Posted: June 19, 2018
Vincent Sammy is an illustrator who has done the illustrations for SST Publishers edition of Gwendy’s Button Box as well as some illustrations that was seen in Jake’s room in The Dark Tower movie. I wanted to know a bit more about him and his work.
Lilja: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Vincent Sammy: I am a freelance illustrator specializing in the fields of horror, science fiction, and the macabre. I like to combine traditional media such as watercolor paint or pencil, with digital post production in Photoshop.
Publications for which I have provided artwork for include Interzone, Black Static, Something Wicked and Apex Magazine . I have also created cover artwork for publishers such as New Con Press, SST Publishers, Jurrasic London, Rosarium Publishers and Thunderstorm Books. I have been nominated for an “Artist of the Year” award by the “This Is Horror” Awards for 2012 and 2013 and was shortlisted for a BSFA award in 2015.
Some of my artwork has made appearances in movies such as CHRONICLE, TIGERHOUSE and Stephen King's THE DARK TOWER.
I have created my own publication called ECHO GEAR which is a mashup of various media such as sequential art, magazine layout, rpg games, codes and puzzles. I also like creating my own sci-fi props.
I currently reside in Cape Town, South Africa.
Lilja: Where can fans see your work?
Vincent Sammy: My artwork can be viewed on my website at www.karbonkay.wordpress.com. You can also find me on
Lilja: You did some drawings for The Dark Tower movie, where did you get your inspiration for them? The books?
Vincent Sammy: The illustrations that appeared in THE DARK TOWER movie were images that I had already created for my ECHO GEAR publication. A movie art procurer approached me about using them as he felt they tied in well with the visual look of the movie and imagery from the book.
Lilja: Did you do more than the one we see in the movie?
Vincent Sammy: There was one bird skull image and 2 tarot card illustrations used in the movie. I had created six tarot cards for ECHO GEAR as an add-on artifact, so there are 4 others that were not seen in the movie.
Lilja: You also illustrated the limited edition of Gwendy’s Button Box from SST Publications. How did that happen?
Vincent Sammy: I have had a long working relationship with the editor of SST PUBLICATIONS and have provided work for numerous books that they have published. When the editor asked me if I would like to work on this project I obviously jumped at the chance! These opportunities don't come along every day. It was a wonderful book to read and its content was ripe with imagery to be used. As there was already an illustrated version of it published I tried to avoid recreating the same imaginary, so as to provide any repeat buyer of the book with something new and different to look at.
More info here.
Lilja: How do you work then you illustrate a book like Gwendy’s Button Box?
Vincent Sammy: First thing I did was to read the book and make notes of possible imagery that I could use. Once I had an adequate list of possibilities, I narrowed it down and did rough pencil sketches for the publisher and authors to get an idea of where I was going. Once this was signed off, I set about creating the finished pencil sketches and then the watercolor paintings thereof. Once this stage was completed I scanned in the work and proceeded with post production in Photoshop. Then came the more daunting bit of setting up the files to the correct sizing and ensuring the layout corresponded with the text, titles and additional information. At this stage its a lot of going back and forth between me and the publisher to ensure that everything fits in its right place and looks 100% perfect.
Lilja: What is the hardest thing when it comes to illustrating books?
Vincent Sammy: I don't really see any of the aspects as being hard. I love the challenge of coming up with something that is as original as possible in its visual style and execution. Every book is a challenge to present something original and eye catching. I guess the part I dislike the most is the final dtp layout process and ensuring all elements are in the right color format and the text falls where it has to. Its especially critical with dust jackets for hardcover books.
Lilja: Are you a Stephen King fan and if so have you been for long?
Vincent Sammy: I am a fan of his work. Even the work he does outside of book writing like the episode of THE X-FILES 'Chinga' that he co-wrote with its creator and his cameo appearance in SONS OF ANARCHY as a 'cleaner' named Bachman. I probably started reading his books when I was a teenager and started to get really immersed in horror books.
Lilja: What is your favorite book of his?
Vincent Sammy: That would still be THE STAND. I loved the large cast of characters and their interactions as they came together to overcome a powerfull force such as Randall Flagg.
Lilja: If you could pick one of his books to illustrate, which would you pick and why?
Vincent Sammy: Picking just one to illustrate would be difficult as there are so many with rich characters and settings, but if pushed I would probably go with The Green Mile. I love the era it is set as well as the diverse characters that are all congregated in this prison setting ranging from all out sadistic criminals to a pure soul. It would make for great character imagery.