Chris (Christos) Achilleos was born in a rural village near Famagusta before moving to London, United Kingdom in 1959 where he currently resides. He graduated from Hornsey College of Art, where he studied technical illustration, various drawing techniques, as well as airbrushing — a painting technique that proved very useful in his career later on, as it provided a sleek, realistic finish that eventually became his trademark. After graduating, Achilleos worked as an illustrator at a design studio, Brian Boyle Associates, where he perfected his skills at typography, layout, bookcover design and production, until 1972, when he started his freelance career.
Over the past 47 years, Chris Achilleos has created some of the best loved fantasy and glamour art and is widely considered as one of the most influential science fiction and fantasy artists in the world. His near photo-realistic paintings have illustrated hundreds of books, magazines and posters. Achilleos’ work is highly acclaimed and respected in the art and film industry worldwide, due to his unique interpretation of stunning Amazon women, epic dragons of fighting fantasy and illustrious paintings inspired by ancient civilisations and mythology.
In the late seventies, the science fiction and fantasy genres were immensely popular both in the US as well as in Great Britain and Chris Achilleos found himself flourishing as a fantasy artist. His works adorned numerous fantasy book covers for titles by Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Moorcock. Achilleos is also well known for the graphic illustrations he produced for the original publications of Doctor Who novels at Target Books.
Fantasy & Film
Chris Achilleos contribution to the film industry started with the book covers he produced in the 70s for a spaghetti western featuring Clint Eastwood and in 1984 with the covers of a reissued series of twelve Star Trek books and later, promotional artwork for the films themselves. His first major commission in the film industry was for the cult 1980’s animated adult fantasy movie Heavy Metal, for which he worked as a conceptual/costume artist and also painted the promotional poster, as well as designed the look of its iconic heroine, Taarna.
Achilleos’s work is collected in the following four art books and trading card sets:
Beauty and the Beast (1978) – a collection of fantasy book covers and pin-up art which sold over 100,000 copies worldwide and was translated into five languages.
Sirens (1986) – a collection of work including Doctor Who, Star-Trek, Fantasy, Science-Fiction and pin-ups. Another best seller which included a Polish and Japanese language editions.
Medusa (1988 and 2002) – a fascinating insight into Achilleos’s working methods and techniques, showing many of his working drawings from previous books.
Four sets of trading cards by F.P.G. 1993.
Amazona (2004) – a collection of new paintings inspired by Greek mythology, Amazons, images commissioned for role-playing/computer games pin-ups and others.