Stevenson, David

Tagged: Art

(?   -    ) American book designer and artist, sometimes credited as Dave Stevenson and sometimes erroneously credited in references as David or Dave Stephenson. Obtaining biographical information is complicated by the fact that there are other artists with this name, but it is known that this David Stevenson has lived in New York and worked for Random House since the 1990s, and he now serves the company as a Senior Art Director, overseeing books published by Random House and affiliated imprints like Del Rey Books and Bantam/Spectra. He has been credited as the cover artist for a number of prominent books, clearly perceived as requiring no special artwork to attract purchasers, that have offered little in the way of genuine illustration; for the cover of Arthur C Clarke's 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997), for example, Stevenson simply foregrounded an image of the iconic monolith eclipsing a Star, while the wraparound jacket for Terry Brooks's novelization of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999) only featured photographs of the film's stars Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson. He is, in fact, best known for his covers for various Star Wars novels, which unsurprisingly tend to feature portraits of key characters.

For other books deemed less likely to sell themselves, however, Stevenson has provided covers that are more than artful arrangements of text, faces, and simple objects: for Jill Morrow's Angel Cafe (2003), he produced an evocative image of a winged woman soaring upward, rendered entirely in shades of dark blue, while Mark Charan Newton's Nights of Villjamur (2010) was provided with the effectively subdued background of a misty, snow-covered city. Another cover, for Lane Robins's Maledicte (2007), was a nice portrait of a dark-haired woman wearing an elaborate mask which earned a Chesley Award nomination for cover illustration, an unusual honour for someone who does not specialize in cover art. (He has also received seven Chesley Award nominations as Best Art Director.) Since Stevenson seems unlikely to abandon his day job, though, most of his covers will no doubt continue to be more functional than aesthetically pleasing. [GW]

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