Michael Whelan

Born Jun 29, 1950

Michael Whelan is an American artist of imaginative realism. For more than 30 years he worked as an illustrator specializing in science fiction and fantasy cover art. Since the mid-1990s he has pursued a fine art career, selling non-commissioned paintings through galleries in the United States and through his website. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Whelan in June 2009, the first living artist so honored.… Read More

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1950 Birth Born on June 29, 1950.


1968 18 Years Old By his final year of high school, his family had moved again, to San Jose, California where he graduated from Oak Grove High School in 1968. … Read More


1973 23 Years Old After graduating from San Jose State University in 1973 with a BA in Painting (as a "President's Scholar"), Whelan studied briefly at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California for nine months from 1973 to 1974.
1974 24 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1974, Whelan exhibited his work at the World Science Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C., where it was seen by Thomas Schlück, who first discovered his work and contracted to use it in European publications shortly afterwards.
1975 25 Years Old 1 More Event
Because he was already receiving offers for commissions, Whelan left the Art Center College of Design to pursue illustration full-time. In 1975, he moved to Connecticut to be near the New York City hub of the publishing industry. … Read More
1978 28 Years Old Whelan credits the 1978 publication of Anne McCaffrey's best-selling The White Dragon featuring his cover art as a turning point in his career. … Read More


1980 30 Years Old Whelan won his first Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist in 1980 at the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston.


1992 42 Years Old He went on to win the next Hugos, and at the 50th Worldcon in 1992 was voted the best professional artist of the last 50 years. … Read More
1993 43 Years Old Whelan illustrated the cover for Meat Loaf's 1993 album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell. … Read More
1997 47 Years Old In 1997, he held his first one-man art show at Tree's Place in Orleans, Massachusetts.
1999 49 Years Old Its success led to another in 1999 and his eventual semi-retirement from illustration. … Read More


2015 65 Years Old In 2015, The Stephen King Companion: Four Decades of Fear from the Master of Horror, which feature Whelan's illustrations, was published by St. Martin's Press. … Read More
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