I've made it no secret that the artist I credit for inspiring me to go to college for fine art and design, with the intention of one day being a book cover artist, is Michael Whelan
. There are, I'm sure, thousands of artists, if not more, that can claim the same.
For those not readily familiar with his name, you have very likely read some of the books his work has graced. One such series of cover works Del Rey commissioned ... the re-dressing of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars
novels; joining the ranks of art legends, Roy G. Krenkel
and Frank Frazetta
Now, I know I'm no Whelan, but when Rob Dorsey contacted me about his spin-off series of novels needing artwork, I jumped at the chance before some other artist grabbed the project.
To be honest, my only exposure to the series was through the art I drooled over and the movie I found ultra-cool (although I'm told it didn't do as well as expected, and, as typical, didn't do the books justice).
Of course, I used the project as an excuse to spend hours intensely studying covers for the series, in an attempt to create a cohesive look for Rob Dorsey's, Sword Masters of Mars
. And once finished, I may have to carve out some time to read the original books. I will, however, read Rob's novels.
Sword Master of Mars is an exciting tale of the planet Barsoom, which we call Mars, and the Virginia Cavalryman John Carter, his Martian wife, the Princess Dejah Thoris, the most beautiful woman on the planet, and their second son, Darus of Helium. The noble prince attempts to settle a rebellion following a great civil war fought between Helium and the aggressor city-state of Zodanga. Zodanga loses but an army of Zodangan holdouts will not surrender and the battle goes on for twenty-five more years as the Zodangan rebels continue to fight a guerilla war against Helium. Prince Darus hatches a plan to surreptitiously imbed himself and his Zodangan adjutant into the rebel ranks, commanded by their evil Jeddak, or king, Teyos Than. Darus is to be surprised by what he discovers there and how his discoveries alter the course of the war, his royal family and his own life. There are great and dangerous beasts to conquer, sword duels to be fought and new relationships to nurture, all amongst the bizarre creatures and alien hordes of the Red Planet. Here, a Prince of Mars discovers that, like his father, he might find love in the most unexpected of places.
I still have several b/w sketches to complete for the interior, so keep an eye out for more on the pending release for Sword Masters of Mars, by Rob Dorsey.
This is an excellent opportunity to, once again, show of some of MW's amazing work, but this time, not dragons (which is what I usually show). The following are from his contribution to the Martian Tales.
***Crazy postscript update ... On a whim, I sent a tweet to Michael Whelan () the other day, after realizing his twitter account was on his newsletter that I subscribe to. My idol ... the artist who brought me through a traumatic injury, actually responded to my tweet, and not with a cookie-cutter reply, either. Knowing how little he's active on twitter, I never expected a response. I went into total star-struck, crazy fan lady mode. lol How many ways can I say MADE MY YEAR!
Thought I'd stop in & say hi. I've followed ur work for years & regularly blame you for my choosing to become a cover artist.
oh no, not my fault! Twas Frazetta who motivated me, the blame goes to him:-)
Now was that the coolest response, or what? Sounded just like a person and not the demi-god I know him to be, lol. After my temporary mental breakdown, I tried to play it cool ...
But I only have one book of his work; I have all of yours, ;P.
On that note ... Happy Thanksgiving, everyone :D
Onto wrapping up the next book
Until next time ...
This post edited by Grammarly*
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven, but posted as provided by author/publisher.