Creator of highly intricate and naturalistic sci-fi and fantasy art.
June 29, 1950
Michael Whelan is one of the most influential and popular contemporary science fiction and fantasy artists. His highly intricate and naturalistic works marked a return of genre book covers to realism.
After college, Whelan received steady commissions from publishers including DAW, Ace Books, Del Rey, and Marvel Comics. He painted covers for a number of important novel series such as Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars novels.
His painting for McCaffrey’s best-selling The White Dragon (1978) gained him national attention, and in 1980 he won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. He received that award 15 more times. Among his many notable works are covers for 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, The Snow Queen (1980) by Joan D. Vinge, and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (Revised) (2003).