(1958- ) American artist. After graduating from San Francisco's Academy of Art College in 1980, she relocated to New York City to pursue a career as a professional artist. She was soon painting a number of book covers for DAW Books, including books by Mercedes Lackey and Jo Clayton, two authors she has long been associated with. Indeed, she was especially well suited to illustrate their and others' works of Fantasy since her style at times recalled a medieval tapestry, with stiff but evocative figures intricately rendered and sometimes highlighted by metallic trim; one cover in this vein, a portrait of two female warriors against a background of eagles for Lackey's The Oathbound (1988), earned Lee a Chesley Award. She was also recognized as an Emerging Artist by a 1992 Jack Gaughan Award.
Since that time, Lee has soldiered on, mostly for DAW Books, providing many fantasies with carefully designed, brightly coloured, and pleasantly decorous covers and earning ten additional Chesley Award nominations for particular efforts; the most recent of these nominated covers, for Michelle West's Raven's Shield (2003), could be said to epitomize all of the best features of her work, as it offers a dignified rendering of a warrior and a musician within in a stylized blue forest of skulls and ghoulish faces. Yet she seems very much an artist who quickly found her comfort zone and has rarely if ever strayed from it since; one wishes that she had sought assignments to illustrate sf or Horror as an impetus to broaden her range in response to new challenges. But perhaps Lee is only a reflection of an age when predictability is more commercially viable than versatility. [GW]
Jody A Lee
born San Francisco, California: 18 June 1958
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