Thursday, September 3, 2020

Space Shuttle on a Hellish Planet

A space shuttle stranded on a hellish planet leaves its crew of five in a dangerous predicament. This image introduces William Greenleaf's 1982 science fiction novel The Tartarus Incident. 

It was also my first paperback cover as a freelance illustrator. After finishing the background paintings for Ralph Bakshi's Fire and Ice, I turned down an offer from Disney Animation and decided to take the plunge as a freelance illustrator, painting paperback covers and sending the paintings by overnight mail to New York.

13 comments:

Dave Lebow said...

An incredible painting ! It’s so interesting to also hear your early history and know that you turned down the Disney offer! You are an amazing painter and teacher and you have changed the world with your art and writing.

Zoungy said...

Hi James, what kind of work did Disney want you to do for them? Was it also background painting?

brine blank said...

Would be interesting to hear the details on the Disney Job offer and why you said no. How different do you think your career would have been had you taken that path...which for the record I'm glad you didn't.

Stephen and Nyree said...

If it's not tooo personal a question why did you turn down the job with Disney Animation?

Unknown said...

...and that made all the difference.

Joel Fletcher said...

Cool painting! I think you made the right choice in turning down Disney. There you would have been part of the collective, rather than controlling your artistic path as an individual.

Kessie said...

I love these book covers! I hope you can show us more. :-)

Vladimir Venkov said...

This is a wonderful painting James. It attracted so much that I now want to read the book.

Kat Moody said...

You made the right choice- I worked for Disney. This painting is so beautiful- a typical Gurney!

Robert Cosgrove said...

Any chance of a collection of your book covers and interior illustrations?

James Gurney said...

Hey, everybody, thanks for the nice comments. After they saw "Fire and Ice," which was released in 1983, Disney's background superviser called me over to visit the background department while they were working on "Black Cauldron." I was already doing paperback covers by then, and it didn't seem like the vibe was too electric there at Disney at the time. Little Mermaid was still quite a years in the future. Jeanette and I had already had plans to move east, so it was easy to say no. But also fun to see the inside of the MouseHouse.

doug goodale said...

I too would like to see more of your book covers and perhaps the story that goes with them.

Don Ketchek said...

I'll join the club and express my hopes that we see a collection of your book covers!