Michael Whelan has long had a devoted following among Dark Tower fans. Born in 1950, he is the recipient of an unprecedented 15 Hugo awards and is considered one of America’s most important contemporary fantasy and science fiction artists. He provided the iconic covers and interior illustrations for Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger, and Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower. He also created the illustrations for the character orbs in the Dark Tower online interactive experience, Discordia. Over the course of his career, Michael has done original art covers for more than 350 novels, including those written by Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Moorcock, and Robert A. Heinlein. In addition he has created album cover art for many bands including Meatloaf, The Jacksons, Sepultura, Cirith Ungol, and Evile. His cards for the card game Magic: The Gathering, are highly prized by collectors. In 2009, Michael was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame for his contributions to the genre.
Michael Whelan was born in Culver City, CA in 1950. He grew up in California and Colorado, moving frequently due to his father's job in the aerospace industry. After high school he went to San Jose State University as a biology major [Pre Med], changing it to art during his junior year. He graduated in 1973 with a BA in Art and named as a "President's Scholar". In spite of that accomplishment, and feeling that his work lacked a professional polish, he moved to Los Angeles to take classes at the Art Center College of Design. After nine months there, however, he had already received offers for work from publishers in New York City. Optimistic about his chances, he gave away everything that wouldn't fit into his VW and headed for the East Coast. Michael wound up in Connecticut, where he still lives today.
During the course of his 30-odd year career Michael has painted hundreds of book covers and worked on many other side projects, including album cover art, conceptual renderings for TV and film projects, and advertising work. All his work is dedicated to fantasy, horror or SF themes. Since the mid 1990s he has devoted most of his time to his gallery painting, but he enjoys illustration too much to leave it behind for long.
Michael has enjoyed a long association with works by Stephen King. The first was a book cover for a limited edition of FIRESTARTER, which also made Michael a lifelong fan. Mr. King liked the image enough to suggest Michael for consideration when Donald M. Grant, Publisher, planned the first book edition of THE GUNSLINGER back in 1981. Since then, Michael has done many works related to King projects through the years, and has even appeared as a character in King's short story, STATIONARY BIKE.