Interview: Jamie Noble Frier, Science Fiction & Fantasy Artist

Desiccation ebook_image(300 pixels)
Today, I’m thrilled to welcome the super-talented artist Jamie Noble Frier to my blog. Many of you have already expressed admiration for the front cover he created for my novel Desiccation. It’s my belief that unless Indie authors are blessed with artistic talent, it’s a worthwhile investment to commission professionals to produce their book covers for them.

Jamie was such a delight to work with throughout the creative process: always communicative, courteous, and with a wonderful sense of humour. Armed with an excerpt from my novel, plus the request that he design a cover in the style of Amazing Stories Magazine in the 1960’s, he worked with impressive speed, completing the commission two weeks early to an exceptional standard.

Anyway, enough preamble from me. It’s interview time!



SP: What age were you when the Muse of arts captured you in her thrall, or were you just born brilliant?

JNF: I have always been interested in art. My grandfather painted landscapes with oils, my mum was very creative, and my brother would spend hours sketching his favourite characters from video games and TV shows. He still is very talented and needs to find time to do it (if you’re reading this Bro!)… Mum is retired now and has found time to paint and sketch and has even started an art club with her friends. So I would say I had a lot of creative influence when I was younger… I used to obsess over fantasy illustrations in books and quite often try to sketch them, so I would say that was my first venture into art. Born brilliant? I think only Mum would answer “yes” to that.

SP: When did you decide to make a career out of your art and how did people around you respond to your choice?

JNF: I think I decided I would be a monster drawer when I was about 3… then life got in the way and you get to a point and think that’s not a real job, not for me anyway — you have to be pretty lucky to get a job like that. You don’t. To get there, you just have to work really really hard with what you do. It’s the same with anything, football, music, whatever — you need to get obsessed with doing it, learning it, enjoying it. I’m not sure if natural talent is a thing to be honest, I’ve always thought you’re just born with a certain level of tolerance/patience for making mistakes and if you enjoy the subject enough, you’ll work through to get better. That’s the only difference in people, I feel like you could do anything; you just need to work really hard. So after managing a restaurant for several years I thought painting pizzas on chalk boards just wasn’t cutting it and I had to aim for what I wanted to do and got back into art in a big way. I quit my job and did a course in video game production, but pretty much spent the whole year drawing and learning digital art programs. My girlfriend (now wife) was super supportive. She could see my frustration in my day job and, considering she hadn’t seen much of my drawing, had incredible faith in me. I wouldn’t have had the guts to do it without the support network that quickly formed around me. In that respect I was really lucky.

SP: Why did you decide to specialise in science fiction and fantasy art?

JNF: I specialised in sci-fi/fantasy because I was desperate to do it. It had been my obsession since I was a kid, so everything I did forced its way towards that genre. Whenever I had to try a new technique, instead of drawing a regular landscape, I’d make sure there was a dragon flying overhead. If it was a portrait, the guy would probably be wearing armour… In that way it worked pretty well for learning, too, as you had to extend your imagination a little, as well as have pictorial references to help. I can’t think of the first image I saw that switched me onto the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but I do remember carrying several wargaming books around everywhere with me that were illustrated by Geoff Taylor and Ian Miller among other folks.

SP: What else do you illustrate other than book covers?

JNF: As well as book covers, I illustrate board games, album covers, articles for magazines and I cut my teeth in the video game industry when I started. I also do a lot of stuff for personal enjoyment or commissions people want for their walls/desks, I’m pretty much happy as long as I’m busy!

SP: Do you feel a constant urge to sketch and paint outside of your working day and, if so, do you use this time to diversify in your art?

JNF: I do find the urge, yes! As any 30 something year old, I might have a mild video game problem, but since I’ve been working creatively the battle for my spare time has been consistently won by painting (digitally). Sometimes I’ll have a free day and think, awesome, time to nerd out and play some games, then I switch off after 5 minutes and end up drawing a portrait… There always feels like there’s so much to do/try/experience with art, I don’t think I’ll ever feel satisfied. That’s why I love fantasy and sci-fi. You can just launch Photoshop and see where your imagination takes you. In terms of diversifying, I do a lot of regular portraits of people, which is something quite unlikely to pop up at work. I find it relaxing and comforting. It’s also so useful to get more and more experience with the human form.

SP: Are you good at organising your time, or do you need reminding to eat, sleep, take the pup for a walk, or do your paperwork?

