Artist Guest of Honour
DAVE CARSON DAVE CARSON was born in Northern Ireland in 1955. He first discovered the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft when he came across 'The Lurking Fear' in a 1960s issue of The Magazine of Horror. He was hooked for life and has since become one of the genre's most acclaimed and respected illustrators of the author's work. It was probably in the pages of that same digest magazine that he first saw the artwork of Virgil Finlay and his personal favourite, Lee Brown Coye.

As a teenager, his artistic training amounted to a single afternoon of art class at school per week. However, Dave resolved to teach himself whatever he needed to know. Living in a house that was never short of books, he would climb up into the attic where an eccentric uncle would store all types of old volumes bundled up in brown paper and tied with string. The budding artist used the flyleaf page of many an old encyclopaedia to draw upon.

It was not until 1978 that he began to take a more serious approach to his illustration work, developing his use of the pen and ink stipple technique. The following year he discovered The British Fantasy Society and soon he was being published in such magazines as Fantasy Tales, Whispers, Weirdbook, Nyctalops, Kadath, Fantasy Book, Ghosts and Scholars, Dark Horizons, Fear, Skeleton Crew, Interzone, Imagine, White Dwarf and many others. Through the BFS, Dave met many people who were to remain long-time friends and colleagues, including the late and much missed Karl Edward Wagner. Brian Lumley was also instrumental in giving the young artist support and encouragement, providing introductions to several of his portfolios.

Dave's iconic 1979 poster 'H.P. Lovecraft 1890-1937' is still selling to this day and was even reproduced in Fortean Times and The Observer's Review supplement to accompany a book review about Lovecraft. A further 100-copy print, 'H.P. Lovecraft Centenary 1890-1990' appeared in 1989. In 1981 he produced Lovecraft's Pantheon, a portfolio limited to just 100 numbered copies signed by the artist and Brian Lumley, who contributed the Introduction. Masters of Nightmare: A Portfolio was issued in a 300-copy edition in 1983 with an Introduction by Lumley and an Afterword by Wagner.

In the early 1980s Dave was approached by Lovecraft enthusiast Carl T. Ford to contribute artwork to a new small press magazine entitled Dagon. This not only led to a lasting friendship, but also to a working relationship that resulted in Ford releasing a portfolio of Dave's drawings, Haunters of the Dark and Other Lovecraftian Horrors, in 1987 under his Dagon Press imprint with an Introduction by Ramsey Campbell. It was followed in 1988 by The Reaper's Image, a 500-copy portfolio with another Introduction by Campbell.

Dagon magazine went on to gain huge respect in Lovecraftian circles for its professional presentation and its editor's obvious love of its subject. Dave feels that he produced some of his best work for the magazine, and it was a very productive period for the artist. Since moving away from London, he has tended to concentrate on digital art and his weird sculptures, which are highly prized by collectors of the outré.

Among the numerous books that Dave Carson's artwork has appeared in are: Shadows Over Innsmouth (with Jim Pitts and Martin McKenna), Tales Out of Innsmouth: New Stories of the Children of Dagon, Brian Lumley's Ghoul Warning, Mad Moon of Dreams and The Clock of Dreams, The Best Horror from Fantasy Tales, The Anthology of Fantasy & the Supernatural, the Dark Voices: The Pan Books of Horror series, The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana: A Guide to Lovecraftian Horror, the "Fighting Fantasy" role-playing book Beneath Nightmare Castle, Reader's Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos, Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, Digital Horror Painting Workshop and The Octopus Encyclopedia of Horror.

He also co-edited (with Stephen Jones) and illustrated H.P. Lovecraft's Book of Horror, and his artwork was featured in the documentary film The Eldritch Influence: The Life, Vision and Phenomena of H.P. Lovecraft.

Having redesigned and sculpted the statuette himself in the early 1980s, Dave Carson has received the British Fantasy Award for Best Artist on five occasions. He lives on the South Coast of England with his partner, Linda Krawecke.

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