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2 hours ago, Pingo said:

Michael Whelan, back when he still did genre illustration*, was renowned for reading the manuscript he was going to illustrate and illustrating it as accurately as possible.

 

I don’t know how he got away with it. From what I hear most publishers did not bother giving the cover artists anything of the writing they were to illustrate. But for whatever reason, Michael Whelan made certain he got his hands on the actual fiction he was supposed to be representing.

 

fuzzy_bones-whelan.thumb.jpg.02c2021d5a9ce1b5115d6899aef571b1.jpgThe cover of The Fuzzy Papers depicts Pappy Jack Holloway and his Fuzzy friends confronted by an accurate representative of a Damnthing, even down to the horn placement. The art was later reused for the mass market paperback edition of Fuzzy Bones. (Weirdly enough, horn placement winds up being a plot point when Little Fuzzy is attempting to warn Pappy Jack, but cannot speak to him; Little Fuzzy mimes the jaw tusks and the horn with his fingers, and then mimes firing a rifle, a thing that convinces Jack that Little Fuzzy understands the concept of "symbolic representation," the root of language... which is why the reader gets a detailed description of a Damnthing, which Whelan plainly read.)

This painting by Whelan, titled "Peekaboo Fuzzies," shows a couple of them peering out of what appears to be an alien bush... which, if you have read the books, depicts what Pappy Jack called "Pool-ball fruit."

 

tumblr_mk73umEmEo1rklghko1_1280.jpg.bb61ea6f1d897f4afa64e0faf37fe3af.jpg Whelan did his homework. Recently, I studied some of Frank Kelly Freas' work, and he reports that getting a copy of even PART of the manuscript in order to get some idea of what to put on the cover could be a real trick, depending on the publisher.

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3 hours ago, Pingo said:

Michael Whelan, back when he still did genre illustration*, was renowned for reading the manuscript he was going to illustrate and illustrating it as accurately as possible.

 

I don’t know how he got away with it. From what I hear most publishers did not bother giving the cover artists anything of the writing they were to illustrate. But for whatever reason, Michael Whelan made certain he got his hands on the actual fiction he was supposed to be representing.

 

Historically, absent some odd contract clause*, only the publisher has any control over anything on the cover of a book. So cover blurbs, artwork, title, pretty much everything but the name of the author is controlled only by the editor and layout person. And some editors (and even more some publishers) were/are much more interested in shoveling the current book out the door and getting on to the next book as quickly and inexpensively as possible than curating every detail.

 

In the case of Whelan (who is a genuinely nice person, btw), his art was at least perceived as significantly contributing to a book's sales**. That, combined with the critical reception for his work (15 Hugo awards and 13 Chesleys, among others) gave him more clout than most.

 

* When you sell enough books, you don't have to use a standard contract. Everything is negotiable.

 

** I think it's quite likely, but it's marketing, so who knows. At the least, any book that a publisher deemed worthy of commissioning Whelan for the cover probably started with a leg up. "It's got a Whelan cover; the publisher must think it's an important work." And almost every author with any clout would push for his work on the book and for him to get an early reading copy of the book.

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4 minutes ago, Doug Sundseth said:

 

Historically, absent some odd contract clause*, only the publisher has any control over anything on the cover of a book. So cover blurbs, artwork, title, pretty much everything but the name of the author is controlled only by the editor and layout person. And some editors (and even more some publishers) were/are much more interested in shoveling the current book out the door and getting on to the next book as quickly and inexpensively as possible than curating every detail.

 

In the case of Whelan (who is a genuinely nice person, btw), his art was at least perceived as significantly contributing to a book's sales**. That, combined with the critical reception for his work (15 Hugo awards and 13 Chesleys, among others) gave him more clout than most.

 

* When you sell enough books, you don't have to use a standard contract. Everything is negotiable.

 

** I think it's quite likely, but it's marketing, so who knows. At the least, any book that a publisher deemed worthy of commissioning Whelan for the cover probably started with a leg up. "It's got a Whelan cover; the publisher must think it's an important work." And almost every author with any clout would push for his work on the book and for him to get an early reading copy of the book.

 

I think Michael Whelan may have been the best overall artist doing book covers in the US industry at the time. Rowena painted better figures, Darrell K. Sweet was lightning fast, Don Maitz had a more cinematic sense of lighting and space. They were and are all very good at what they do. But Whelan’s best work held together as composition and art that wouldn’t be out of place in a museum.

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12 minutes ago, paintybeard said:

I'm only aware of seeing his work on D&D modules, has he done book covers as well?

Yes.  I know he did several covers for Terry Brooks, although I couldn't tell you which ones.  He did the cover for the omnibus edition of Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksennarion.

 

There are two full color art books of Keith Parkinson's work.  They include several book covers.  Since I'm not at home with my books, I can't say much more.

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I realize I was rude to Darrell K. Sweet. He wasn’t just fast. He was also, by reports, one of the sweetest guys you’d ever meet..

 

And nobody did horses as well as he did. Nobody.

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25 minutes ago, Darsc Zacal said:

The thing that bugged me about DarrellK Sweets covers were that his male faces all seemed very similar, if not identical.

 

He wouldn't be the only one. There was one artist in particular who made ALL faces look like the old cowboy actor, Randolph Scott. Including the women. Durned if I can remember his name, though. 

