Paul Alexander (American b. 1937) is not an illustrator whose name carries any weight with me, but I recently noticed that I have several novels with cover art by “Alexander” in my collection, and following a bit of close inspection, I began to realize why, beginning in the early 1970s, SF publishers like Ace, Baen, Ballantine, Del Rey, and Fawcett, lined up to publish his work. Alexander is a dab hand at painting spaceships and machinery in the vein of John Berkey, he handles human figures and creatures just fine, thank you very much, and he obviously knows a thing or two about brushwork, composition, colour theory, and so on.
In rummaging about for a bit information about Alexander’s career, I also recently noticed that, in his 1978 book Tomorrow and Beyond: Masterpieces of Science Fiction Art, the famous art director Ian Summers selected twelve (!) paintings by Alexander for display, but only six by Paul Lehr, six by John Berkey, and six by the great Richard Powers; second in terms of numbers was Steve Hickman with nine paintings, and third was Don Maitz with eight. Alexander, Hickman, and Maitz: solid craftsmen all, but not exactly the Holy Trinity of SF artists.
But enough grousing from me! Here are today’s cover scans:
[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE]
As computers increasingly became an essential tool in commercial illustration, Paul Alexander made a decision in the late 1990s to wind down his career in commercial art. According to an anonymous online source, Alexander now lives in Greenville, Ohio, and does not own a computer. The remaining inventory of his cover art is currently on display, and for sale, at Worlds of Wonder. Prices range between a thousand and two-thousand dollars. Alexander’s original gouache painting for the cover of Ian Watson’s The Very Slow Time Machine, for instance, is exactly two thousand; the painting for Frank Herbert’s The Godmakers is only twelve hundred; and the one for Robert Silverberg’s To Live Again has been reduced from seventeen fifty to fifteen fifty. And you know, despite my reservations about Paul Alexander’s work, if I had an unlimited budget for art, I just might buy that last one. It’s a very strong image.
And one with art by Alex Ebel: