Sword and Sorcery Artists: Doug Beekman

Sunday , 3, December 2017 3 Comments









An artist with a thirty year career in paperback cover illustration is Douglas Beekman (b. 1952). The online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction states:

“After briefly studying at the Columbus College of Art and Design in his home state of Ohio, he grew dissatisfied with the school and moved to New York City to complete his training at the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League.”

Like others such as Steve Fabian and Steve Hickman, Doug Beekman started out with the Ted White era Amazing Stories and Fantastic Stories in 1976. He also had covers for D.A.W. Books, Fawcett Crest, and Belmont Tower.

Among those covers were a good number for sword and sorcery books. He did three covers for Zebra Books for David C. Smith & Richard L. Tierney and Andrew Offutt covers. The cover for David C. Smith’s The Sorcerer’s Shadow was available and thrown on the book. That scene does not exist in the novel.

Beekman did some covers for Del Rey Books for Tim Powers The Drawing of the Dark (1979), Piers Anthony The Source of Magic (1979), and Juanita Coulson’s The Death God’s Citadel (1980).

He was back with Andrew Offutt for The Sign of the Moonbow (1980). His work for sword and sorcery covers diminished in the 1980s as sword and sorcery paperbacks diminished in the 1980s.

He did do covers for Tor’s Crossroad’s Adventure series in the late 1980s. They were gaming pick your adventure books that were popular at the time. The Tor books tied into science fiction and fantasy works by David Drake, Robert Silverberg, C. J. Cherryh, Christopher Stasheff etc. Those books had nice covers.

I am pretty sure that Beekman did the cover to Blood of the Colyn Muir (1988) by Paul Edwin Zimmer and Jon DeCles. There is no signature on the cover and artist attribution on the copyright page. Avon Books put out some interesting paperbacks at that period. I would love to know who the editor was at that time.

I can remember with delight to see Doug Beekman do a couple of covers for the Tor Conan pastiche novels in the mid 1990s. I think everyone was tired of Ken Kelly’s covers by that time. Beekman’s covers were a breath of fresh air. His style had also changed over the years. He had started out very much in the Frazetta/Jeff Jones school of fantasy art. The style in the 1990s was still visibly sword and sorcery but shorn of imitation.

Beekman’s association with sword and sorcery continued in the 21st Century with covers for David Gemmell’s Sword in the Storm (2001) and Midnight Falcon (2001). Sword and sorcery had fallen on hard times and David Gemmell almost singlehandedly kept it alive from the late 1980s until his death.

Doug Beekman also did covers for Marvel’s Savage Sword of Conan in the 1980s and 90s. He has produced some classic Conan images.

Doug Beekman’s work came almost to an end in 2002. He did do a cover for NESFA Press book in 2008 and a Hungarian book in 2012.










  • Steve Ferris says:

    I loved the concepts, designs and paintstrokes Doug applied. I kept a close watch on his work over the years and did not meet him in person until 2004 and 2005 at the Stony Brook University ICON Science Fiction and Fantasy Art Shows. That was a thrill for me. Doug was a great asset to the world of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I was sorry to hear we had lost him along the way. Cheers to Doug and his fabulous career! – Steve Ferris

  • gary says:

    very under rated artist whose work is better than a lot of the more well known illustrators of the time.

  • Todd Everhart says:

    Thank you Morgan for continuing this series of articles

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