Born in Glen Cove, New York to well-known natural history artists Sy and Dorothea Barlowe, Wayne Douglas Barlowe attended the Art Students League and The Cooper Union in New York City. While in college he apprenticed in the Exhibition Department of The American Museum of Natural History. During this period Barlowe collaborated with his parents on his first professional book assignment, the Instant Nature Guide to Insects (Grossett & Dunlop). Wayne’s sister, Amy, is an acclaimed performer and composer of contemporary classical music.
In 1979 his first self-generated book, Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials, was published by Workman Publishing. The Guide, which Barlowe conceived, illustrated and co-authored, was nominated for The American Book Award and the science fiction community’s prestigious Hugo. It was chosen Best Illustrated Book of 1979 by the Locus Poll, and a Best Book For Young People by the American Library Association. The Guide, considered by many to be a contemporary classic SF work, sold nearly 400,000 copies worldwide in multiple languages.
Barlowe spent eight years creating over 300 book and magazine covers and illustrations for every major publisher as well as editorial paintings for Life, Time and Newsweek. His artwork has been seen on television on Walter Cronkhite’s Universe and Connie Chung’s Saturday Night as well as on the Discovery Channel. An interview with Barlowe appeared on the Sci-Fi Channel’s Inside Space program. Portfolios and interviews in print have appeared in TV Guide, Starlog, Realms of Fantasy, Science Fiction Age, Starburst, TV ZONE (UK), Filmfax, ImagineFX and The Idler.
Barlowe’s second book, Expedition, a natural history journey to another world, consisted of forty paintings, one hundred black and white illustrations and two hundred pages of text, and was published in 1990 by Workman Publishing. It received extremely favorable reviews and was nominated for the Association of SF Artist’s 1991 Chesley Award. Expedition was voted a 1991 Best Book for Teenagers by The New York Public Library.
Barlowe has produced items as diverse as pop-up books (The Pop-Up Book of Star Wars, 1978, Random House), children’s growth charts, calendars and graphic novelizations. His line of SF toys, The POWERLORDS, was manufactured by Revell. A line of art trading cards, The Alien World of Wayne Barlowe, was published by Comic Images in 1994.
Barlowe’s paintings have been exhibited at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Orlando Science Center, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Society of Illustrators, The Atrium at Park Avenue, The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, The British Library and the Hayden Planetarium in New York. In 1984 he was instrumental in organizing and co-chairing the first SF art show in the history of the Society of Illustrators.
In March of 1995, Barlowe’s first book of dinosaur illustrations written by renowned paleontologist Dr. Peter Dodson, An Alphabet of Dinosaurs published by Scholastic Books, was released to great critical acclaim. It was chosen as a “Pick of the Lists” Spring 1995 title by The American Booksellers and sold over 170,000 copies. Barlowe also executed six major paintings for Dr. Dodson’s work on the ceratopsian dinosaurs, The Horned Dinosaurs, which was released in 1996 by Princeton University Press.
The Alien Life of Wayne Barlowe, an art retrospective, was published in 1995 by Morpheus International.
In 1996, HarperCollins released Barlowe’s Guide to Fantasy, a sequel to Barlowe’s first book.
Barlowe’s next art book, Barlowe’s Inferno, was released by Morpheus in 1999.
Barlowe designed the Artifact, the principal aliens and their homeworld for the two-hour TNT BABYLON5 movie, THIRDSPACE, which aired in the fall of 1998. He contributed alien creature and character designs for the animated 20th Century Fox release, TITAN AE and designed creatures seen in GALAXY QUEST for Stan Winston Studios. In 2000 Barlowe executed pre-production drawings for BLADE 2 and creature/character designs in 2002 for HELLBOY as well as HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. 2003 brought the next installment, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, to his drawing table, for which Barlowe once again executed concept art.
In 2001 Barlowe followed up on Inferno with a second venture to Hell, a bound portfolio entitled Brushfire: Illuminations from the Inferno.
Barlowe is included in the Society of Illustrator’s prestigious book, The Illustrator in America 1860-2000.
In 2005, James Cameron brought Barlowe on to do the initial creature concepts for the landmark film, AVATAR. For four months Barlowe headed a small team of artists to lay the groundwork for Cameron’s amazing vision of Pandora’s creatures.
In 2006 Barlowe executed pre-production artwork for HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY. He also rendered preliminary studies for Relic Entertainment’s PROTOTYPE, an upcoming XBox 360 title.
In 2007, Barlowe’s first novel, God’s Demon, was published in hardcover by Tor Books and released in mass market in 2008. With a narrative based on the many paintings he created years earlier, the novel received excellent reviews. Tor contracted Barlowe to write a sequel, which he has entitled The Heart of Hell.
Since 2007, Barlowe has been extremely busy working on films such as THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE PRIEST, PARADISE LOST, JOHN CARTER, PACIFIC RIM and RIPD, as well as some TV spots. In 2009, he traveled down To New Zealand and spent a winter working on THE HOBBIT.
Barlowe has been hard at work writing a screenplay and doing concept work for his own motion picture project.