Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Haunt of Herndon

Today we check in with SGT. JANUS cover artist, the shockingly cool and talented Jeff Herndon. You can check out his work at and

Jim Beard: Jeff, what's your secret origin as an artist?

Jeff Herndon: There really isn't much of a secret origin in my artistic roots. My Mom had a talent for drawing and my Father, who can't draw a straight line with a ruler is a very creative person none the less. I grew up drawing all the time. I wanted to be Drew Struzan and hang out with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Drawing was such a huge part of my childhood that I remember when I was about to fail math in the seventh grade. My parents took my art supplies away. I passed the next math test, brought my grade up and got my supplies back. I went through such withdrawals was like someone being forced to quit smoking cold turkey. So drawing was a big deal from a very young age. My parents have always encouraged me to pursue my passion. Many artists don't have the support system I have, I am blessed to always be surrounded by people who believe in me.

Jim: What medium do you most prefer to work in?

Jeff: I don't really have a preferred medium. I was fortunate to have been taught by an artist that encouraged me to become versatile in many mediums. I like to work digitally, because it's fast. But I'm rarely satisfied with digital results. There are some fantastic digital artists out there and I love what they do...I just don't think it's my forte. I enjoy watercolor, it makes sense to me. Right now I'm focusing on becoming a better oil painter. I have such respect for the great oil painters out there past and present. At the end of the day though, nothing feels more natural than a pencil on paper. It's simple and effective. And every once in a while I can surprise myself with it.

Jim: What medium did you do the Sgt. Janus cover in? And how long did it take?

Jeff: I painted the Sgt Janus cover digitally. At the time I had a full plate with commissions and given that I still have a full time job and can only paint at night and on the weekends, being smart with my time and meeting deadlines is of the highest importance. I probably spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 hours on the painting. Unlike most of my digital work, I was very pleased with the finished product.

Jim: What were your initial thoughts about the project? How do you feel it went, all together?

Jeff: I was interested in the project from the get go. I enjoyed the subject matter and the time period. I think that's what makes the cover a successful one, I enjoyed it. It's always fun to design and paint a pulp cover. I was never much for painting wine bottles and grapes. I like heroes, villains and dames.

Jim: Do you like the spooky stuff most of all when it comes to art? If so, why is that?

Jeff: I enjoy spooky subject matter. I enjoy lots of genres actually, but often times I can really dig into an image that's spooky or slightly disturbing. The key is I'm laughing the whole time I'm doing it. I've never been a really rebellious person. I didn't get in trouble much, I don't wear all back and smoke cigarettes. From the outside I look like a regular joe. But when I get to paint something that's a bit off kilter, that's when I get to rebel. That's when I get to vent a bit. That's when I get to show people that I'm a bit different. It has nothing to do with how I dress or how I act. I get to show it in a pretty unique way and hopefully I'm entertaining my audience at the same time.

Jim: If asked to do a cover for a Sgt. Janus sequel, would you do it?

Jeff: Of course I'd do a Sgt Janus sequel if I was asked. Being someone who aspires to be a full time illustrator, you never turn down work! But besides that fact, as I said before, I enjoy the characters, time period and the spooky nature. I would be proud to continue covering Sgt Janus.

Jim: Thanks, Jeff!

All content (c)Jim Beard 2012

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  1. Great interview, and was glad Jeff could show the progression of the painting. As an editor/publisher, he's one of those creators that is a pure joy to work with all the time.

    1. I think writers are going to start lining up to have Jeff cover them.

  2. So happy the shop is open!! Got some lovely things that sound great-thanks so much!