Rowena Morrill

Last updated
Rowena Morrill
BornSeptember 14, 1944 (1944-09-14)
DiedFebruary 11, 2021(2021-02-11) (aged 76)
Known for Cover art, painting, illustration
Movement Fantastic art

Rowena A. Morrill (September 14, 1944 – February 11, 2021), also credited as Rowena and Rowina Morril, [n 1] was 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.



From a family of musicians, Rowena initially studied music. She broke off those studies when as a teenager she married a soldier. At an Army wives' club she began classes in drawing. [2]

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. She showed her portfolio to Charles Volpe at Ace Books, and 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. [3] To create these illustrations, Morrill used oil on illustration board, coating the image with a high-gloss glaze and thin coats of paint. [1]

Morrill created a number covers for books by such authors as Anne McCaffrey, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Samuel R. Delany, Theodore Sturgeon, Piers Anthony and Madeleine L'Engle. [4] 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 was nominated for the Hugo Award four times in the Best Artist category. [5] In 1983, her book The Fantastic Art of Rowena was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Nonfiction Book, and the Locus Award for Nonfiction/Reference. [6] In 1984, she received the British Fantasy Award. [5] She was named Artist Guest of Honor for Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, held in 2012. [7] She was named Guest of Honor at the 2017 World Fantasy Convention held in San Antonio, TX. She received a World Fantasy Life Achievement Award at the 2020 convention. [8]

Following the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, art which appeared to be Morrill's original paintings King Dragon and Shadows Out of Hell were discovered hanging in one of his houses. [9] [10] According to Morrill, they were copies, as she had sold the originals to a Japanese collector. [11]

Morrill died in February 2021, at the age of 76, after a long illness. [12]

The posthumous Paintings and Drawings of Rowena by Kim DeMulder was financed via a Kickstarter campaign, and has been nominated for a Locus Award for Best Illustrated and Art Book for 2023. [13] [14]

Plagiarism of Morrill's work

In 2003, a Flash animation slideshow titled "Family Art Corner" was released anonymously, alleging that a woman named Jan "Tamar" McRae had plagiarized the work of many artists, including Morrill, for reproduction in proselytization tracts printed by the Children of God cult. [15] [16] 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. [17]


  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.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kelly Freas</span> American science fiction artist

Frank Kelly Freas was an American science fiction and fantasy artist with a career spanning more than 50 years. He was known as the "Dean of Science Fiction Artists" and he was the second artist inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anne McCaffrey</span> American science fiction writer, famous for the Pern series (1926–2011)

Anne Inez McCaffrey was an American-Irish writer known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and the first to win a Nebula Award. Her 1978 novel The White Dragon became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Whelan</span> American fantasy and science fiction artist

Michael Whelan is an American artist of imaginative realism. For more than 30 years, he worked as an illustrator, specializing in science fiction and fantasy cover art. Since the mid-1990s, he has pursued a fine art career, selling non-commissioned paintings through galleries in the United States and through his website.

<i>Dragondrums</i> 1979 novel by Anne McCaffrey

Dragondrums is a young adult science fiction novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. Published by Atheneum Books in 1979, it was the sixth to appear in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne or her son Todd McCaffrey.

Mary A. Turzillo is an American science fiction writer noted primarily for short stories. She won the Nebula Award for Best Novelette in 2000 for her story "Mars is No Place for Children," published originally in Science Fiction Age. Her story "Pride," published originally in Fast Forward 1, was a Nebula award finalist for best short story of 2007.

Clyde Caldwell is an American artist. Self-described as a fantasy illustrator, he is best known for his portrayals of strong, sexy female characters.

Strange Horizons is an online speculative fiction magazine. It also features speculative poetry and nonfiction in every issue, including reviews, essays, interviews, and roundtables.

The Endeavour Award, announced annually at OryCon in Portland, Oregon, is awarded to a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book written by a Pacific Northwest author or authors and published in the previous year.

