Fantasy Cover Art Appreciation Part 02
03 February 2023
Sharing the Second Batch of Book Covers
As explained in Part 01 of the Fantasy Cover Art Appreciation post, I went to a yearly second hand book sale called Bookfest by the charity Lifeline and took photos of the book covers which appealed to me to look up the artists.
Click each cover to visit their edition metadata on the speculative fiction database when available.
Julian May also published under names like Ian Thorne, J. C. May, and others.
The covers for Blood Trillium (1992) and Sky Trillium (1997) are both by Geoff Taylor.
Diamond Mask (1994) and Magnificat (1996) were both illustrated by Stephen Bradbury. Galactic Milieu is not a series but is a shared universe of stories. Diamond Mask and Magnificat are part of the same series but The Adversary (1984) seems to be part of the same universe, but a different books series. Visually they share the central composition, the presence of volcanic rock, ice mountains (extreme temperatures), and precious gems or stones.
The Rampart Worlds
The last of Julian May's books I got a photo of is of the book Orion Arm (2000), the cover was illustrated by Stephen Bradbury. The visual style of this cover is very different to the books from the Galactic Milieu series.
The following covers were illustrated by Geoff Taylor. The Seeress of Kell (1991) is from a book universe called Belgariad, while The Diamond Throne (1989) and The Sapphire Rose (1991) are from the Sparhawk Universe (Elenium series).
What appeals to me about these artworks
One thing I observed is the presence of environments that would not normally be seen together like volcanic rock and ice. Reptiles reoccur maybe to reflect the subconscious reptillian brain or literally, dragons, which hoard treasure. Rare stones or gems are common, particularlly diamond, glass, or metallics. The lights are usually unnatural and emanate from the people themselves, a magical force, or are exagerrated (like the sunset in Seeress of Kell).
I realize a lot of the books from this era have male cover artists, many are well-known and recognised by Awards such as The Chelsea awards for science fiction and fantasy art (Internet Archive link to the retrospective by John Grant). I don't say this to discount their work (the designs are great!) just to make an observation. There are a few female artists recognised by the Chelsea awards, however, so if you are interested I encourage you to take a look at the link.
In the next post on this topic, I'll share some of my favorite covers that did not fit neatly into a series or book author category.