closer to the beginning of the story.

Also it’s a tranquil scene in a garden, I thought that might be a nice contrast to the energy and environments of a lot of the other stories in the book.

Was this a particularly challenging piece to create? If so, how?

I wanted to combine a word into the image. That was fun, but it took a few tries to make it work.

What artistic techniques did you employ to create this piece?

I used pen, brush and india ink. I thought about all the wonderful drawings that have been created for Burroughs’ work over the years in books and magazines. Most of them were done with these tools. I wanted to join that continuum.

Any new work of yours just out or forthcoming you’d like to mention, or anything else you’d like to add? 

I have a couple of things in the works, you can read about them as they progress (and see more art) at TomDalyArt.com/blog.