Youll, Paul

Tagged: Art

(1965-    ) British artist, identical twin brother of artist Stephen Youll. The younger of the two twins, Paul at first worked in tandem with his brother, as they studied art together at Durham's New College and Sunderland University and launched their careers by working collaboratively. Their first book cover, for Daniel Keys Moran's Emerald Eyes (1988), depicted a masked soldier wielding a machine gun while incongruously holding a baby. For the next few years, the Youlls painted a number of other covers, including an interesting portrayal of Alien space pilots surveying a planetary landscape for Dave Wolverton's On the Way to Paradise (1989), but they split up when Stephen moved to New York City while Paul remained in Britain.

Since that time, Paul has worked steadily as a cover artist, producing over 200 covers for various science fiction and fantasy novels, but he has suffered from the perception that his brother is the better artist; as one piece of evidence, Paul has to date received only one Chesley Award nomination – for his decorous but unremarkable portrait of an elaborately dressed woman on a throne for Elizabeth Bear's Hell on Earth (2008) – while Stephen has received ten of them, and although Stephen's work was collected in a Paper Tiger compilation, no comparable volume of Paul's work has yet appeared. Certainly, one finds in his work any number of very ordinary depictions of handsome warriors and glittering Spaceships, and he has been asked to illustrate many lesser works that could be aptly described as uninspiring, such as several Star Wars novels. Even when provided with more distinguished assignments, his work can be disappointing, like the elaborately garish railroad he painted for the cover for a 2001 edition of Ian McDonald's Desolation Road (1998). Yet there are flashes of genuine creativity in some covers, like his ominous alien confronting a human astronaut for Ray Aldridge's The Emperor of Everything (1992), or his evocative Martian landscape covered by enigmatic structures for Kage Baker's The Empress of Mars (2009), and Paul is still young enough to continue evolving as an artist. Perhaps, then, he will someday outperform his more admired sibling. [GW]

Paul Youll

born Hartlepool, County Durham: 8 June 1965

died

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