David Schleinkofer is Pennsylvania-based American illustrator known to gamers for his SimCity and related illustrations for Maxis.
A native of Pennsylvania, David received his art training at Bucks County Community College and The Philadelphia College of Art—now The University of The Arts—both in Pennsylvania. Graduating from art school in 1973, David took his portfolio around New York City in search of freelance work. David has said it took at least 5 years to really get rolling at making any money at illustrating, at which point he sought out an agent: Joe Mendola in New York of Mendola LTD. David completed the bulk of his commercial illustration between 1976 and 1997 and was with Mendola for 25 years. It was through Mendola that David got started in the sci-fi field, taking on many of the jobs he is now best known for: Transformers, SimCity, Battlestar Galactica, and Robotech.
Years before his SimCity work, David created the Transformers battle scene that appeared on the back of every boxed Transformer package in 1984 and on numerous other licensed Transformers products—everything from lunch boxes to puzzles to pack-in catalogs, sleeping bags, underwear, and everything in between. The original 30” x 20” Transformers painting was advertised for sale in the July 4, 1997 issue of Toy Shop magazine. In a 2013 interview, David said he “sold the original for cheap 20 years ago before Transformers really took off to a comic book collector.”
David lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania and now focuses more on fire arts. His painting subjects range from landscapes to marines and he also designs stained glass windows for churches.
David’s flickr account showcases numerous original paintings from his illustration career, often descriptions of the paintings and sometimes other notes.
David on the medium for his illustration art:
Via Roboplastic Apocalypse: My early art was painted in Winsor and Newton Gouache on illustration board. I used to use a small piece of sponge to get a stipple effect, with color over color to get blends of color and gradations of color. That was later replaced by the airbrush. The type of work I did was a mix of advertising, magazine and book covers.
David on art design process:
Via Roboplastic Apocalypse: Interaction with art directors in the 70-80's was common. They wanted to meet you in person and discuss the project and see if you had any ideas right off the bat. Later in the late 80-and 90's it was mostly a faxed outline of the job and a phone call to discuss the job. Most everything was done by fax and FedEx. I used to go to NY on the train in the early years and it was fun to get into the city and meet people. Later staying at home [in Pennsylvania] it wasn't as much fun but you did get more done by not having to travel. Sometimes an art director gave me a quick, badly drawn sketch to give me an idea about what he wanted to see in my sketch. That was mostly in advertising. Books and magazines were more up to what I could come up with. I usually did 3 different ideas or versions of one idea for them to see and they almost always found one they liked. I always did all of the art by myself at home in my studio both sketches and finishes.
OVGA has included below David Schleinkofer's full known box art catalog:
- Crossfire (Sierra On-Line | PC Booter | 1982)
- SimCity 2000 (Maxis | Acorn 32-bit, Amiga, DOS, Game Boy Advance, Macintosh, Nintendo 64, SNES-JPN, Windows | 1993)
- SimCity 2000 (Maxis | Saturn | 1995)
- SimTower (Maxis | Windows | 1995)
- SimCity 2000: Network Edition (Maxis | Windows | 1996)
- SimCopter (Electronic Arts | Windows | 1996)
- Dare Devil Derby 3D (Mindscape | PlayStation | 1996)
David also illustrated box art for the 1995 Domark game Absolute Zero; however, the art was not used, in favor of early digital box art. David similarly illustrated an unused image for Raiden Trad, presumably related to the U.S. SNES released, based on painting orientation.