Gino D’Achille is an illustrator and commercial artist of international renown, whose work includes many of the most iconic and well-loved book covers and illustrations produced in the last half-century, across a range of genres unmatched by most of his contemporaries.
Gino first came to my attention when I was a young teenager and I ran across copies of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series, Ballantine editions to be specific. Those editions had D’Achille’s signature covers, with muted earth tones and fantastical depictions of heroic Martian adventure. I was smitten by the covers and these were the only version of ERB’s Mars series that I would own. And I still own them to this day.
The additional magic of this set of books is that if you open up each one and set them side by side they create one large panoramic view of ERB’s Barsoom milieu. In the image below the top pane represents what the panorama would look like if the first three books were unfolded and set side by side. I don’t recommend doing this if you own copies of these books. They are hard to find and replace!! This is reason #42 why ebooks don’t cut it for me . . . you just can’t capture art and immersion like this in an antiseptic digital format.
Gino D’Achille was born in Rome in 1935 and displayed a precocious talent as an artist from a very young age – being invited at 11 years old to present a portrait he’d made of Pope Pius XII to the pontiff himself. From 13 he studied at Rome’s Liceo Artistico, going on to the University of Architecture at 19. By now, he was already drawn to the world of commercial art, producing advertising illustrations for the prestigious agency Studio Favalli in his spare time. This led him to pursue a full-time career in Milan, where he gained the attention of British scouts, and in 1964 Gino was persuaded to move to London. Here, he immediately established his credentials with his illustrations for David Kossof’s popular Bible Stories, commissioned by WM Collins.
His international reputation gained hold with his 1973 paintings for the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, going on to create over 100 cover paintings for other science-fiction titles published by Daw Books, Ace, Ballantine and various other publishers. He is also well known for his series of covers for the much-loved Flashman series of novels by George Macdonald Fraser, as well as countless western adventure stories, crime thriller and war stories, romance novels and children’s books.
Gino lives in London and Corsica with his partner, painter Mim Hain.