Art as Inspiration to Write: Michael Whelan's Stormbringer

     Enjoying paperback book cover art has been one of my guilty pleasures since I was a kid. If there was paperback cover art to be stared at, well I stared at it. Sometimes that was my ultimate goal going into the library. I did read as well, but there were some days I would just consume paperback cover art. Well there have been some covers that impacted me more than others. Some of them even inspired me to write. I thought I would share one of the most impactful.

     This is a painting by Michael Whelan of Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné, the doomed and dark albino cursed with the fickle sword Stormbringer. The series is pretty much one of the defining works of dark fantasy in terms of genre. The painting was completed in 1977. Michael Whelan drew several Elric paintings for Michael Moorcock's books. I love that it is essentially green with some areas of contrast. Elric is holding the magic sword high, by this point knowing it is an instrument of destruction but still he wields It. The cover caught my attention so many years ago amid stacks of paperbacks in the library. It is what drew me to the Elric series to begin with and it inspired me to create a world in which some of my own stories take place. It is one of my favorite images of all time. According to Michael Whelan's website, the publisher was not happy that it was so green and they thought the book would not sell as a result. Well. 

     What paperback covers have inspired you?


Here is Michael Whelan's website.


Stormbringer cover art by Michael Whelan