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Craft, Kinuko Y

Entry updated 9 October 2023. Tagged: Artist.

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(1940-    ) American artist, born in Japan. After receiving a BFA from a prestigious Japanese art school, she moved to America to obtain further training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, remaining in the city first to work for several studios, and then to launch a career as a freelance professional in 1970. She initially provided her distinctive artwork for diverse publications, including magazines like Time, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic, but she came to focus more on children's books and book covers after 1980.

Craft is noted for her extraordinarily intricate and boldly coloured paintings, almost entirely featured on Fantasy novels; typical covers foreground a beautiful woman against an elaborate, colourful background. Even Craft's occasional covers for sf novels, like Patricia A McKillip's Moon-Flash (1985), have the ambience of fantasy, as that cover shows a young woman rowing down a stream past exotic creatures observing from the shore. But she can also offer surprising imagery, like her 1990 cover for Brian W Aldiss's The Malacia Tapestry (1976), showing a coastal town set against a mountain range that resembles a sleeping dragon. She won Chesley Awards for her cover for McKillip's Song of the Basilisk (1998), a richly detailed portrait of a woman playing a stringed instrument, and a Spectrum Award for her cover for Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun (1999), an unusually coloured image of a woman plucking an apple from a tree. Among other awards, she also received the Spectrum Grandmaster Award in 2001, an unusual honour for an artist whose genre career had only spanned two decades, and a World Fantasy Award in 2011. Despite her strong association with fantasy, Craft's intense, obsessive attentiveness to every facet of her subject matter can sometimes make her distinctive works seem science-fictional. [GW]

see also: Worldcon.

Kinuko Y Craft

born Kanazawa, Japan: 1940


  • Cinderella (New York: SeaStar Books, 2000) [chap: the classic fairy tale with Craft illustrations: illus/hb/Kinuko Y Craft]
  • Drawings and Paintings (Sherman Oaks, California: Imaginosis, 2007) [graph: hb/Kinuko Y Craft]
  • Myth & Magic: An Enchanted Fantasy (Portland, Oregon: Amber Lotus, 2016) [chap: graph: pb/Kinuko Y Craft]
  • Visions of Beauty (Montara, California: Borsini-Burr Inc/Imaginary Realism, 2022) [graph: hb/Kinuko Y Craft]


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