Rowena Morrill

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Rowena Morrill
Born 14 September 1944
Nationality American
Known for Cover Art, Painting, Illustration
Movement Fantastic art
Painting by Rowena Morrill depicting Isaac Asimov enthroned with symbols of his life's work

Rowena A. Morrill (born 1944) is an American artist, working in science-fiction and fantasy illustration. She is credited as being one of the first women artists to impact paperback cover illustration.[1] Books of her own work have included The Fantastic Art of Rowena, Imagine (in France), Imagination (in Germany), and The Art of Rowena. She has also been included in many anthologies, such as, Tomorrow and Beyond and Infinite Worlds.

Morrill received a BA from the University of Delaware in 1971, following which she studied at the Tyler School of Arts.[1] After being dropped from Tyler's program, she took a job at an advertising agency in New York, eventually showing her portfolio to Charles Volpe at Ace Books, who commissioned a romance cover from her.[1] Her first cover for a horror novel was for Jane Parkhurst's Isobel in 1977.[1] She continued to work in horror, producing cover art for H.P. Lovecraft collections before turning her attention to science fiction and fantasy covers.[2]

Morrill's technique uses oil on illustration board, coating the paintings with a high-gloss glaze and thin coats of paint.[1]

Her paintings have appeared on hundreds of book covers, on calendars, portfolios, trading cards and in magazines such as Playboy, Omni, Art Scene International, and Print Magazine.

She has created several book cover works for the fantasy and science fiction authors Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, Samuel R. Delany, Piers Anthony and Madeleine L'Engle.[3]

She has been nominated for the Hugo Award five times, once for her book The Fantastic Art of Rowena Morrill and four times in the Best Artist category.[4] In 1984, she received the British Fantasy Award.[4]

She was named Artist Guest of Honor for Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, held in 2012.[5]

Following the fall of Baghdad, Morrill's paintings King Dragon and Shadows Out of Hell were discovered hanging in a townhouse belonging to Saddam Hussein.[6]

Rowena taught painting classes at The Kubert School in 1990-91 and from 2008-2011.

She is credited under multiple names, including Rowena, Rowena Morrill, and Rowina Morril.[n 1]

Alleged plagiarism of Morrill's work[edit]

In 2003, a Flash animation slideshow titled "Family Art Corner" was released anonymously, alleging that a woman named Jan McRae had plagiarized the work of many artists, including Morrill, for reproduction in proselytization tracts printed by the Children of God cult.[7][8] After the slideshow was released, both McRae and Karen Zerby, leader of the Children of God, acknowledged that McRae had copied the work of others, and McRae admitted wrongdoing.[9]


  1. ^ "Rowina Morril" may be a typo, but has been used in multiple works even where the signature on the cover artwork is clearly "Rowena". The 22nd printing of Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey is an example of this alternate name credit.


  1. ^ a b c d e Frank, Jane (2009). A Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists of the Twentieth Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. pp. 351–3. ISBN 978-0-7864-3423-7. 
  2. ^ Di Fate, Vincent (1997). Infinite Worlds. New York, NY: Wonderland Press. p. 226. ISBN 0-670-87252-0. 
  3. ^ Morrill, Rowena; Vallejo, Doris. "The Art of Rowena" .Paper Tiger, 2000, ISBN 1855857782
  4. ^ a b Rowena Morrill, Locus Index to SF Awards.
  5. ^ Rowena Morrill, Chicon 7.
  6. ^ Goldiner, Dave (2003-04-15). "Shag-dad art is mine!". New York Daily News (New York). 
  7. ^ Plagiarized art at
  8. ^ A Spanish version of the slideshow: Part 1, Part 2
  9. ^ Which Comes First: The Revelation or the Artwork?,

External links[edit]