JNF: The pup is a creature of routine, so she keeps me in check. It’s a perfect bond really. She always comes and gives me a nudge and gets me up, which is great. I worked for about a year on my own before we got her and it starts to wear a bit on the soul. So it’s great to have company, although I think she’s bored of me. Everyone else gets a better reception when they see her! I forget to do the necessaries a lot — I have to make sure I drink water as I might start the day with a coffee and then forget anything after that.

SP: Who or what have been the main inspirations behind your art in the past, or continue to inspire you in the present?

JNF: As for artists, the names I mentioned before as well as some real digital masters like Daarken and Dave Rapoza have been really inspiring. I Feng Zhu runs an awesome series of tutorial on YouTube, he’s inspiring both artistically and in terms of what he’s given back to the art community for free. If I ever have time, I’m flying out to his school of design in Singapore. I think my family — and now extended family since I’ve been married — are inspirations in life. It’s much easier when you have a whole load of people rooting for you.

SP: What interests do you have outside of art?

JNF: Outside of art, my time is consumed by a hungry, playful puppy, binge watching TV-series with my wife and playing board games. I’ve become a real addict in the past few years and it’s been really awesome to fall into working on board games, too. I would say that is my main “hobby” these days.

SP: This question is a bit of a cliché, but where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

JNF: Ten years from now I imagine I’ll be trying to force my children to play board games with me that are far too complex for their age. I hope that I will have given a little back of what I have taken from the online arts community; I’ve just started to try and record some of my own tutorials of me working. I’m not fussed about being particularly rich. I just want to be comfortable and enjoy every day like I do right now. I hope to have some recognition. I guess, I’d value that over a skyscraper and a private plane…

SP: Thank you so much, Jamie, for guesting on my blog. Fabulous answers to the questions and, I’m sure that everyone will agree, you’re an inspiration and a real star!

  Here are the links to Jamie’s Website and Facebook Page, where you’ll find a samples of his work, as well as his contact details.

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. When stuck for words, she sketches or paints instead. She's into nature conservation, sustainability, gardening, dogs, natural health, and reading. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

29 thoughts on “Interview: Jamie Noble Frier, Science Fiction & Fantasy Artist”

  1. Jamie has done 2 of my book covers and he is a genius. I don’t know how he takes my blathering vision and produces a cover even better than my imagination. Funny, talented, considerate, patient (although I can hear the eye rolls all the way across the pond, in Ohio), Jamie is a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend, but leave enough time to work on my covers, please.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, another Jamie fan! I know what you mean about him producing a cover even better than one’s imagination. I can see we’ll be competing for his time, Angel. I have mentioned to him on passing my vision for my next novel’s cover!


  2. You gotta love his passion! That really does come across in the interview. I’ve been in contact with Jamie and very much looking forward to seeing what he creates for a new cover of my book. That is indeed in thanks to you Sarah! Had it not been for Jamie’s work on Desiccation I would still be worrying about finding an artist, especially one so understanding and patient!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he creates for your new cover, too! As for that passion … it’s infectious! I need to reflect upon it every time I get one of my murky dismal days.


    1. You know, Kim, I had this dream before publishing Desiccation. It was that everybody was saying, “Wonderful cover. Shame about the book!” Jamie’s art is just fantastic and I truly hoped my novel would do it justice.
      That’s interesting about the UK English being challenging. I suppose, in particular, some of the London slang that Joe and his mates use, might be a bit mystifying to US readers. One of my beta readers was American. She did point out a few words and expressions that were unfamiliar to her, or totally bemusing. I cut out some of them, or changed them. There are so many words that are different. For instance, we often call knitted sweaters “jumpers” but in the US they’re some kind of tunic.
      I’m a little undecided about what age reader I should aim this book at. At the moment I’ve got it under the category YA/teenage, science fiction, and urban fantasy, readers aged 14+. But then I look at the language and think that just because I was reading adult fiction from about the age of 11, that doesn’t mean people are these days. I think that the majority of the people who’ve bought my book so far, are aged 40+. In fact, a man of 90 told me yesterday that he’s reading it and really enjoying it, and has been recommending it to all of his friends!


