Fionavar Tapestry Cover Art

March 2001

Don and Janny greatly enjoyed the privilege of being asked to collaborate for the cover of Guy Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry trilogy. Not only is this story destined to be one of the classics in the field, it is one of the few works that is powerful enough to have drawn us away from the work we already had planned in our schedule. In short, we dropped everything to complete this painting, which is the very first time the pair of us have collaborated in the marketplace. Before this, we had shared the paintbrush only on informal occasions. How wonderful that the opportunity came to us, and for an author we admire, whose magical imagery was so rich that the problem in creating the cover image became which exquisite aspects of the story could not be included due to space and time constraints.

Don says, “We collaborated on all aspects of this project. We mutually conceived the concept as Janny did a quick conceptual pencil sketch as we were discussing how the ideas within the book might look. I finalized the drawing then we each did color versions. We agreed to use one of my color schemes. We used masonite with a hot base color and experimented with a transfer technique using oil paint as the preliminary drawing then the painting bounced from my drawing table to hers until it was done. We worked on all areas of the painting mutually with areas brought to finish by individual preference or whim.”

Janny says, “Although I used to paint for other author’s books, for the past nine years scheduling constraints have prevented my being able to do artwork for other than my own titles. There is the “mental list” of those books for which I would put my own aside – and The Fionavar Tapestry is one of the select few. The great joy of this series is in the layers upon layers of mythic complexity. I hope sincerely we were able to capture this in the cover painting that was conceived to be divided three ways to make the individual jackets for the books.”

Guy Gavriel Kay adds, “The relaunch of The Fionavar Tapestry is one of those very happy circumstances for an author. First of all there was the decision by Laura Anne Gilman, Executive Editor of ROC Books that, following upon the success of their 10th Anniversary edition of Tigana, and the ongoing sales of the Tapestry, a new trade paperback edition was called for.

“In these circumstances, new covers are sometimes (though not always) arranged for, and I was genuinely delighted when a casual discussion with my editor about Janny and Don, and my respect for both of them, turned into an offer made and accepted.

“I am aware that Janny no longer does cover art except for her own novels, and that this husband-wife pair, so influential and celebrated in the fantasy genre, had never collaborated on a professional work.

“I’m honoured that my trilogy has become the occasion for their collaborative debut, and especially touched that Janny Wurts has made this dramatic departure from her own practice of the past decade to work on these covers. Finally, but perhaps most importantly, if the author’s opinion matters, I think they’ve done splendid work with this single painting, conceived and executed to be divided into three jackets – just as Fionavar was imagined and implemented as one story, divided into three parts.”

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