Michael Whelan is an American artist of imaginative realism, formerly working for over 30 years as an illustrator specializing in science fiction and fantasy before devoting all his work to a fine art career.
His art has appeared on over 350 book and magazine covers, including many Stephen King novels, most of the Del Rey editions of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series, Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and Dragon Star series, the DAW editions of Michael Moorcock's Elric books, numerous DAW editions of C. J. Cherryh's work, many of Robert A. Heinlein's novels including Friday and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, the Ace editions of H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy novels, and Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Otherland, and Shadowmarch series. Whelan provided covers and interior illustrations for Stephen King's The Gunslinger and The Dark Tower, the first and last of his Dark Tower books.
Whelan's work can also be seen on the cover of The Jacksons' Victory album, Sepultura's Beneath the Remains, Arise, Chaos A.D. and Roots albums, Soulfly's Dark Ages, Obituary's Cause of Death, and every album by Elric-influenced metal band Cirith Ungol. He also provided original paintings for the covers of Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell and The Very Best of Meat Loaf albums and provided several of his older paintings for the inner booklet of the former. Whelan recently painted the cover art for thrash metal band Evile's album Infected Nations.
Since the mid-1990s he has pursued a career as a gallery artist, selling his non-commissioned paintings in galleries in the United States as well as privately through his Web site. In addition to his fine art work, Whelan has continued to receive awards for his illustrations. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in June 2009.