First Maitz: Selected Works by Don Maitz (book review)

That ‘Science Fiction And Fantasy Artists Of The Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary’ brought up cover artist Don Maitz and because his work is mostly in the USA, I added one of his two books, ‘First Maitz: Selected Works’ to my list to have a look at. Those of you who are familiar with my age of book being no deterrent to reviewing shouldn’t be surprised to see me looking into the past of 1988.

Fellow artist Michael Whelan points out that Maitz always carries a locked black box, only opening to get his art out at exhibitions at the time. He secretly discovered it also contains a wizard. Whether Maitz, the wizard or them both do the work is open to debate.

This book is Maitz’ book cover work up to that period, mostly fantasy with a dash of SF. As such, even from his explanation at the beginning of the book, where nothing has really changed up to today, you prepare some options for the publisher’s cover editor and then paint the choice asked for, modifying if something isn’t quite right.

As typical of the time period, although dead areas are left for text, much of the art is linear in fashion, that is straight on with no unusual angles. As Maitz points out, covers sell books and they have to be colourful or have other attributes to ensure the browser gives them a second look. His work varies from oils to acrylics, mostly on masonite. His list of how some of his paintings have been damaged will make you think and probably explains his locked black box when he travels. It’s either that or he really does carry a small wizard in his box.

If you like to see book cover art with no text, books such as these are always worth a look and some of you should be able to latch onto it at a good price, too.

GF Willmetts

June 2017

(pub: Ursus Imprints, 1988. 96 page illustrated large hardback. Price: I got mine for £ 4.98 (UK) but prices and condition varies. ISBN: 0-942681-01-0)

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