To showcase the artistic ability of the people who work in our industry, every year we ask individuals to submit their original artwork for a chance to serve as the cover for our Greatest Creators section. This year, our staff picked “Canticle of the Sea” by Marty Jones, Illustrator, MJ Arts. PM360 spoke with Jones about the piece.

PM360: What was your inspiration behind this piece?

Marty Jones: Long ago, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, there was an organization called The Liturgical Arts Resource Center (LARC), which met at Marylhurst College, founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Joseph and Mary. I was a member of LARC when we had an art exhibition, and “Canticle” was based on Sirach 43 [the Book of Ecclesiasticus].

Can you describe the process behind creating it?

The passage from the Catholic Apocrypha spells out much of the images included such as “Look upon the rainbow, and bless Him who made it: exceedingly beautiful in its brightness” as well as “There are great and wonderful works: a variety of beasts, and of all living things, and the monstrous creatures of whales.” I added the idea of the colors of the rainbow traveling improbably far below the surface of the ocean. The marine life depicted were selected by color.

The original version was an acrylic painting that was far less complicated with fewer creatures. Since I don’t paint any more (too slow), I decided to do a digital version. I started drawing fish in September 2010 and changes show up every year after that. My “process” is that of fixing whatever I see that needs improvement.

What made you want to become an illustrator?

I don’t remember a time that I didn’t draw, but I began drawing “seriously” in high school and intended to become a Technical Illustrator. I generally don’t think of it as a “career” as much as a story of much of my life. I’m in my fifth iteration at this point.

Who are some of your personal favorite illustrators?

They are known as the illustrators of the Golden Age of Illustration: Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth through Norman Rockwell, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

What pieces are you currently working on?

When I ventured out on this illustrator gig, I wanted to illustrate adventure novels. I have the improbable goal of bringing them back. In 2019, I finished A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; it’s on my Amazon Author page.

I’m currently in the early stages of a Tarzan [public domain] book. It’s going to take a long time. I have a progressive, degenerative, neurological condition of unknown cause; one of the results is that I can no longer use a writing stick for drawing. I can still hold onto a mouse without shaking. The faces for the characters come from a 2.5-D software program, and the rest is digital painting. I refuse to submit.


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