Beyond Fantasy: The Art Of Darrell K. Sweet (book review).

Another book I found in Jane Frank’s book ‘Science Fiction And Fantasy Artists Of The Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary’ is ‘Beyond Fantasy: The Art Of Darrell K. Sweet’. As his art has only been on American fantasy and SF book covers, it would explain why I haven’t come across him or at least put a name to the initial ‘DKS’ which you would have to look for.

After a forward by Piers Anthony and an introduction by John Zaphyr, we come to the man himself. Brought up in a strict literary environment by his parents, Darrell Sweet never had access to our genre until much later in life. However, after getting a fine arts degree and a move to New York, he finally moved from advertising to cover painting. As such, Sweet didn’t have the normal art connections the rest of have so his look is definitely different.

This book is mostly fantasy covers but the biggest bonus is we see his pencils and colour preps for some of his work which is very revealing. Sweet works in acrylics and unlike the traditional way of bringing along the colours as a whole on the painting, he literally works from left to right on the canvas.

If you’re into Tolkien, there are a couple from there but the diversity across the fantasy range is interesting. Probably the most common denominator is good range of colour, backgrounds and horses. Did I say his covers sold a lot of books? There are some Science Fiction covers towards the end but not nearly enough.

Darrell Sweet died in 2011 at the age of 77. Even if you’re unsure about tracking down this book, have a look at his art on goggle and let the imagery speak for itself.

GF Willmetts

August 2017

(pub: FPG, 1996. 128 page indexed illustrated softcover. Price: I pulled a copy for £ 5.50 (UK) so look around. ISBN: 1-887569-12-X)

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