Keith Parkinson was an American fantasy artist and illustratorknown for book cover and game artwork for games such as EverQuest, Guardians, Magic: The Gathering and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Parkinson took an interest in science fiction from an early age, combining this with artistic interests, "As a kid, I was in love with spaceships. I collected posters and did lots of spaceship drawings." However, by age twelve, he became more interested in music than art, "I got involved with a rock & roll band in high school, and played semi-professionally all the way through high school and into college. For several years, my band toured on weekends. We were into heavy metal, and played stuff by Blue Öyster Cult, Rush,Led Zeppelin, and other heavy metal monster groups." At one gig, Parkinson met his future wife, Mary, who later became the Dragon Magazine Advertising Coordinator, and they had a son, Nicholas.
Parkinson identified Frank Frazetta and Roger Dean as the artists who would most heavily influence his own fantasy work. Parkinson graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in 1980. His first job was with a company called Advertising Posters, where he worked on the artwork for pinball games and many early arcade games, including Tron and Krull. "One of the guys in the camera room was a D&D player, and got me into the game. The first night I played a ranger in B1, Keep on the Borderlands, and I was hooked. We played every week." In November 1982, he went to work at TSR, Inc., "I didn't like a lot of the art I saw on D&D game products, and the company was in Lake Geneva, just over the border, so I drove up one day to see if I could do some freelance work. Elmore, Jeff Easley, and Tim Truman had all just joined the company, and the art they were working on was fantastic. It really blew my mind. Jim Roslof, who was the Art Director, hinted that I could join the staff full-time, but I missed the hint. A few days later, I called him about a job, and he had just hired somebody else the day before, but he'd keep me in mind. The next day, he called back, and had an opening." He worked on projects including book covers, game boxes, magazines and calendars. Among his book covers are such titles as Dragonlance,Forgotten Realms and Gamma World.