Dean Morrissey – Fantasy, Whimsy & Adventure
Dean Morrissey (1951-2021)
Dean Morrissey grew up in Boston, spending his days imagining and drawing characters, poring over Disney matte paintings and comic books. He grew to appreciate and study the Masters; Rembrandt, Vermeer, Pyle, and N.C. Wyeth, whose influence can be seen in his deep rich palette, his use of lighting, and his amazing rendering of characters and objects, both real and imagined. After working a variety of jobs, Morrissey decided to devote himself to art full time and began working as a freelance book illustrator in New York. His first professional illustration was a cover for Dragon magazine in 1978, and by the mid-’80s was regularly painting book covers for genre publishers. He created for 15 different publishers and won numerous awards. In the ’90s he shifted focus to creating and illustrating his own stories. Morrissey was self-taught and considered the demands of cover illustration to have been his “art school”.
In 1991, Morrissey began putting together images and a story to create his masterpiece; award-winning children’s book Ship of Dreams, one of his proudest accomplishments. Published by Harry N. Abrams in association with Mill Pond Press, Ship of Dreams reached #3 on the New York Times Best Seller list and was awarded the New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book. Ship of Dreams was also the focus of Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday windows.
Dean wrote and illustrated additional children’s books including; The Great Kettles; The Christmas Ship; The Moon Robber and The Winter King, both with Stephen Krensky; The Monster Trap; The Crimson Comet; and The Wizard Mouse. His honors include four Chesley Awards (presented by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists ASFA), and a Spectrum Gold Award for Redd Rocket.
Dean was also an accomplished guitarist and was known for his sense of humor and his Irish ability to spin a tale. He was a friend of Bill Wilson since the 1980’s and left this world grateful for each day. His legacy lives on through his wife Shan, the memory of their daughter Kate and their daughter Ani, who shares his creative genes.