Chesley Award Nomination Long List

Holy smokes! TWO of my covers made the Long list for a Chesley award this year! So thrilled to be amongst such AWESOME company and friends. The competition looks fierce so any consideration for nominations from ASFA members would be super appreciated!

You can check out the two categories I’ll be in here:

And the entire list of all categories for the Chesleys are here:

Wish me luck!

2019 UArts Illustration Thesis Exhibition

Kick ass poster by  Shane Baker

Kick ass poster by Shane Baker


Be sure to check out the the future of illustration!

In 2 weeks the University of the Arts senior Illustration ELY exhibition will be opening with a whole lot of stunning work by some amazing kids. Seriously, these guys are UBER talented. I can’t believe its been 4 years already! Stop on by if your in the area and be sure to check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

320 S Broad St Philadelphia

Show runs March 20th - April 7th (Reception March 24th 3-5PM)

New Work: The Light of All that Falls


My latest cover for Orbit books!

The Light of All That Falls. Book 3 of James Islington’s Licanius trilogy. I had a blast with this series! Feel free to check out a larger more detailed version over in my portfolio right here.

Once I get my hands on a few copies from the publisher I think I’ll put together a post on the project’s process.

Stay tuned!

Recommended: The Art of Adventure


Do not miss this show! Be sure to check out Greg Manchess’ Above The Timberline exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA this Fall/Winter.

Show runs November 18th - February 24th

I had the pleasure of taking in the show when it was up at the Society of Illustrators with my students and it was just amazing. Greg also has several planned events throughout the run including several lectures and painting demoes that look to be very informative and a whole lot of fun. Here’s a link where you can check out all the details.

In addition to Greg’s Timberline show there will also be what looks to be a very impressive Frank Schoonover exhibition featuring over 75 pieces as well.

Of course, there’s always the impressive collection of Rockwells that are on exhibit too.

If you’ve never been to the Rockwell Museum do yourself a favor and make the trip. Its an awesome museum in a beautiful area well worth the travel with some AMAZING art.


UArts Illustration Weekend Workshop

UArts Weekend Illustration Workshop - Dominick Saponaro.jpg

The University of the Arts Illustration program will be hosting a super cool alumni event next weekend on Saturday October 6th! Stop on by for some really great workshops, awesome artwork, & fun times. All with wine and cheese!

Official info blurb and relevant links below:

As part of UArts Weekend, the Illustration Program would like to invite you to an alumni wine and cheese reception on Saturday, October 6th from 1-2pm in the Richard C. von Hess Illustration Gallery located in the Anderson Building (333 South Broad). The gallery currently features an incredible show by Philadelphia-based illustrator Armando Veve (

UArts Weekend will take place on campus from October 5-7, 2018 and feature a variety of events and workshops. You can learn more about the activities and register for the weekend at

Click Here To Register For The Workshop

Nowa Fantastyka Magazine Covers

Dominick Saponaro - Nova Fantastyka Covers.jpg

Straight out of Poland all! A couple of my covers for the Polish speculative fiction magazine Nowa Fantastyka.

Fantastyka has became known as one of a few magazines to publish both foreign and Polish short stories, as well as full-length novels in installments. It is dedicated predominantly to short stories, but also to articles on modern science fiction, film and book reviews and comic pages.

Much thanks to the publishers for passing along all the way from Poland.

Na zdrowie!

Corel Painter Interview

Below is a Painter Master profile interview I did for the Corel Discovery Center’s educational site. The entirety of the feature is below or you can click here to check it out with more imagery and in context. Also, be sure to check out the latest version of Corel Painter 2019 right here. It really is the best version yet with lots of awesome features and a ton of great performance enhancements!


"Using Painter’s expressive brushstrokes with dramatic lighting, I create striking moods within my work that go well beyond just illustrating the assigned story."

Throughout childhood and his high school years, Dominick was exposed to a wealth of illustration by way of comic books, paperback covers, illustrated classics, album art and Dungeons and Dragon’s publications. Marvel’s How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way and an old Molly Hatchet album cover by Frank Frazetta (Dark Kingdom) were probably the most influential in motivating him to draw at a young age. 

Plus, he had a very encouraging high school art teacher who was an amazing artist by the name of Cheryl Hough who was instrumental in steering him towards a degree in the arts. It was at this time that it became evident to him that there were artists who made a living from painting and/or drawing for publication. He thought that it would be great to draw all day AND be paid to do so! 

Dominick then continued his education after high school in the Illustration Department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Dominick has been juggling A LOT of projects lately: He recently just finished the latest book cover for Jack Campbell's Pillars of Reality series for Audible and is about to start the 6th and final installment shortly. He’s also working on a really awesome fantasy book cover for the fine folks over at Orbit Books. In addition, he’s spent the last month researching and working on sketches for an upcoming illustrated chapter book from Centipede Press called “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser”.

As for a favorite project, he usually finds something exciting in every project, but one that stands out is the work he did for The Science Fiction Book Club. It was creating four book covers for Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series and includes a really great alternate universe with a “what if” story. 

It features giant WWII era battle ships, dinosaurs, and lizard warriors. What's not to love? Also, he had a blast working on the American Craftsmen series for TOR Books. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier and Spy meet ancient magic, all with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. So much fun!

What’s a typical day for Dominick? His schedules have changed throughout the years. Right now, he’s typically in his studio by 9:00AM attending to emails and more clerical tasks over coffee. Once he’s finished with the more mundane tasks. he’ll have a quick bite and dive into whatever project he’s working on. He usually wraps it up around 7:00PM and sometimes a little later if a deadline is looming.

As for tools of his trade, Dominick enjoys the many benefits of Corel Painter.

"Painter gives me the digital tools similar to ones used in traditional image making.”

“I trained and worked in oil paint for years and Painter allows me to mimic the same analog style and brushwork while giving me the flexibility of a modern digital workflow. Painter brings back the joy of traditional painting in a digital world.

In my work I vary brush strokes from very straight to more organic marks so I just love the way straight line and freeform mark making are implemented in Corel Painter. In addition, the way Painter’s brushstrokes interact with marks I’ve already put down is second to none. The “interact with underlying layers” toggle in the layers panel is indispensable for me.

"I just love the brushes Painter has to offer.”

Real oils, Artist oils, several grainy brushes that pick up paper texture, and even a few impastos are a few of my favorites. Oh! The blenders too!

Painter’s blenders rock, not a heavy-handed smudgy mess, just perfect subtle soft blends. The Just add Water blender is perfect.”

As for his studio, besides the usual traditional tools, his digital setup consists of a fairly old 2009 Mac Pro, two smaller secondary Apple displays and a 20WSX Cintiq. 

Explore more of Dominick’s amazing artwork on his website:

Swashbuckle Studio Reboot


Since reboots are all the rage these days I've gone and given my website a brand new fresh coat of paint. Welcome to the new Swashbuckle Studio!

Head on over to the portfolio section and check out some new work or stop on by the shop for some really great sales on prints. You can also connect with me on all of the various social media links above as well. I hope to hear from you, so feel free to kick the tires on the new digs and let me know what you think.

The new site is far more flexible and should allow me to post more content more often so stay tuned… I have some exciting things planned and in the works!

The Shadow of What Was Lost Book Cover

The Shadow of What was Lost Cover - Dominick Saponaro.jpg

Here’s a shot of the first cover in a really cool series by James Islington that I’ve had the pleasure of working on for Lauren Panepinto over at Orbit Books. Such a great gig and awesome Art Director! Props to Lauren for the awesome cover design and Crystal Ben for that amazing mechanical design too.

I’m looking forward to sharing the others in the series real soon!