The Rape of the Sun by Ian Wallace (DAW 1982). Preliminary sketch and final cover by David B. Mattingly

As a teenaged science fiction and fantasy fan growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, I loved DAW Books. They had some great authors and great cover art, and all those yellow spines looked sweet next to each other on the bookshelf.

As some of you may know, I collect and sell original SF and fantasy art. I’ve been fortunate enough over the years to acquire a number of those DAW cover paintings that I admired growing up. Recently I was given on consignment one of the cooler items that I’ve sold. This was a sketchbook, compiled by artist David Mattingly, containing 34 preliminaries. Mattingly had glued a preliminary to each right hand page. The sizes of the preliminaries varied, but they generally ranged between roughly 4.25” x 7” to 6” x 8”. There were clearly more pages at some point that had been cut out; presumably these contained other preliminaries that were sold separately over the years. Mattingly had given each preliminary a number; these ran from 62 through 113, in order, with gaps for missing pages.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing preliminaries, as they give a glimpse into the artist’s process as well as, in the case of preliminaries there were rejected, a view of what might have been. Most of the prelims in the sketchbook weren’t for DAW books – there were many for Del Rey/Ballantine Books as well as SF digests – but ten of them were. I thought that fellow DAW enthusiasts might enjoy seeing these earlier cover concepts.

[Click the images to embiggen.]

Ian Wallace was a regular DAW contributor between 1974 and 1982. His The Rape of the Sun (DAW Collectors #468), published in 1982, was his final novel. Mattingly’s prelim here has little in common with the final painting; I found his note to Don Wollheim at the bottom of it to be quite interesting.

The Anarch Lords by A. Bertram Chandler (DAW 1981). Preliminary sketch and final cover by David B. Mattingly

Another DAW regular was A. Bertram Chandler. Many of his DAW books were from his John Grimes series, including The Anarch Lords published in 1981 (DAW Collectors #449). The dirigible here is similar to that on the finished cover, as is the concept of the fly-by, but again, this prelim was not selected as the basis for the final cover.

Serpent’s Reach by C. J. Cherryh (DAW 1980). Preliminary sketch and final cover by David B. Mattingly

C.J. Cherryh was one of DAW’s biggest finds; her first published novel appeared from them in 1976. The first book in her Alliance-Union series, Serpent’s Reach, was published by them in 1980 (DAW Collectors #396). The prelim here shares the giant alien with the finished cover, but the finished piece removes several of the other elements and tones down the action to focus on the heroine.

The Gray Prince by Jack Vance (DAW 1982). Preliminary sketch and final cover by David B. Mattingly

Jack Vance was a popular and prolific author long before DAW published any of his work, but they did publish several of his novels. Among these are four that are represented in the Mattingly sketchbook.

The first is The Gray Prince, which saw print in several other editions before being published by DAW in 1982 (DAW Collectors #473). The prelim here was chosen as the concept for the cover, and is very similar to the finished painting.

Trullion: Alastor 2262 by Jack Vance (DAW 1981). Preliminary sketch and final cover by David B. Mattingly

The second is for the first book in Vance’s Alastor series, Trullion: Alastor 2262, published by DAW in 1981 (DAW Collectors 418) as a reprint of this novel. The sketchbook contained black and white sketch #2, which was the basis for the finished cover.

Marune: Alastor 933 by Jack Vance (DAW 1981). Preliminary sketches #4 and #3, and final cover by David B. Mattingly

The third is Marune: Alastor 933 (DAW Collectors #419), the second in his Alastor series, with the 1981 DAW edition being a reprint.

The Mattingly prelim for this (labeled #4, presumably of four prelim concepts Mattingly created for consideration by DAW) was not used and bears no relation to the finished piece. However, his black and white sketch #3 is the concept that was selected for the book.

Wyst: Alastor 1716 by Jack Vance (DAW 1981). Preliminary sketches #1, #4, #4 (color), and final cover by David B. Mattingly

The fourth is Wyst: Alastor 1716, the third and final book in Vance’s Alastor series. This book had originally been published by DAW in 1978, but was reprinted in 1981 with new Mattingly cover art. The Mattingly covers for the Alastor series all share a similar cover design, with two central figures against a background of human and alien portraits.

The color sketch here is the one chosen for the final; an earlier version is also here as black and white sketch #4. Black and white sketch #1, which was also in the sketchbook, was obviously an idea that went unused.

All images are copyright by David Mattingly.

Doug is a collector of pulps, as well as of pulp, science fiction and fantasy art. He co-founded and co-organizes the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. For many years his Tattered Pages Press published the pulp fanzine Pulp Vault, as well as other books on the pulps. He was one of the authors of The Adventure House Guide to Pulps, and has edited several pulp anthologies, including the Best of Adventure series. His book, Uncovered: The Hidden Art Of The Girlie Pulps, an in-depth study of the spicy pulps and their art, was named ForeWord Magazine‘s 2003 Popular Culture Book of the Year. In 2013, Bob Weinberg, Bob Garcia and he collaborated on The Collectors’ Book of Virgil Finlay, a collection of Finlay’s gorgeous art. The Art of the Pulps, which he co-edited with Bob Weinberg and Ed Hulse, won the 2018 Locus Award for Best Art Book.

Doug’s last article for Black Gate was Forry Ackerman’s First SF Art.

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These are gorgeous–I also love looking at prelims and seeing how they compare to the final product. Mattingly should publish a collection of these, if he hasn’t already.

The ’70s and ’80s were the golden age for DAW–they published and / or reprinted many of my favorite books at the time.

Thank you for sharing these with us!

Barry Traylor

Nice to see the prelims, I read quite a few of these pb’s back then thanks for posting them, Doug

George Kelley

I remember all those DAW covers! Loved David Mattingly’s work. Thank you for sharing these sketches and final covers!

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