For over four decades Stephen Hickman transported readers to the fantasy and science fiction worlds of their favorite authors. Apart from the obvious fact that he’s an awesome artist, one of the reasons I’m so excited about featuring him on “Art of Fantasy (Legends)” is that his work is inspired by the masters of fantasy and science fiction writing — J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, A. Merritt, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Clark Ashton Smith.
He has also painted and illustrated covers for many other contemporary authors like David Drake, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Larry Niven, Andre Norton, Jerry Pournelle, and Steve Stirling among others. To date, Stephen has illustrated over 425 covers for publishers, including Ace, Baen, Ballantine, Bantam, Berkeley, Del Rey, Doubleday, Tor, and Warren Publications. He is best known for illustrating Larry Niven‘s Man-Kzin Wars novels and the awesome dragons he designed for Steven Brust‘s Dragaera series, which, apparently, have often been imitated.
Stephen’s work has earned him critical acclaim; He received a Hugo Award, 6 Chesley Awards, and 2 Spectrum Gold Awards. His 1994 Hugo Award celebrated his contribution to the United States Postal Service’s Space Fantasy Commemorative Booklet of stamps, the first official recognition by the government of the SF genre.
In 1988 he wrote The Lemurian Stone, which formed the basis for his Pharazar Mythos illustrations.The Lion Pavillion is one example and is also reproduced along with The Archers, in the 1994 edition of Spectrum.
Below is a small collection of Stephen’s work. Each image links back to his gallery. Enjoy!
Stephen is also a noted sculptor and in 1996 he created the Cthulhu statuette inspired by an earlier cover illustration he did for H.P. Lovecraft’s story, The Call of Cthulhu (Baen Books). Bowen Designs produced and distributed the statuette.
There is an old soul element to Stephen’s work. His paintings possess a classical ambiance that views fantasy through a lens far less cynical to what we’re used to these days, and in a way that can be even more unsettling.
“Hickman has mastered a variety of styles and is known for his versatility. However, his work is especially notable for two features. His use of the possibilities of oil color, in layers both transparent and translucent, is balanced to create subtle moods that can range for the contemplative to the unsettling. Frank Kelly Freas said that no one since Rembrandt has mastered the use of gold the way Hickman has.”
I enjoy his work, especially his Tolkien illustrations, and if you love old school artists and the way they used to illustrate fantasy, you’ll probably feel the same.
I’ll update you folks on the status of my current project in a separate post. And remember to check out my Science Fiction artist this week over on Kōsa Press’ blog.
Chat to you soon!