As many know, Darrell K. Sweet passed away in December before completing the final cover art for A Memory of Light, the concluding volume in Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. While it will not be the cover to the book, we are, however bittersweet, proud to reveal the color sketch he created in preparation for the painting.
“Darrell Sweet defined an era of fantasy for a generation of readers,” Wheel of Time publisher, Tom Doherty, has stated. “He was one of the early leaders in the field. He made fantasy accessible to a broader range of people.” Darrell worked on many great series but he is arguably most closely identified by his work on The Wheel of Time. Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s wife and editor said, “Darrell was a great pleasure to work with, painstaking for accuracy to the text (well, his trollocs, not, and yet wonderful), and what color and energy in his work! There is nobody like him.”
He was an inspiration to a generation of artists as well as readers. Hugo award-winning Donato Giancola hangs a Sweet painting proudly in his living room, “Darrell’s work became an integral part of my development as a professional artist. I intently studied dozens of his works on the novels I purchased and read, mostly for his wonderful cover illustrations.” Greg Manchess stated, “ I was fascinated by his comfortable, gentle rendering that lent a lovely, believable light to all of his pictures.”
Darrell was one of the first artists I worked with in my carreer. I never imagined the series without him. Neither, I suspect, did Robert Jordan. Sweet believed until the very end that he would regain the strength to finish A Memory of Light. I am grateful that we, at least, have his color sketch to complete the series. Below you will see the art for all fifteen covers for the Wheel of Time, as painted by Darrell K. Sweet.
The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven
Lord of Chaos
A Crown of Swords
The Path of Daggers
Crossroads of Twilight
Knife of Dreams
The Gathering Storm
Towers of Midnight
And finally, Darrell K. Sweet’s sketch for A Memory of Light
The scene depicts Min, Aviendha, and Elayne gathered on a battlefield around what is presumably a funeral pyre for Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn. What we recognize as a yin/yang appears in the clouds, possibly signifying a unity that has evaded male and female channelers for over 3000 years.
For all of us at Tor, and countless fans and readers, I would like to say a thank you to Darrell.