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In Memory of Darrell K. Sweet


Jason Denzel

Darrell K. Sweet, the artist who painted the U.S. book covers to fourteen Wheel of Time novels, has passed away. He was 77 years old.

 

Mr. Sweet's artwork has graced the covers of hundreds of novels, magazines, and other mediums. An icon of the industry, Darrell became widely celebrated in the 1980's, into the 90's. His style and colorful renderings set the standard for the industry at the time. At the time of his passing, Mr. Sweet was actively working on the book cover for A Memory of Light, the final Wheel of Time novel. It remains unfinished, and it is currently unclear as to whether or not we will ever see it.

 

On a personal note, the highest compliment I can give Mr. Sweet is that his artwork led me to read Robert Jordan's books. I was transfixed by the cover to The Dragon Reborn where Rand is reaching for Callandor. So captivated by this cover, I purchased the previous two novels just so that I would get a chance to read the third book with that great cover. It's quite possible that had it not been for that cover, I would never have read the series which has so heavily impacted my life. Thank you, Darrell, for inspiring me, and so many others.

 

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Here's most of Darrell K. Sweet's published Wheel of Time artwork. (Click each one to see it in our gallery)

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_1425.jpg' alt='The Eye Of The World' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_246972.jpg' alt='The Great Hunt' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_298959.jpg' alt='The Dragon Reborn' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_644007.jpg' alt='The Shadow Rising' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_134354.jpg' alt='The Fires Of Heaven' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_12382.jpg' alt='Lord Of Chaos' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_718837.jpg' alt='A Crown Of Swords' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_193996.jpg' alt='The Path Of Daggers' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_198465.jpg' alt='Winters Heart' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_74367.jpg' alt='Crossroads Of Twilight' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_250091.jpg' alt='Knife Of Dreams' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_832981.png' alt='The Gathering Storm' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_342879.jpeg' alt='Towers of Midnight.jpeg' width="400" border="1" />

 

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_50363.jpg' alt='New Spring' width="400" border="1" />

 

And just for fun, here's one more image Darrell did for Dragon magazine years ago:

src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_670694.jpg' alt='Perrin Aybarra: Dragon magazine print cover' width="400" border="1" />

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RIP Darrel K Sweet. Were it not for your incredibly small Moiraine on the cover of the Eye of the World I would never have discovered this incredible series.

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Wow, I am actually speechless. Whatever you thought about his art for the Wheel of Time, he was an icon. I had so hoped he'd be allowed to finish the series with us. Very sad just now and still processing my emotions on the subject. Rest in Peace, Darrel K. Sweet.

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I posted this on our social networks today:

 

I've had the privilege of seeing (and holding) the unfinished #AMOL book cover that Darrel Sweet was working on before he died. While his unfinished #AMOL cover wasn't perfect (it was only a 1st draft), I think it's his most emotionally evocative cover in the series. I emailed Team Jordan and Irene Gallo (Tor's Art Director) suggesting they include the art on the inside flap of the book along with a blurb about him. Yes, I hav pictures of it, but it is not my place to release it. Tor and Team Jordan would be the ones to do so, at the proper time.

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I am so sad over this news! I loved DKS' covers although they always seemed to illicit some controversy. Jason, do you believe there is ANY potential they will use the first draft and another artist to finish the piece? Or are you suspecting they are gonna go the route of an entirely new cover? I was under the impression the cover was further along and BS said we may actually see it by the new year. Oh well...I'm sure whatever Team Jordan and TOR decides it will be respectful and do as much justice to continuity as possible. RIP Mr. Sweet.

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Wow, sad news. While I was not the biggest fan of his artwork, I too got hooked on the series with the cover of Eye of the World. As Brandon stated before, the cover screams epic and it definitely got me hooked. RIP Mr. Sweet, and thank you for sharing your art with us.

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The Eye of the World cover is just plane iconic. I will never forget seeing it for the first time when a friend of mine was reading it in our school library. RIP Mr. Sweet. You did a wonderful service to WOT fans and to Robert Jordan himself. I would not have read the WOT with out your work.

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RIP Darrell Sweet. I hope your artwork makes it to AMoL in one form or another. You certainly influenced me in picking up this amazing series. You have done some amazing artwork. Have to admit I'm not a fan of the gathering storm artwork though. Thanks.

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I owe my long love of The Wheel of Time to Darrell Sweet.

 

I was visiting my parents many years ago when I mother handed me a book. (Books have a long tradition as a "just because" gift in our family.) "It looked like one of those books you like," she said. It was a new release by an author I'd never heard of, The Eye of the World. Thanks Mom.

 

And thank you Mr. Sweet.

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The cover of 'The Path of Daggers' is half of the reason why I started reading WoT, and is still one of my favorite covers for any book. It's a shame he was unable to finish this series with his covers (both good and not so good). His artwork was a huge contribution to the fantasy fiction genre, and he will be missed.

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Such mixed feelings about this. I hated his covers, all of them. He's a great artist (freely admit it, great talent) but the covers seemed to barely touch RJ's descriptions.

 

On the other hand, the last book not having a Sweet cover just seems so very very wrong. It will seem out of place.

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Wow. RIP DKS. Many people complained of his art but many more loved it. It drew us to pick up that first book, whether it was The Eye of the World or Towers of Midnight. It was a gateway that led us into RJ's world. Ask a hundred of us to paint you the images we best thought fit as covers, you would have a hundred different images. Ask us to draw the same scene, you would have a hundred different faces for each character. Such is the wonder of RJ making his tale vivid in our minds, the tale in our own making in our imaginations. DKS put to fine work what many of us could not even attempt outside the canvas of our minds. May the Mother welcome you into her last embrace, and the Creator shelter you in the palm of His hand.

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He seemed like a pretty cool guy when I met him. Even drew a little picture for me in my DragonCon program.

 

If it was my decision, I'd use his last piece of concept work with a new artist finishing it up simply because it's reminiscent of RJ dying and Sanderson finishing up his concept. It'd be appropriate.

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God rest your Soul Mr. Sweet... You justified the quote "Judging A Book By Its Cover" on a positive note. And now that you're gone, reading Fantasy will never be the same. Who could parallel your genius? Only the Creator himself.

Thank you so kindly Mr. Sweet for the inspiration that saved the lives of the multitude... Including me. It was in part because of your Artworks we have gone through life...

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...you pick up a Fantasy book sometimes (that is my tradition, at least) because of the cover art. But it is true that the artwork also contributes to the atmosphere of what you're reading, and even experience the full impact of what you've read if not for it. Who would've thought that had it not been for the cover art, I would have never gave Fantasy so much as an attention to when I was teenage book-nerd.

I am indebted to Mr. Sweet for introducing me to Fantasy and I would be remiss if I didn't at least make an honorable mention to how much I appreciate the lovely gift he left to the Fantasy & Science Fiction communities and to the world...

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Thank you for posting these - I made a desktop theme of them, so the images appear as my desktop background. Seeing them in full that way makes me grateful for Sweet's contribution to our image of the WOT.

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R.I.P. I came upon this series of books just a year ago as I was recovering from spinal surgery. The covers caught my eye and I had to read more to find out about it. The further I read, the more I became engrossed in the story. I am so sorry to hear that the cover artist and the author are both gone. My they rest in peace and may more become engrossed in their stories that they left behind.

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