Rowena Morrill

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Rowena Morrill
Born14 September 1944 (1944-09-14) (age 74)
Known forCover art, painting, illustration
MovementFantastic art

Rowena A. Morrill (born 14 September 1944) is an American artist known for her science-fiction and fantasy illustration, and is credited as one of the first female artists to impact paperback cover illustration.[1] Her notable artist monographs included The Fantastic Art of Rowena, Imagine (in France), Imagination (in Germany), and The Art of Rowena and her work has also been included in a variety of anthologies including Tomorrow and Beyond and Infinite Worlds.


Morrill received a BA from the University of Delaware in 1971 and then studied at the Tyler School of Arts.[1] in Philadelphia. After dropping out of the Tyler program, she worked for an advertising agency in New York City. After showing her portfolio to Charles Volpe at Ace Books, she was commissioned by Volpe to illustrate a romance cover.[1] Morrill's first design for a horror novel was Jane Parkhurst's Isobel (1977).[1]

Morrill continued to work in horror, producing cover art for H. P. Lovecraft collections before turning her attention to science fiction and fantasy.[2] To create these illustrations, Morrill uses oil on illustration board, coating the image with a high-gloss glaze and thin coats of paint.[1]

Morrill has created several covers for books by such authors as Anne McCaffrey, Philip Dick, Isaac Asimov, Samuel R. Delany, Theodore Sturgeon, Piers Anthony and Madeleine L'Engle.[3] As well, her paintings have appeared on hundreds of calendars, portfolios and in magazines such as Playboy, Heavy Metal, Omni, Art Scene International, and Print Magazine.

She has been nominated for the Hugo Award five times, 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 Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Morrill's paintings King Dragon and Shadows Out of Hell were discovered hanging in one of his houses.[6][7]

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.[8][9] 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.[10]


  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. 351–353. 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 (2000). The Art of Rowena. Paper Tiger. ISBN 1855857782.
  4. ^ a b Rowena Morrill, Locus Index to SF Awards. Archived January 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Rowena Morrill Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine, Chicon 7.
  6. ^ Goldiner, Dave (2003-04-15). "Shag-dad art is mine!". New York Daily News. New York.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Plagiarized art at
  9. ^ A Spanish version of the slideshow: Part 1, Part 2
  10. ^ Which Comes First: The Revelation or the Artwork?,

Further reading[edit]

  • Robert Weinberg. "Rowena Morrill". World Fantasy 1983: Sixty Years of Weird Tales (convention program book), pp. 9–10.

External links[edit]