Entry updated 31 August 2018. Tagged: Artist.
(1940-2014) British artist. His academic background was in modern languages, not art, and he taught French and German for several years until the popularity of his paintings allowed him to focus exclusively on his art. His early sf book covers stood out for a number of reasons: an appealingly childlike aura, unusual creativity, meticulous attention to detail, and bright, surprising colours. It is difficult to single out particular examples, but his cover for the 1973 paperback edition of Robert A Heinlein's The Best of Robert A Heinlein (coll 1973), reused as the cover of The Best of Robert A Heinlein: 1939-1942 (coll 1977), might be taken as representative, a delightful rendering of an antiquarian Spaceship lifting off an alien planet with strange vegetation and a large moon while a small, four-legged Robot observes its departure. He also painted a striking portrait of a blue-skinned humanoid cleaning a strange firearm for a 1975 cover of Jack Vance's The Gray Prince (August-October 1974 Amazing Stories; 1974). While mostly noted for covers that had the ambience of Fantasy, Woodroffe could also craft impressive spacecraft flying through space, as observed on his 1976 cover for Jane Hipolito's and Willis E McNelly's anthology The Book of Mars (anth 1971 as Mars, We Love You; vt 1976) and his 1976 cover for Fritz Leiber's The Best of Fritz Leiber (coll 1974). Demonstrating his impact, the first compilation of his artwork, Mythopoeikon: Fantasies, Monsters, Nightmares, Daydreams (1976), appeared only a few years after he had started his full-time career; several others would follow.
Woodroffe continued painting book covers in the 1970s and 1980s, but these grew increasingly rare as he was preoccupied with other projects. He painted some album covers, including an image of a naked male angel looking down on a barren landscape for the cover of Judas Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny (1976). He also began writing and illustrating his own books, beginning with two children's books, Micky's New Home (1976) and Tinker: The Adventures of the Hole-Eating Duck (1976). Later works in this vein were more ambitious, including a retelling of the first five books of the Bible, The Second Earth: The Pentateuch Re-Told (graph 1987). Branching out in other areas, Woodroffe designed the creatures for the Fantasy film The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), wrote a celebratory foreword for the 1991 edition of Chris Achilleos's Medusa (1988), created some admired sculptures, and staged exhibitions of his original art throughout Europe. As he approached the age of seventy, Woodroffe understandably became less active, though posthumous compilations of his remarkable artwork may yet appear.
This artist should not be confused with the lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe (1954- ), who has some slight sf connections such as the UK stage show Batman Live (2011). [GW]
born Halifax, West Yorkshire: 27 October 1940
died Cornwall: 10 May 2014
- Micky's New Home (Cowbridge, South Glamorgan: D Brown and Sons, 1976) [published in both English and Welsh: illus/hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- Tinker: The Adventures of the Hole-Eating Duck (Limpsfield, Surrey: Dragon's World, 1976) [illus/hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony: The Birth and Death of the World (Limpsfield, Surrey: Paper Tiger, 1977) with David Greenslade [graph: written and illustrated by Woodroffe accompanied by an album of music by Greenslade: illus/hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- The Dorbott of Vacuo, or, How to live with the Fluxus Quo: A Tale of Utterly Cosmic Insignificance (Limpsfield, Surrey: Dragon's World, 1987) [foreword by Michael Heseltine: illus/hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- The Second Earth: The Pentateuch Re-Told (Limpsfield, Surrey: Dragon's World, 1987) [illus/hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- Mythopoeikon: Fantasies, Monsters, Nightmares, Daydreams (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976) [graph: pb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- Hallelujah Anyway: A Collection of Illustrated Lyrics (Limpsfield, Surrey: Dragon's World, 1984) [graph: hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- A Closer Look (Limpsfield, Surrey: Paper Tiger, 1986) [graph: hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- Pastures in the Sky (San Francisco, California: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1993) [graph: hb/nonpictorial]
- Patrick Woodroffe (Limpsfield, Surrey: Paper Tiger, 1994) [graph: a Paper Tiger Miniature: selections from Mythopoeikon with new text: hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- The Forget-Me-Not Gardener (Bulle, Switzerland: Editions Gruériennes, 2005) [graph: comic strips: binding unknown/]
- Patrick Woodroffe: Master of Fantasy (Falmouth, Cornwall: Falmouth Art Gallery, 2008) [graph: record of exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery: pb/]
- Benign Icons: Patrick Woodroffe's World (Sæby, Denmark: Edition Brusen for Fantamus-Art, 2008) [graph: introduction by Claus Brusen: hb/Patrick Woodroffe]
- Patrick Woodroffe: Text and Images
- Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Internet Movie Database
- Picture Gallery
previous versions of this entry