The Sword, 2016

It’s possible that Laurence Schwinger is one of those artists you know but don’t know that you know. At least that much was true for me.

His artistic fingerprint adorns countless book covers, beckoning readers into the captivating worlds within. If you’ve delved into the realms created by David Eddings or Andre Norton, you’ve likely encountered Schwinger’s visual magic. To a lesser extent, if you’ve read a bit of Anne Rice, Marion Zimmer Bradley (not a stellar example considering what we know now, but we’re familiar with the name, which is my point), or Alan Garner, you’re probably familiar with his art, as well.

Particularly thrilling to me: a glance at his online portfolio reveals an intriguing array of works, including a tantalizing glimpse at a cover for Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wind At The Door--though I am uncertain as to whether that imagery ever found its way to the public eye by way of the publisher. But as I think you know, we’re big fans of a Madeleine L’Engle book cover around these parts!

A jolt of recognition shot through me as I discovered Laurence Schwinger’s art had been gracing my shelves all along – he was the artist behind the haunting cover of Octavia Butler’s Kindred – a story I’d cherished for years. I felt an absolute need to secure the cover art for The Art of Fantasy, then in the works. Permission from the artist – essential. And miraculously–secured! About the piece I wrote:

“From phantasmal spectres to mythic beings to epic adventures, the intriguing portfolio of Laurence Schwinger includes fantastical fodder across many genres, and his book cover roster is a masterful Who’s Who of beloved contemporary fantasy authors. Many of the artist’s visions have a multi-layered, hazy atmosphere and a gorgeously subdued color palette, and his cover art for pre-eminent twentieth-century science fiction and fantasy writer Octavia E. Butler takes that a step further. In this earth- and flesh-toned moody, evocative conjuration of the author’s most popular and enduring work, our eyes are drawn to the two figures – each drawn to the other through time – with the negative space between them cleverly forming the top half of an hourglass.”

Fall of the House of Usher


Ghost Story 3

Schwinger’s artistic odyssey transcends the boundaries of genre, forging a path that traverses the rugged landscapes of Westerns, the tender realm of romance, the cosmic expanse of sci-fi, and the eerie domain of horror. This journey demonstrates his remarkable versatility and shape-shifting ability to adapt, seamlessly integrating his visual language into diverse narratives by various authors.

The contrasting nature of his style further enhances the mystique – from the gilded intricacies that grace fantastical epics to the haunting, foggy washes that veil tales of the eerie unknown, Schwinger’s art refuses to be confined. I mean…the guy also likes to paint a beautiful, glossy pepper! So many multitudes!

Here are a few more works below that I particularly enjoy…

A Wind At The Door


The Owl Service


The Glass Flame


Black-Eyed Susans


Dracula’s Castle


Dr. Frankenstein


Illustration from Typhoid Mary


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