Wednesday, June 8, 2016

First Maitz: Selected Works by Don Maitz

First Maitz
Selected Works by Don Maitz
Ursus Imprints 1988

If you read sf and fantasy books at any time in the late 70s, 80s, or early 90s, then it's highly likely that at least one of those books featured cover art by Don Maitz (b. 1953).

Raised in Plainville, Connecticut, Maitz attended the Paier School of Art in Hamden, from which he graduated in 1975 - the same year he got his first commercial art assignment, for Marvel comics.

A year later, Maitz provided the cover artwork for the Science Fiction Book Club's The Book of Skaith, as well as cover art for the Dell paperback Flashing Swords 3: Warriors and Wizards, launching his prolific career as a cover artist in the sf and fantasy genres.

'First Maitz' provides artwork from Maitz's career through 1988; many of the featured pieces were commissioned by DAW Books and will be very familiar to anyone with experience with that publisher's catalog from the late 70s through the 80s.

One thing that is quickly apparent from looking through 'First Maitz' is that the author is very adept both at composing artwork with a more abstract, figurative aspect, as well as art with a more realistic tenor. Maitz's work is very much allied to that of the classic illustrators such as Maxfield Parish and N. C Wyeth. 

Each of the reproductions of Matiz's paintings is accompanied by a text description offering details of the processes by which Maitz came up with the composition and design of the illustration, as well as preliminary black-and-white sketches and the occasional reference photograph. 

Maitz makes clear that reading the book he has been assigned to illustrate is a vital component of rendering satisfactory cover art, although this action - along with all of the others associated with producing commercial art - can lead to anxiety as deadlines come due......

cover art for Flashing Swords 4, Dell, 1977

'First Maitz' (96 pp) is a well-made book; the artwork is reproduced on a finer grade of paper stock, pages are sewn into the binding (not glued), and the quality of the reproductions is very high. Copies can be had from the usual used-book online vendors for very reasonable prices. If you're a fan of fantasy and sf art, or a fan of novels in the genre from the 70s and 80s, then you may well want to get a copy of 'First Maitz'.
cover art for The Green Gods, DAW Books 1980

The Pirate, Captain Morgan Co., Baltimore, MD

cover artwork for four novels in the Bard series, Ace Books, 1981 - 1987

cover artwork for The Shadow of the Torturer, Pocket Books, 1981

cover artwork for Electric Forest, DAW Books, 1979

cover artwork for Fane, Pocket Books, 1981

cover artwork for The Purgatory Zone, Ace Books, 1981

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