One of my most cherished annual purchases is the Spectrum anthology of Contemporary Fantastic Art, which collects some of the finest SF, fantasy, and comic art created every year. It’s a gorgeous volume that’s well worth a leisurely browse on a Sunday morning.
Volume 23, edited by John Fleskes, was released last November. We’ve previously covered Spectrum 20, with a Donato Giancola cover that’s a companion piece to his Red Sonja cover for Black Gate 15, and Spectrum 16, which contained Malcolm McClinton’s cover to Black Gate 13.
I know that Spectrum is unique in celebrating the best fantastic art every year, but I also knew — at least theoretically — that there had to be other illustration anthologies out there. But it was still a surprise to stumble on a copy of 3×3 Illustration Annual #13 in the magazine rack at Barnes & Noble last week. It’s a thick magazine printed on heavy stock, 400 pages crammed full of full color art. And such art!
Cover by Alice Wellinger
Spectrum is filled, for the most part, which artists I’m generally familiar with, but the pages of 3×3 are covered with creators who are almost wholly new to me.
So what’s the magazine about? According to the website, 3×3 is devoted to the art of contemporary illustration, and the Illustration Annual collects the winners from three different illustration shows. It includes entries from all over the world and, if you fan of art in any form, it’s a treasure trove of enticing, beautiful, head-scratching, and marvelously narrative art.
Dominick Saponaro’s Destroyermen covers (click for bigger version)
I found this brief description of the Annual on the website:
Each year 3×3 Magazine assembles top juries for each of its three shows: professional, student and children’s books. Our international panel of judges vote independently and as a result the 3×3 show is one of the most unbiased juried competitions for illustration. And we’re the only truly international competition. Available in both print and digital editions.
Also on the website — the complete contents of the Illustration Annual in an Online Gallery. The online versions are smaller than the full-page treatment most of the winners receive in the print edition, but it’s one way to experience the publication if you can’t afford (or can’t find a copy of) the print version.
Annual No.13 contains both Winners and Honorable Mentions for each of the various categories:
Textiles + Patterns
Here’s a few samples taken from the magazine. Enjoy.
A closer look at Dominick Saponaro
3×3 Annual No.13 is published by Artisanal Media LLC. It doesn’t list an editor, but the Show Chair is James Yang. It is available as a printed book, a PDF, and an eBook. It is 400 pages in magazine format, full color throughout, priced at $25. Get more details at the website, and see the complete contents at the Online Gallery.