Today, I'm very happy to be able to release the following Q&A with Bill Sanderson, who studied Illustration and Graphic Design from 1966 at the West of England College of Art and first taught art at a school in London while establishing his freelance work. His early commissions were editorial, for The Times, Time Out and the Radio Times. In the late 1970s he added advertising and publishing to his portfolio. He is part of a talented generation that matured in the 1970’s and has carried on working in much the same way to the present. There is a generous selection of his work on his own website that can be viewed by clicking here. In 2005 he won an award for book cover design from the V&A. His book work includes a series of Penguin covers for the novels of Anthony Burgess in the 1980s, Harry Harrison and Felix Dennis. Now, early May his art will be seen in the upcoming The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.
The Interview with Bill Sanderson
TL: You have been asked to illustrate the new Tolkien book 'The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun' -how do you feel about that?
BS: My English teacher at school read his class the first chapter of 'The Hobbit' when I was about thirteen, my first introduction to Tolkien. We were all enraptured, and it's an honour to do these pictures after all these years.
TL: Did you ever read Tolkien before?
BS: After the experience described above I immediately read and enjoyed 'The Hobbit' but admit that I couldn't make any progress with the 'Lord of the Rings' for many years. Eventually I read all the books, and then read them aloud to my son when he was small. I haven't read them since then.
TL: Will you also be making a cover images? And a symbol for the deluxe and leather bound edition?
BS: I drew a cover image but I believe a photograph (see Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun FAQ for more info) is going to be used instead. I have drawn a few small typographic devices which will probably be used throughout the text, as well as the main illustrations.
TL: Will your illustrations be in black and white or also have color?
BS: Just black and white: it suits the medium.
TL: While you have won great prizes in the past, most Tolkien fans will not have heard of you. Do you have great expectations for this new Tolkien book?
BS: The Norse legends are good, strong stories and this one is no exception. Let's hope it catches people's imagination.
TL: Do you think we can expect some more illustrations by you in the future? But for Middle-earth related books?
BS: I certainly wouldn't mind being commissioned but we'll have to see what the reaction is to this book first.
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