Josh Kirby

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Ronald William "Josh" Kirby was an English artist, best known for his paintings for science fiction and fantasy book covers from the 1950s through to the 1980s. He also produced many film posters and illustrations for roleplaying games. He was well known for including a huge number of specific details from a book in his cover painting, though often not in the context in which they appear in the narrative - and sometimes with some fairly extreme artistic license.

Kirby was the primary cover artist for most of Pratchett's novels, including the Discworld Books, until his death in 2001, when Paul Kidby took over.

Books (as cover artist)

Kirby began painting covers for the Discworld series with the paperback edition of The Colour of Magic, and continued to paint covers for all of Pratchett's adult novels up until Thief of Time in 2001, including new covers for his pre-Discworld books, and covers for the Bromeliad series and The Carpet People. He also collaborated with Pratchett on the illustrated novella Eric, originally published as a large-format art book, and illustrations for several of Pratchett's short stories, some of which were used as covers for anthologies in which they appeared, in English and other languages. Many of these appear in the collection A Blink of the Screen.


Kirby also appears as a character on the cover of Night Watch by Paul Kidby. The original UK cover is a parody of Rembrandt's The Night Watch, which includes a character supposed to be a self-portrait. Kidby put Kirby in place of Rembrandt by way of tribute. You can see him right at the back, peeking over the shoulder of a soldier next to Reg Shoe.

Other Books

Short Stories

More to be added.

Podcast episodes

We're not aware of any podcast interviews with Josh Kirby. If you know of any - even radio interviews still publicly available - let us know!

External links