Friday, December 12, 2008

Illustrating Science fiction paperback covers

Paperback 1

Some of the most enjoyable assignments I've had have been painting science fiction paperback covers. I really didn't illustrate that many, perhaps a dozen or so. I'd love to do some today employing the digital medium, I may do some samples to submit to publishers.
In fact, that's exactly how I got my start in this field. In 1965 I did the above painting as a sample for my New York rep Bill Neeley. He showed the illustration to Curtis Books and they immediately bought it for a cover, I didn't even have to read the book ! I was teaching at the time and used a couple of my students as models. For the foreground figure I used Terry Smith, an automotive illustrator that I was working with at Al Hutt Studios.

Paperback 2

A close up detail of what's going on in the background. No models were used for this motley group.

Paperback 3

I don't recall reading this book either. On this cover for Ace I used myself as the model. I have no recollection of just what those glowing round things are, but they were done with an airbrush. These covers were all painted with Windsor and Newton Designer's Colors.

Paperback 8

Another fun cover for Ace Books, again, I wish that I had painted more of these, but I was very busy at the time with advertising assignments which paid much higher fees. These covers were painted with quite a bit more background than you see on the final printed cover. This was required so the art director could crop the art as he chose, to allow for lettering and other issues.

Paperback 9

For models I used my wife and myself, Jeanne became pretty good at shooting Polaroid photos of me when I posed. This type of assignment was a nice diversion from the hard-boiled world of automotive illustration.


Jason Chalker said...

Haha! Very cool. I used to read the Witch World books when I was a kid. I had (maybe still have) the one you've shown. If I remember right, there were a few more with similar styles. Did you do any others in the series?

Harry Borgman said...

Hi Jason,
No, I didn't do any other covers in that series, I would have loved to have illustrated more, they were fun to do. I was working pretty steady in advertising art at the time and only painted a limited number of paperback covers.

joshua said...

What ever happened to the original paintings?Was your artwork returned to you or was it simply discarded by the publisher after the covers were printed?

Harry Borgman said...

Sorry to get back to you so late, I haven't checked my older blogs for a while. I don't know what happened to the original artwork, it probably was thrown away as was most of the work at that time.

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Excellent covers because it's my passion, I mean science fiction, that's perfect because we can think on whatever we want, create and more.

Leonidas said...

I just saw that the guy on the last image looks like Leonidas from '300'. :)

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