Today’s legend brings back many memories of reading and playing Dungeons & Dragons and, of course, of half-naked woman warriors I drooled over as a teenager with equal parts wonder and guilt. Clyde Caldwell is a 40-year veteran of the industry who contributed to the golden age of fantasy with his work on Dungeons and Dragons. He certainly requires no introduction from me.
Clyde has produced hundreds of cover paintings and illustrations in the fantasy genre and over the years became well-known (or maybe infamous) for his portrayal of strong, sexy female characters, which is his favorite subject. Rather obvious, really. He also did fantasy covers for publishers like Ace, Avon, Popular Library, Warner books, Zebra, Houghton-Mifflin, and Doubleday, and of course, magazines like Heavy metal, The Savage Sword of Conan, Epic Illustrated, Dragon, and Dungeon, and many others.
Clyde worked almost 10 years for TSR, the publisher of the Dungeons & Dragons RPG and series of books, painting the D&D calendar from 1985 to 1993, and the covers for the 1987 Dragonlance Calendar, and even the 1990 Forgotten Realms Calendar. He was also the cover artist for the D&D Gazetteer module series, the popular Ravenloft series, and has had work included in several TSR Art Books.
And things didn’t stop there. Embarking on a freelance career in 1992, Clyde continued to paint and illustrate, from covers for a series of Baen Books to gaming art for Wizards of the Coast, Precedence Entertainment, White Wolf Game Studio, Palladium Games, and even tattoo designs for Bullseye Tattoos.
Below are a few iconic cover illustrations. Feast your eyes.
Like me and many of my literary and artistic heroes, Clyde “…roamed the red sands of Mars and explored the world at the earth’s core with Edgar Rice Burroughs, and was whisked away to other worlds, alternate dimensions and adventures in the future by Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke.” When I look back at the stories and art that shaped me, these are the guys that captured my imagination.
It goes further, fantasy greats like Frank Frazetta, Roy G. Krenkel and Jeff Jones inspired Clyde to get into fantasy illustration. They are part of the same stable that inspired me to almost become a comic illustrator and who nurtured my love of fantasy, along with authors like Howard and Burroughs and Eddings and many others. They continue to do so still.
We’ve one more “Legends” post left. I’m open to suggestions. Is there anyone in particular that you think I should feature that belongs in the “Legends” category? Let me know below.