The Sunday Salon: The Cover Art of Elizabeth Malczynski

So there I was, in the local Goodwill. There’s really no pressing reason for me to ever venture into the Denver suburbs again, so why not? My retail senses were blinking sluggishly off and on, so I went through the whole store in a more expedient version than my usual trawl. (Actual source: a luridly printed blazer that stayed where it was, as I could not figure out how to style it.) Picking through the books (which were wildly organized, which disoriented me completely), I found a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsinger in exactly the condition I like: a paperback from the seventies with gloriously yellow pages and a brightly illustrated cover. I glanced through the copyright page to find the artist, but only discovered who it was when I scrutinized the the upper right hand corner of the drawing: Elizabeth Malczynski.

Elizabeth Malczynski (sometimes credited as Elizabeth Malczynski Littman, her married name) is an illustrator and artist specializing in fantasy art, especially dragons and fairies. While she mostly paints original fantasy pieces and exhibits them at conventions, speculative fiction fans know her name from her covers for a handful of books in the seventies: Dragonsong, Fantastic Imagination II, Gloriana, Dragonsinger, Song of the Pearl, Night Wings, Dragondrums, Engine Summer, and The Beginning Place. And it’s these covers that I like the most.

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey. Bantam 1978. Cover artist Elizabeth MalczynskiWhat drew me to the cover in the bookstore was the face of the adult woman on the cover. Now, I’ve never read Dragonsong, but I assume that Menolly is one of the young girls and that the adult woman is one of her teachers. The way she carries herself, her bright and comfortable clothing, and the way she’s reaching up to brush her lovely curls out of her face… I’m already intrigued by this character and want to know more about her. The same goes for the woman in the beautiful headdress on the back cover; the way she holds her head, the way her costume is a riff on a nun’s habit, and her outstretched arms. I want to read about these characters, and that’s the best work a piece of cover art unique to a book can do.

You can find Malczynski online at her website, the Dragon Studio, or on her Facebook page. She does have a blog, but it was last updated in May of 2012. You can also buy original artwork and prints at her website’s shop. FairyRoom, a blog focused on enchantment, interviewed her in two parts last year.

I don’t know how this program can be so exhausting and still go by so fast. Next week is my last week at the Denver Publishing Institute. After that? Um… I’m working on it. Have I mentioned how much I hate actually occupying liminal spaces? I’m like a dog: if I go off my routine, I am disgruntled.

This week’s links:

This week’s acquistions:

Purchased: None
Added: Call Me Puke by Mark Sieve (researching this post), Well Met by Rachel Lee Rubin (researching this post), Wired Love by Ella Cheever Thayer (via Aja Romano), Glaciers by Alexis Smith (via class)

Who is your favorite cover artist, especially if you’ve discovered them recently?

3 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: The Cover Art of Elizabeth Malczynski

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Salon: The End of Summer | The Literary Omnivore

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