has been doing artwork and has been an amateur astronomer since
grade school. Chesley Bonestell was always a major influence
on what he wanted to do in art: he used money from his newspaper
route to buy a book Chesley illustrated titled “The Exploration
of Mars” in the late 1950s. His mother and stepfather were
both professional cartoonists who worked on comic books and animated
cartoons. They encouraged his art training through high
school, where he made his first sale of a painting in a high school
art show; it was a Moonscape.
During college his majors were, in sequence: Art, Physics, Engineering,
and finally, Mathematics. In 1993 he received a Bachelor
of Arts in Mathematics at California State University-Northridge.
To Leland, two major goals of astronomical art are truth and beauty.
He likes to immerse himself in the research part of a design,
come up with preliminary drawings (sometimes with the aid of computers),
and consult with the customer to produce the painting they need.
Some past commissions include a set of murals of the Grand Tour
of the Solar System (the mission supplanted by the Voyagers),
a 35 foot high planetscape with a close binary sun on a bookstore
in Santa Monica and gray scale paintings of the Earth to illustrate
an article on continental drift in Vertex Magazine. He got into
graphic art and sign painting in the 1970s.
In the 1980s he learned how to use computer controlled graphics
production systems. This background in commercial art and
sign painting, along with the computer graphics experience, led
to a teaching career which has grown over the last decade.
Currently, he is the vocational instructor for a course titled
Design Technician, Computer-aided for adult inmates of the Los
Angeles County Jail system. The class is taught at North
County Correctional Facility, where his students through on-the-job
training produce architectural and vehicle graphics for the Los
Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Leland also teaches a High
School, G.E.D. and Adult Basic Education class there one night
On the I.A.A.A.: “Joining the International Association of Astronomical
Artists has proved to be one of the best experiences of my artistic
life. The forum has proven a treasure-trove of valuable advice
and information from others who have interests in art and