Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Art and Illustration of Jack Gaughan

"Jack Gaughan (September 24, 1930 - July 21, 1985) was an American science fiction artist and illustrator who won the Hugo Award several times. Working primarily with Donald A. Wollheim at Ace Books and later DAW Books, and also Galaxy Magazine during the late 1960s, his simple linear style brought to life unforgettable images of such classics as Andre Norton's Witch World Novels and Edward Elmer Smith's Lensmen and Skylark novels (for which he did two related sets of Pyramid Books covers). His broad visual vocabulary enabled him to render the objects, spaceships and scenes in whatever was presented to him as they were described in the books and stories he illustrated. That was especially an accomplishment as many of these authors drew on their knowledge of very esoteric subjects for their imagery."

Source:  Link at Wikipedia

Link at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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9 comments:

Johnathan Bingham said...

Awesome. Thanks for sharing all those incredible covers. Some of them I'm very familiar with, but I can't say I have been a close follower of Jack Gaughan. Gives me some good ideas for some work of my own.

Andreas Davour said...

I own a bunch of those books. Not all are as interesting as their covers, sadly. ;)

Chris Creel said...

As always, thanks for this info. These are some great, classic sci-fi and fantasy illustrations.

Eruanno said...

I had never seen those covers for Lord of the Rings. I'm deeply impressed.

brasspen said...

Three things strike me: the lurid color palette; the figurative, almost eerie drawing style; and, the lack of posing babes.

They look as though Erol Otus's uncle did a lot of them. It's surprising how willing to be weird these covers are compared with today, which use realistic colors, hyper realism, and unrealistic woman. It's as though the cover shots of today are from a television show. Perhaps the Battlestar Galactica covers, with their greater emphasis on realism, were a harbinger.

I guess with the mass market, the belly for weird and creative covers became smaller, as the market got bigger.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

I am happy that many of you are having happy reactions to these.

@Brasspen: You noted the similarities with E. Otus. as well, eh? Van Gogh, too, especially with the first posted Elric cover (though there are hints of this in many). I agree with your point about the shift of fantastic illustration to a TV/Movie look and that this mode has all but sapped the enchantment and weird out of the matter and flattened it to a mass consumption model. Great commentary! :)

stevenhashimoto said...

As I grow older my appreciation for Jack's work increases exponentially. I'm old enough to have seen many of these covers when they were first published, but at the time my favorite artists were Freas, Frazetta, Krenkel, Gray Morrow, Berkey and Richard Powers. Now I love Jack's amazing palette, his sense of design, and, as someone else commented, his willingness to be weird. Thanks for posting this amazing work, much of which I haven't seen for many years. I was slightly disappointed by the Outermost book; I would have liked to have seen a lot more work.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

You're welcome, Steven. It took a while collecting these as there is surprisingly (at least to my knowledge) no comprehensive site that has grouped his art and illustration. I will update this post with additional finds as time permits.

Robert said...

I'm another who is old enough to have seen many of these covers at the time they were published. I sometimes liked and sometimes didn't like Gaughan's work at the time, but in retrospect, it looks very good indeed. I read virtually no contemporary science fiction, but I often do browse through the SF sections at the bookstores to see what's new, and today's covers are quite terrible. I miss the evocatively expressive art and design of the book covers of the 60s and (part of) the 70s, and I rank Richard Powers and Paul Lehr as the kings of the field, but Jack Gaughan was almost as prolific as they and worthy to be remembered in his own right. I do plan to get the OUTERMOST book. (Will someone please do a book on Lehr?)