Darrell K. Sweet illustrated a great many of my favorite books, but I tend to prefer Whelan, largely due to his attention to detail. That, and when details on the cover don't match what's in the book, it irritates.

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Darrell K. Sweet was a terrible artist but a lovely person. And his horses really were amazingly good. 

 

(I can’t think of a D&D illustrator of the 1980s or 1990s who did horses really well.  Good horses are tricky.)

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4 hours ago, Pingo said:

 

I think Michael Whelan may have been the best overall artist doing book covers in the US industry at the time. Rowena painted better figures, Darrell K. Sweet was lightning fast, Don Maitz had a more cinematic sense of lighting and space. They were and are all very good at what they do. But Whelan’s best work held together as composition and art that wouldn’t be out of place in a museum.

I remember Anne MacCaffrey writing about how, after myriad bad covers for her Pern series, she was introduced to Whelan - and went into depth about exactly what her dragons were supposed to look like.

 

He flipped over his sketches and said 'you mean like this?' - and there was her dragons, in perfect detail.

 

If I remember properly she gushed apologies at him, because it was very obvious that he had read her descriptions. She was completely unprepared for that.

 

And, yes, Good Show Sir is incredibly fun. Even with the rampant Censorsheep that goes on. ::P:

 

The Auld Grump - goes on over that, and that, but most especially that.

 

*EDIT* The Brothers Hildebrandt were pretty good too.

Edited by TheAuldGrump
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Actually my favourite Anne MacCaffery illustration is by Brom:

 

vc_Brom_The_Harper.thumb.jpg.7835e9b14a215c2c64d560a82d0c6cf7.jpg

 

Which surprises me a bit. Usually I would say that that the more detail in a picture the better. The more "realistic" the fantasy illustration the more I like it. Very keen on Todd Lockwood and Ciruelo Cabral! But somehow Broms' slightly more abstract style also hits the spot for me.   

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1 hour ago, TheAuldGrump said:

I remember Anne MacCaffrey writing about how, after myriad bad covers for her Pern series, she was introduced to Whelan - and went into depth about exactly what her dragons were supposed to look like.

 

He flipped over his sketches and said 'you mean like this?' - and there was her dragons, in perfect detail.

 

If I remember properly she gushed apologies at him, because it was very obvious that he had read her descriptions. She was completely unprepared for that.

 

I first discovered McCaffrey through her short story, Weyr Search, which later became the first chapter of the first Pern book. A friend recommended the series, so I went looking, and eventually latched onto the SFBC omnibus edition, The Dragonriders Of Pern. All three of the first series. And while the books were a lovely read, the cover art was actually pretty awful, featuring underdressed Dragonriders mounted on reptilian chicken monsters (with a strong hint of iguana in their ancestry) that were at best distant relations of dragons. Makes me think about Larry Elmore's remark, "You can't just stick bat wings on an alligator and call it a dragon."

Looking back at pre-Whelan Dragonriders covers, I can sorta feel McCaffrey's pain.

A1V8r2xu8wL.jpg.bbf28437af79fefa2ce96e4b94fd306b.jpgAlso regretfully reminds me of the sheer number of books I lost by loaning them to women I was dating in college. Bleh.

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2 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

 

I first discovered McCaffrey through her short story, Weyr Search, which later became the first chapter of the first Pern book. A friend recommended the series, so I went looking, and eventually latched onto the SFBC omnibus edition, The Dragonriders Of Pern. All three of the first series. And while the books were a lovely read, the cover art was actually pretty awful, featuring underdressed Dragonriders mounted on reptilian chicken monsters (with a strong hint of iguana in their ancestry) that were at best distant relations of dragons. Makes me think about Larry Elmore's remark, "You can't just stick bat wings on an alligator and call it a dragon."

Looking back at pre-Whelan Dragonriders covers, I can sorta feel McCaffrey's pain.

A1V8r2xu8wL.jpg.bbf28437af79fefa2ce96e4b94fd306b.jpgAlso regretfully reminds me of the sheer number of books I lost by loaning them to women I was dating in college. Bleh.

That was part of how Grump got the woman he kept. ::P:

 

He loaned me books, I liked them, and he loaned me more.

 

Now I have Grump AND all his books! All his book are belong to me! :lol:

 

 

Is it wrong that I liked The Ship Who Sang more than Pern?

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Matter of personal taste. I liked her Crystal Singer series, too... I thought "Killishandra" was an awesome name for a heroine. Years later, someone asked McCaffrey about that, and she remarked that she stole the name from a local brand of bread in Ireland... named for the town where its bakery was. So... in Ireland... apparently you can buy Killishandra Bread.

I had that edition of Dragonriders of Pern from high school. I loaned it to my first college sweetie, and then we broke up on bad terms and I never saw it again. Fortunately, identical copies can still be found in used bookstores for those with eyes to see; apparently, it was one of the SFBC's all time great sellers for years on end.

About four women later, I finally learned to quit loaning books to women I was dating. One of them was good enough to return my books, the other two refused to see me, and one of them finally returned my Doonesbury treasuries and my Star Trek Concordance when I became sufficiently annoying about it.

The next two women, I lied like a rug and told them I owned no books; all the books in the dorm room were the property of my roommate, who never loaned books out. Nope, nope, can't loan you that book, it's not mine. No, he doesn't loan out his records either....

Y'know, it occurs to me that women have cost me more books over the years than natural disasters, fire, flood, mold, mildew, and the Heartbreak of Psoriasis...



 

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