As an illustrator for both book covers and games, Sam Flegal specializes in painting strange scenes of epic fantasy and graphic horror. He describes his art as “stylized realism,” portraying fantastical things in a comic book-like graphic manner, but with an eye towards real life. Sam’s preferred medium is oil paint.
Sam first joined us at the 2014 Art Show and since then we've been fortunate to have him with us most years. If you make it to JordanCon, stop by the show and check out his wonderful work.
How long have you considered yourself an artist?
I've been drawing since I was 3 years old. Growing up I always thought of myself as an artist. I eventually went to college for art, and got my degree in Graphic Design. At some point along the way I became a designer and only distantly identified myself as an artist. In 2008 I came to the realization that my soul would shrivel and die if I didn't get back into to art, so I did. Now I'm an artist and an illustrator, and will be for life.
What was the subject and title of the first piece of art you ever sold?
It was a drawing I did for Chaosium. [Ed: A book and game publisher; find them at http://catalog.chaosium.com/] It was a knight calling on the spirit of the raven to bless his armor before battle. I very cleverly named the piece "Knight Magic." I sold it to April Moore at Hypericon in 2009.
How did you first discover art, or that you wanted to create art yourself?
My dad's comic collection was my first exposure to art. My parents were very supportive, and got me lots of art classes and the like. My mom is an editor and worked with illustrators. She would make sure I got to meet them. As far as that moment when I knew I wanted to create art, I can't pinpoint it. I'm a storyteller, and I've always wanted to tell stories through pictures.
What's the one thing you most enjoy about attending conventions?
One of the great joys of being an artist is meeting fans and seeing people fall in love with your art. It's an amazing rush to realize that something you created by hand is so appreciated by another person. It's also one of the few fields I know of where people buy things from you, and then act like you did them a favor by letting them buy it from you. It is awesome!
What do you see as the primary link between writing and art?
Good art inspires people to write. Good writing inspires people to make art. It’s the same with music, really. For me the special link between writing and art is storytelling. It is innate to all cultures to tell stories and make art and music about them. So I guess the main link is humanity.