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Encyclopedia > Michael Whelan
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Michael Whelan (born June 29, 1950) is a multiple award winning American artist specializing in science fiction and fantasy illustration. His art has appeared on over 350 book and magazine covers, including most of the Del Rey editions of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) series, Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and Dragon Star series, the DAW editions of Michael Moorcock's Elric books, the Ace editions of H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy novels, and Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Otherland, and Shadowmarch series. Whelan provided covers and interior illustrations for Stephen King's The Gunslinger and The Dark Tower, the first and last of his Dark Tower books. He describes his art style as "imaginative realism." Image File history File links Download high resolution version (778x642, 286 KB) en: Michael Whelan at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, August 2005. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (778x642, 286 KB) en: Michael Whelan at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, August 2005. ... The Clyde Auditorium with the main SECC building behind it The 63rd World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was Interaction, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland 4-8 August, 2005. ... Jump to: navigation, search Glasgows location in Scotland Glasgow (or Glaschu in Gaelic) is Scotlands largest city and unitary council, situated on the River Clyde in the countrys west central lowlands. ... Jump to: navigation, search 2005 (MMV) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Jump to: navigation, search June 29 is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 185 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1950 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Jump to: navigation, search Fantasy is a genre of art, literature, film, television, and music that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of either plot, theme, setting, or all three. ... Jump to: navigation, search At the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, August 2005 Anne Inez McCaffrey (born April 1, 1926) is an American science fiction author best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Dragonriders of Pern books are written by Anne McCaffrey. ... Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 - March 19, 1950) was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan, although he produced works in many genres. ... In 1911, Edgar Rice Burroughs, now best known as the creator of the character Tarzan, began his writing career with A Princess of Mars, a rousing tale of pulp adventure on the planet Barsoom or Mars. ... John Carter may refer to: John Carter, Tennessee statesman and Chairman of the Watauga Petition. ... Melanie Rawn is an author of fantasy literature and was born 1954. ... Jump to: navigation, search Michael John Moorcock (born December 18, 1939) is a prolific British writer of both science fiction and science fantasy. ... Stormbringer (Lancer, 1967) Elric of Melniboné is a fictional character created by Michael Moorcock. ... Jump to: navigation, search This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Robert Paul Tad Williams (born March 14, 1957) is the author of several fantasy and science fiction novels, including Tailchasers Song; the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series; the Otherland series and The War of the Flowers. ... Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is Tad Williamss epic fantasy trilogy, comprising The Dragonbone Chair (1988), Stone of Farewell (1990) and To Green Angel Tower (1993). ... Jump to: navigation, search Otherland is a four-book science fiction epic by Tad Williams. ... Jump to: navigation, search Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author best known for horror novels. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Dark Tower is a fantasy fiction, science fantasy, horror, and western themed series of novels by the American writer Stephen King. ...



Michael Whelan was born in Culver City, California, the son of William and Nancy Whelan. As a child, he had a nomadic existence, moving nearly every other year due to the demands of his father's aerospace industry career. He grew up in Colorado, several cities along the California coast, and in New Mexico (near the White Sands Proving Ground). Whelan's time near White Sands proved a lasting influence; in a 2000 interview, he noted that he couldn't "deny that living near to missile launching sites and Air Force bases had an impact. It was always thrilling to watch them go up...and sometimes blow up" (AudioBookCafe.com). Culver City sign, at the northeast corner of the Sepulveda Boulevard and Centinela Avenue intersection, near the 405 and the 90 freeway interchange. ...

By the time Whelan was in high school, his family had moved to Denver. It was there that he began his formal training in art, taking summer classes at Denver's Rocky Mountain School of Art. By his final year of high school, his family had moved again; this time to San Jose, California.

He attended college at San Jose State University. While at SJSU, he worked in the Anatomy and Physiology Department, gaining a first-hand knowledge of human anatomy. According to Whelan, his job "involved all sorts of tasks related to the anatomy department, such as preparing cadavers for the classes, stringing bones together to make complete skeletons, making models of body parts, some medical illustration, etc." (Delos). Some of Whelan's college medical drawings appeared in The Journal Of Bone And Joint Surgery. San Jose State University San José State University, commonly shortened to San Jose State and SJSU, is the oldest university in what became the California State University system. ...

After graduating from SJSU in 1973 with a BA in Painting (as a "President's Scholar"), Whelan studied at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles for nine months from 1973-1974. In 1974 Whelan exhibited his work at the World Science Fiction Convention in Washington D.C., where it was seen by Thomas Schluck, who first discovered his work and contracted to use it in European publications shortly afterwards. Donald A. Wollheim of DAW Books gave Whelan his first American professional assignment—the cover to Lin Carter's fantasy novel, The Enchantress of World's End, after seeing Whelan's artwork in a set of slides Whelan submitted in August 1974. Jump to: navigation, search Photo of Art Center during the night. ... Donald Allen Wollheim (October 1, 1914 - November 2, 1990) was a science fiction writer (under pseudonyms, including David Grinnell), editor and publisher. ... Linwood Vrooman Carter (June 9, 1930 - February 7, 1988) was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor and critic. ...

