Acrylic on Masonite - 20" X 30"
For the first book in Anne McCaffrey's now legendary Dragonriders of Pern series, Michael wanted to create a literal visualization of the title. He selected an aerial point-of-view and tilted the horizon to simulate the dizzying sensation of flight.
Anne's dragons aren't really dragons per se, but an alien life form with similar attributes. They had been portrayed by other artists, but he was determined to create the dragons more faithfully to her description. He studied crocodiles and bat wings and wrote to Anne with many questions. After all that, it was somewhat of a letdown to have the editor Judy Lynn del Rey tell him that based on their descriptions, it would be physically impossible for the dragons to fly. It's because they "think" they can, that they do.