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Arcane Summons, by Keith Parkinson (Circa 1989)

The late Keith Parkinson (1958 – 2005) is a well known name among the many talented fantasy and sci-fi artists of the 1980s and 90s. He did work for Dungeons & Dragons products and many other role-playing games in addition to a prestigious career as a book cover illustrator.

This gem was used as the cover for Palladium Books Adventures in the Northern Wilderness, published in 1989. I love it because it’s wildly fantastical. You’ve got this wolf-like being, but instead of your typical savage werewolf, he’s wearing robes and using some serious dark magic to summon zombies! It looks like there’s going to be some real trouble, and it begs a great story just looking at it. The detail given to the gloomy, wintry background is also incredibly well done.

I found a great quote from Keith himself on this piece on his website and from his book, KnightsBridge: The Art of Keith Parkinson:

I had the publisher ask me how elaborate my modeling set up was on this project. They thought I had set up skeletons in costume then photographed them. Actually, I made up all the figures with no reference shot for any of it. Ordinarily, I like to shoot as much reference as possible. On this project, though, the images came from my imagination.

Thank you, Keith. Your imagination still inspires me almost thirty years later!