Since he was already receiving offers for assignments Whelan left the Art Center College of Design to pursue illustration full-time. In 1975, he moved to Connecticut so as to be near the New York City hub of the publishing industry. There he met Audrey Price—originally his landlady—whom he was eventually to marry.

Whelan quickly gained a reputation as a talented, imaginative, and dependable cover artist, working for science fiction and fantasy publishers such as DAW Books, Del Rey, and Ace. Whelan credits the 1979 publication of Anne McCaffrey's best-selling The White Dragon featuring his cover art as a turning point in his career. He won his first Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist in 1980 at the Noreascon II Worldcon in Boston. In his career to date, Whelan has won fifteen Hugos—more than any other single person. Jump to: navigation, search At the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, August 2005 Anne Inez McCaffrey (born April 1, 1926) is an American science fiction author best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. ... The Hugo Award is given every year for the best science fiction or fantasy stories of the previous year, and for related areas in fandom, art and dramatic presentation. ... Worldcon, or more formally The World Science Fiction Convention, is the longest running science fiction convention having been held from 1939 to 1941 and, after the interruption of World War II, every year since 1946. ...

Whelan makes a practice of reading the entire book that he seeks to illustrate, usually twice. "I try to let the book I'm illustrating determine the approach and subject matter," he stated (Delos). Not suprisingly, Whelan's close attention to the work he illustrates has made him popular with writers. Fantasist Michael Moorcock wrote of Whelan, "I am more than usually grateful for an artist who not only depicts him [Elric] as I imagine (and describe him) but who also manages to capture some of the appropriate atmosphere" (Wonderworks, p. 36). Science fiction writer Anne McCaffrey praised him, declaring, "Fortunate indeed is the author who has Michael Whelan for an illustrator" (Wonderworks, p. 55).

Whelan currently lives in Danbury, Connecticut, where his wife Audrey Price oversees their Glass Onion Graphics gallery. In recent years, he has begun to move away from commissioned illustration work, preferring to concentrate on gallery pieces and "self-commissioned" works. Jump to: navigation, search City nickname: The Hat City Location in the state of Connecticut County Fairfield County, Connecticut Area  - Total  - Water 114. ...

He and Audrey Price have two children, Alexa and Adrian. Whelan was successfully treated for Lyme Disease in 1999 and prostate cancer in 2000. Jump to: navigation, search Prostate cancer is a group of cancerous cells (a malignant tumor) that begins most often in the outer part of the prostate. ...


Whelan's work has been widely honored both inside the science fiction and fantasy field and beyond. His honors and awards include:

  • Sixteen Hugo Awards, including:
    • Twelve for Best Professional Artist
    • One for Best Original Artwork
    • Three for Best Nonfiction Book (Wonderworks, Michael Whelan's Works of Wonder and The Art of Michael Whelan: Scenes / Visions)
    • "SuperHugo" presented at the 50th Worldcon (1992) for Best Artist of the Last 50 Years (not considered an official Hugo award)
  • Three World Fantasy Awards for Best Artist (1981, 1982, & 1983), the maximum number allowed under that award's rules
  • Eleven Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists (ASFA)
  • Allied Artists of America's Grumbacher Gold Medal (1994) for his painting, Climber
  • Society of Illustrators' Gold Medal (1997) for his digital painting, Crux Humanis

First awarded in 1975, the World Fantasy Award is handed out annually at the World Fantasy Convention to recognize outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy. ... The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 by the [[Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists]] to recognize individual works and achievements during a given year. ... Sculpture near the entrance of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is a science fiction museum, said to be the first such museum in the world, located inside the Experience Music Project building at Seattle, Washington, USAs Seattle Center... Western Connecticut State University (WestConn) is a public university in Danbury, Connecticut. ...

Art collections

  • Something in My Eye, (1997) (poster book) ISBN 0929480821
  • The Art of Michael Whelan: Scenes/Visions, (1993) ISBN 0553074474
  • Michael Whelan's Works of Wonder, (1988) ISBN 0345326792
  • Wonderworks: Science Fiction and Fantasy Art, (1979) ISBN 0915442744

External links

  • Michael Whelan Official Site
  • Michael Whelan Bibliography at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • Delos "An Interview With Michael Whelan"
  • Artist Interviews "Michael Whelan"
  • AudioBookCafe.com "Interview with Michael Whelan"
  • Lilja's Library "Interview with Michael Whelan; June 23, 2004"

Other references

Locus "Michael Whelan: Breathing Space" January 1993

  Results from FactBites:
Michael Whelan (169 words)
Michael Whelan is a national award-winning author, storyteller, playwright, musician, mythologist and historian.
Michael has also taught Irish folklore and Celtic myth, theatre, world history, storytelling and mythology at the university and college levels.
Currently, Michael serves as the Artistic Director of Avalon Productions in Portland, Oregon, and is their Playwright in Residence.
Michael Whelan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (898 words)
Michael Whelan (born June 29, 1950) is a multiple award winning American artist specializing in science fiction and fantasy illustration.
Michael Whelan was born in Culver City, California, the son of William and Nancy Whelan.
Whelan was successfully treated for prostate cancer in 2000.
  More results at FactBites »



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