Wayne Douglas Barlowe is an artist and author. Wayne Barlowe has painted book covers for many sci-fi books, including
His works usually depict alien lifeforms or dinosaurs, although he often dips into the fantastical as well. He is the son of a pair of wildlife painters, and this has influenced his artwork heavily. You could describe him as the fieldguide painter of extraterrestrials.
In fact, one of his books is none other than Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials (Sep '87), which is exactly that. Over the course of the book, Wayne Barlowe takes alien lifeforms from different classic science fiction books and does a brief study of them. This book is a magnificent work, and greatly influencing my imagination as a child, as well as being the inspiration for my reading most of the books he takes samples from. My sci-fi literary heritage would be much narrower without this book.
A sampling of his works, including book covers, was the subject of The Alien Life of Wayne Barlowe (Dec '95), which documents his works and provides insight from Barlowe on his favorite paintings and inspirations.
He followed the success of Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials with Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy (Oct '96). This is the same kind of book as the former, but focused in the works of modern fantasy authors. It illustrates verious beings and characters from classical and contemporary works of fantasy.
Perhaps his most brilliant work, however, is Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV (Nov '90). Over the course of this field guide to a foreign world, a unique xenobiology and evolution is presented to the reader with some of the most fascinating paintings in the world of science fiction today. I can not recommend this book highly enough, it is beautiful.
Most recently, Barlowe took us through a guided tour of hell as an amalgam of the punishing grounds of many religions in Barlowe's Inferno (Nov '98). Using references from various religious texts, he illustrates hell and describes an economy based on the souls of the sinners and unrepentant, in a chilling look at how we perceive our own guilts and sins. He also illustrated An Alphabet of Dinosaurs, continuing his style of nature paintings for the unusual. I have insufficient information about this book at my availability though...
Most recently he has been doing creature design and concept artwork for Blade 2, where he led the design of the reapers. He also did concept art for the Hellboy movie now in production by Guillermo Del Toro.