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Book covers

elric cover

Over the years, Chris has not only illustrated dozens of book covers, his art has also appeared on covers for games, videos and rock albums, as well as on the front cover of many magazines

After graduating, Chris worked as an illustrator at a design studio, Brian Boyle Associates, where he learned all the different aspects of bookcover design and production, including paste-up, layout and typography. This was a great experience for Chris. In 1972 Chris went freelance and has remained so ever since.

In those early days, lucrative advertising commissions were financially enticing, but Chris preferred to work on fantasy book coverswhich were much more exciting and allowed him to paint what he wanted and enjoyed. Following a rise in the popularity of fantasy and science fiction art in the late seventies, both in America and in Great Britain, Chris found himself flourishing as a fantasy artist. The world-wide success of the Conan novels triggered a demand for material of a similar genre, such as the " Gor" and " Raven" series for which Chris painted the covers. Like many young artists of that time, Chris loved Frank Frazetta’s work; he understood its underlying principles — dynamism, a sense of violent action and design. At first, Chris emulated the style. However, inevitably, he was keen to develop his own. Chris used his airbrush skills to provide a new, sleek sense of realism, vastly different from that of Frazetta.

He was also kept very busy with the Dr Who bookcovers requiring paintings on a monthly basis.

In addition to this, there were several commissions for Michael Moorcock novels, and among them a cover for one of the Elric novels. For this cover (picture above), Chris decided to depart from the traditional depiction of the character — until then presented in the mould of the muscular, Frazetta-style figure — and painted him as described by Moorcock: a thin, feminine-looking elf, dependent on drugs until he picks up a demonic sword that gives him strength and battle prowess. Chris painted him as slender, with almond-shaped eyes, pointed ears and a feminine demeanour. He also adorned the character with full armour and a blanketing cloak. This was an innovative approach at the time, inspired by Chris’s insatiable interest in historical costume.

Other book cover commission include the "Pellucidar" serie by Edgar Rice Burroughs and two trilogies by Robert E Howard, Science Fiction , and Fighting Fantasy. Early works include the cover art for " Startrek", " Fistfull of Dollars", " Mc Allister" and " King Kung-Fu" series where Chris designed the covers including the banners and lettering.