When I first started going to S/F conventions the word was “Michael Whelan is the Robert Redford of the science-fiction illustration world”. While at this point in time Redford’s name may have been traded out for Brad Pitt the fact remains that Michael Whelan = superstar.
Years ago I sat on panels at three different conventions with Mr. Whelan so we’re not really acquainted – but during those discussions he seemed pleasant, professional and blessedly free of that common artist’s ailment: an ego requiring a separate life-support system. I also watched him conduct a tour of the 1991 BOSKONE art show and was impressed when he delivered a constructive commentary of every item in the show, from marginally recognizable Spock portraits scratched out by desperate middle-school fans to polished professional work by peers and competitors working in the photorealistic manner of the Brandywine school of illustration.
He’s created a fantastic body of work over the last 40+ years but the illustration I’m posting today is my pick of the bunch because:
- Larry Niven is one of my favorite writers
- As I grew up in Alaska it should be no surprise that I am “tree-hugger”.
- Green dominates the composition.
So why is green such a big deal? For starters I just like the color green, especially cool greens that run to the pthalo green side of the palette; for “seconders”: from day one of my first illustration class and all the way through my entire career all I’ve heard about green is that it’s the kiss of death on a cover…
This image proves otherwise.