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In Memoriam: SF Artist Tim White

We’re sorry to report the passing of British SF artist Tim White

We’re sorry to report the passing of British SF artist Tim White, who died on 6th April 2020 after a long period of poor health.

Tim White when he was at his height as an artist. Photo courtesy Tim's family, with thanks
Tim White when he was at his height as an artist. Photo courtesy Tim’s family, with thanks
Tim White’s cover art for Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny, published in 1970
Tim White’s cover art for Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny, published in 1970

A prolific SF cover artist from the 1970s, debuting in 1974 with a cover on the cover of Arthur C. Clarke‘s The Other Side of the Sky, through the 1990s, White’s career as an SF artist followed a two-year stint working in advertising.

His early credits include cover paintings for publisher New English Library and their fondly-remembered Science Fiction Monthly.

Born in Erith, Kent, even before the age of five, Timothy Don White had chosen his future path in life and had decided that he wanted to be an artist. After leaving school he entered art college in 1968 to further pursue his ambition and had his first work published, titled “Blue Empress” by the Splash poster company in London in 1969.

Other black and white works were also used by alternative lifestyle magazines during his college years, the fantasy theme of his work well established.

The galaxy’s biggest Christmas cracker, illustrated by Tim White for Science Fiction Monthly, November 1975

Leaving art college in the early 1970s, Tim worked in several advertising studios to gain experience, then received several commissions in 1974, for interior work from the large format science fiction magazine Science Fiction Monthly, published by New English Library.

Later that same year, he received his first book cover commission from the same publishers, for a hardcover science fiction book from NEL – Monument by Lloyd Biggle Jnr.

Art by Tim White for the cover of Monument by Lloyd Biggle Jnr - also used for a paperback edition
Art by Tim White for the cover of Monument by Lloyd Biggle Jnr – also used for a paperback edition

His first paperback book cover commission was for Arthur C. Clarke‘s The Other Side of the Sky, published by Corgi Books in 1975 and he went on to illustrate the covers of hundreds of books on themes of science fiction and fantasy by many well known authors, including Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, August Derleth, Robert A. Heinlein, H. P. Lovecraft, Bob Shaw, Bruce Sterling, E.C. Tubb and A.E. van Vogt.

Tim White’s cover art for Assignment in Eternity, Volume One by Robert A. Heinlein, 1977
Tim White’s cover art for Assignment in Eternity, Volume One by Robert A. Heinlein, 1977
The Lion Game by James H. Schmitz (1979) - art by Tim White
The Lion Game by James H. Schmitz (1979) – art by Tim White
Tim White's art for a modern edition of Gather, Darkness by Fritz Leiber
Tim White’s art for a modern edition of Gather, Darkness by Fritz Leiber
Isaac Asimov - Foundation's Edge - art by Tim White
Isaac Asimov – Foundation’s Edge – art by Tim White
The Best Short Stories of Fredric Brown, published by New English Library in 1982. Art by Tim White
The Best Short Stories of Fredric Brown, published by New English Library in 1982. Art by Tim White

He was also responsible for Mouches, a wordless graphic novel, published by Alexander Mosley Publications in 1983, and also published in France.

The cover of Mouches, a wordless graphic novel by Tim White
The cover of Mouches, a wordless graphic novel by Tim White
Art from Mouches, a wordless graphic novel by Tim White
Art from Mouches

Nominated for six British Science Fiction Association Awards for Best Artist from 1981-86, and winning in 1983, aside from paintings and drawings for books, Tim also created work in bronze and made jewellery pieces.

In later years, he was also creative in the computer field, working on in-game graphics for computer games and related conceptual works. His work has appeared in and on magazines, newspapers, TV advertisements, CD and video covers, trading cards, calendars, postcards, and much more.

“He was an icon in the 1970s and early 80s, with many book covers,” noted fellow artist Bob Eggleton on his passing, sentiments shared by Chris Achilléos.

“He had health issues for a long time, so this was not related to COVID-19.”

“This is a sad day for his family and for our profession,” commented artist Paul Youll, “a truly wonderful artist who inspired me as a starry eyed kid to wanting to become an artist not because I loved art but because I loved Science Fiction and Science Fiction art especially his

“My biggest regret is, I never got to meet him to tell him how important he was to the sci-fi art community and will always be, he will be remembered as one of the truly great sci-fi artist and not because he won some bullshit awards but because of his breath taking art.”

Our sympathies to family and friends.

• Timothy Don White, born 4th April 1952, died 5th April 2020

• Tim’s work was collected in The Science Fiction and Fantasy World of Tim White (1981), Chiaroscuro (1988) and Mirror of Dreams (1994)

WEB LINKS

Tim White – Art Endeavours – Facebook Page

Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Tim White

Tim White – Fantasy Artist (Facebook Group)

A Gallery of Tim White art and book covers on Art of Earna – be aware some of Tim’s contains nudity and if you are at all offended, don’t visit!

• Comic Art Fans: Tim White art

• There is an incomplete Wayback Archive of Tim White’s original official web site here (2015)

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

4 replies on “In Memoriam: SF Artist Tim White”

Tim was my brother. This was a lovely tribute but… His name was Timothy Don White (after his dad). Where the Timothy Thomas Anthony White came from I have no idea. It appeared a while ago, I tried to get it fixed the first time I saw it but no one would listen and so the error continues. It would be nice if that mistake was finally put straight after all these years.

Thank you! His daughter Lucy and his grand-daughter Alicia cared for him at the end. If he was put in a home, no one would be able to visit and they were determined he wouldn’t die alone with strangers in unfamiliar surroundings. We still can’t visit until the funeral, which isn’t quite what any of us had in mind when he first showed signs of the brain cancer just before Christmas. Our family is close despite the fact we all live so far apart, and not to be together at this time is beyond stressful. His daughter’s goodbye is heartbreaking and beautiful. https://www.facebook.com/lucy.angel.hyde/posts/10218985290836895

Hi John, I’m Tim’s daughter. I’d like to thank you for writing such a lovely tribute for my Dad, and for fixing his name. Art was Dad’s life, and despite living reclusively I know the fact it moved and inspired people meant everything to him.

At some point I will gather his remaining works and exhibit them together for everyone’s enjoyment.

Best wishes,

Lucy.

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