      1. I can see its a good story but I will have ro read during the day instead of bestime reading. This way I am more alert. I read that most adults do read YA books, I do I guess the world as it is people prefer a little innocence.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I usually fall asleep reading if it’s near to bedtime, unless it’s a high-octane thriller. My favourite time to read is if everyone has gone out and I’m eating my breakfast or lunch on my own. Then I really concentrate.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I read in loo of watching TV. I ‘ve done that since a teenager. The first piece of furniture I brought was $5 light to snap over my headboard so I could read and turn off the light when I doze off. I would get in so much trouble for staying up all night reading. Now the steroids do that but my concentration doesn’t always stay up with me.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I used to get into trouble at boarding school for reading banned books with a torch under the bedclothes after lights-out time. Once the housemistress took pity on me and didn’t confiscate the “historical bodice ripper” I was reading, because I pleaded with her that it was the last book in a series of 6 and it would be the most frustrating thing in the world if I couldn’t find out what happened to the heroine. I got a detention, but was allowed to keep the book!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I really was impressed with the artist, Sarah. I have a son named Jamie so already liked his name. The way he developed art from very young to taking specific courses in this genre took time, talent and perseverance. Your cover is fantastic and thank you for introducing him to us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Robin, such perseverance is such an inspiration. There’s been times in my life when I’ve given up too easily at the first obstacle. Not so with my writing, though. I just wish that I’d started it younger. It’s so good for Jamie that he’s still young and earning a name for himself doing something that he loves.


    1. My daughter left a comment on Facebook, where I shared the post. It said, “He’s handsome!” You must frame that, too 😉 I’m so pleased that you’re pleased with the comments here, and no doubt there will be more to follow.


  4. Wonderful interview Sarah, loved your questions! Hi Jamie, it’s a pleasure to meet you, although thanks to Sarah, I already follow your Facebook Page 🙂 I love your photo, just gorgeous. The puppy I meant…well, okay, I’ll leave it at that 😉 Seriously Jamie, you are an amazingly talented artist. With your love of board games you would get on well with my boys (men, sorry!), it’s something we love to do when we’re all together. I really enjoyed reading about your pursuit of your chosen career, it’s never easy is it when you’re in the arts, whichever form it takes. My middle son, 27, is a self taught musician (electric guitar) and I you are so right about the hard work and having to really, really want something to achieve it. Natural talent is one thing (and I’m sure your mum would say you have bucket loads, as I do about my boy, naturally!), but yes, it really does come down to sheer tenacity and not giving up, even when you feel like it. I absolutely love the cover you did for Desiccation, but also knowing that you are such a pleasure to work with will bring great word-of-mouth business your way, I’m sure. I wish you every success. And when I need a book cover, I know where to come! Thank you again Sarah and Jamie. ~ Sherri 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We could all have a board game fest…what fun that would be! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend dearest Sarah, I’ll catch up with you in the week ❤ xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds like an idea, although my son would want to stick to fantasy role playing games, which I used to play at one time as well. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Scrabble fanatic. Used to play chess quite a lot, too, but don’t have any regular partners for this. I also love “pick-up sticks” (big baby, I know), and the card game “cheat”, in which I get very noisy. Games of chess and a variation on the game of cheat feature in my next book. When writing those two scenes, I was laughing out loud.
        Let’s hope my readers do so as well!
        My weekend is okay, apart from those silly nitrogen-zapped spider-bites on my ankles are half-killing me.
        Hope you are having a lovely restful weekend, dearest Sherri xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I enjoy chess, haven’t played it for ages! Oh those darn bites, so sorry to hear it. Hope relief for you soon dearest Sarah. Take care of yourself, and we’ll catch up in the week. I’m going to get going with your book 🙂 xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hope you enjoy it 🙂 The bites aren’t so painful today. I think they reached crisis point yesterday evening, just when I was having to sing. Was standing on one leg, propping myself up on the music desk on my knuckles to stop me tipping over. Felt really faint — an ailing singing stork I was. Would have liked wings to fly away and hide in my nest! xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m sure I will Sarah 🙂 Oh no, you poor ailing singing stork! I hope you spent a good long time in your nest and are feeling much improved today… ❤ xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so great; I’m still on the fence about self-publishing but Jamie’s work is amazing (and he did a great job with Dessication). I have another artist I’ve been looking at whose work is more abstract, but I sure would love to see what Jamie would do with my starring monster… Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s fabulous to work with and has a real gift for creating a cover that interprets a scene just as the author imagined it, and on top of this he adds an extra something … magic dust, maybe! I think that Jamie would do great things with your starring monster.

      Liked by 1 person

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