Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blood and Iron by Les Edwards

Blood and Iron
by Les Edwards
GW Books (UK) 1989

Les Edwards (b. 1949) is a UK illustrator and artist. He regularly produced artwork for the Games Workshop, including artwork for rule books and the magazine White Dwarf, in the 80s. He also provided cover artwork for both UK and US publishers for mass market paperbacks in the fantasy, sf, and horror genres. In the 90s, he expanded his repertoire to include artwork for comics, such as Eclipse Comic's series of graphic novels based on Clive Barker titles such as 'Rawhead Rex'. 

'Blood and Iron' (98 pp) remains the only book showcasing Edwards's artwork, and while its publication date of 1989 means that much of his catalog is not represented, it does provide some useful information about how the artist goes about working up an illustration, his techniques, and his perceptions of the commercial art world.

Many of the illustrations in Blood and Iron will be instantly recognizable to US readers, especially those who read DAW books in the late 80s, as Edwards contributed a number of cover paintings to The Year's Best Horror Stories

Other cover paintings that will be familiar to US readers include Edwards's work for the 'Cadre' trilogy by Robert O' Riordan, the cover painting for Frederik Pohl's novel Man Plus, and the cover painting for the Neil Barrett, Jr novel The Karma Corps.

It goes without saying that Edwards's work is some of the best to ever appear on fantastic literature book covers, and he stands alongside artists like Michael Whelan, Darrell K. Sweet, Jim Burns, Tim White, Paul Youll, David Mattingly, Paul Alexander, and other artists who adroitly combined a high degree of technical skill with an imaginative approach to their craft.

'Blood and Iron' is long out of print and copies in any condition are expensive. In the absence of any new compilation of Edwards's artwork, readers are directed to his website, which features an expansive collection of his older and newer commissions for book covers, private works, CD covers and sleeves, and advertising.

1 comment:

gb Designs said...

I was told there is another compilation book which includes some Les Edwards art. The person telling me could only vaguely recall the title being a generic one, like “Fantasy Art”, but he remembers his older brother owning it when he was a kid. He claims it was definitely not Blood & Iron as many illustrations in Blood & Iron were not in that book but it dud have a couple illustrations not found in Blood & Iron.

I’m on a bit of a hunt to track it down if it exists. If you should hear anything, my email is: bygeahkburchill (AT) gmail

I’m an Illustrator too, very much inspired by Edwards though far less talented and prolific.