<i>Dragonsinger</i> 1977 novel by Anne McCaffrey

Dragonsinger is a young adult science fiction novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. Published by Atheneum Books in 1977, it was the fourth to appear in the Dragonriders of Pern series written by Anne McCaffrey and her son Todd McCaffrey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">70th World Science Fiction Convention</span> 70th Worldcon (2012)

The 70th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), also known as Chicon 7, was held on 30 August–3 September 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

<i>Clarkesworld Magazine</i> American online fantasy and science fiction magazine

Clarkesworld Magazine is an American online fantasy and science fiction magazine. It released its first issue October 1, 2006, and has maintained a regular monthly schedule since, publishing fiction by authors such as Elizabeth Bear, Kij Johnson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sarah Monette, Catherynne Valente, Jeff VanderMeer and Peter Watts.

The Locus Award for Best First Novel is one of the annual Locus Awards presented by the science fiction and fantasy magazine Locus. Awards presented in a given year are for works published in the previous calendar year. The award for Best First Novel was first presented in 1981. The Locus Awards have been described as a prestigious prize in science fiction, fantasy and horror literature.

Premios Ignotus are annual Spanish literary awards that were created in 1991 by the Asociación Española de Fantasía, Ciencia Ficción y Terror. The awards, which are in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, are voted on by members of HispaCon, the national science fiction convention of Spain. The method appears to be very similar to the Hugo Awards.

The Locus Award for Best Short Story is one of a series of Locus Awards given every year by Locus Magazine. Awards presented in a given year are for works published in the previous calendar year.

Yoon Ha Lee is an American science fiction and fantasy writer, known for his Machineries of Empire space opera novels and his short fiction. His first novel, Ninefox Gambit, received the 2017 Locus Award for Best First Novel.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Mexican Canadian novelist, short story writer, editor, and publisher.

Peggy Rae Sapienza, was a science fiction fan, con-runner, and promoter of science fiction fandom. She made memorable contributions to Noreascon III in Boston, the 1989 Worldcon, partnering with Fred Isaacs in conceptualizing the ConCourse, a new feature for Worldcons. A Vice Chair of the 1993 Worldcon, ConFrancisco, she served briefly as Acting Chair after the Chairman died, until a new chairman was appointed. In 1998 she chaired BucConeer, the 56th Worldcon in Baltimore. She served as North American agent for the first Worldcon to be held in Japan, Nippon 2007; in 2010 co-chaired, and 2011 and 2012 chaired the SFWA Nebula Awards Weekends; and was Fan Guest of Honor at Chicon 7, the 70th Worldcon, held in 2012. She co-chaired the 2014 World Fantasy Convention just months before she died due to complications from heart surgery.

Naomi Kritzer is an American speculative fiction writer and blogger. Her 2015 short story "Cat Pictures Please" was a Locus Award and Hugo Award winner and was nominated for a Nebula Award. Her novel, Catfishing on CatNet won the 2020 Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.

<i>Uncanny Magazine</i> American sci-fi and fantasy online magazine

Uncanny Magazine is an American science fiction and fantasy online magazine, edited and published by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, based in Urbana, Illinois. Its mascot is a space unicorn.

Alix E. Harrow is a Hugo Award-winning American science fiction and fantasy writer. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award, and Locus Award, and in 2019 she won a Hugo Award for her story "A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies". She has published under the name Alix Heintzman.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 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. Sackmann, E. Great Masters of Fantasy Art 1986 pp.58-65 ISBN 3892680086
  3. Di Fate, Vincent (1997). Infinite Worlds. New York, NY: Wonderland Press. p. 226. ISBN   0-670-87252-0.
  4. Morrill, Rowena; Vallejo, Doris (2000). The Art of Rowena. Paper Tiger. ISBN   1855857782.
  5. 1 2 Rowena Morrill, Locus Index to SF Awards. Archived January 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "sfadb : Rowena Morrill Chronology". Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  7. Rowena Morrill Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine , Chicon 7.
  8. locusmag (2020-07-27). "2020 World Fantasy Awards Finalists". Locus Online. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  9. Goldiner, Dave (2003-04-15). "Shag-dad art is mine!". New York Daily News. New York.
  10. "ERBzine 0869: ERB-Saddam Connection: Rowena". Archived from the original on 2018-08-23.
  11. "Featured Artist Interview". Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  12. "Rowena Morrill (1944-2021)". 12 February 2021. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  13. [ bare URL ]
  14. [ bare URL ]
  15. Plagiarized art at
  16. A Spanish version of the slideshow: Part 1, Part 2
  17. Which Comes First: The Revelation or the Artwork?,

Further reading