In 1994 I walked into a game store and beheld BattleTech’s CityTech Second Edition on a shelf. The cover was by an artist I’d not seen before, but it was action-packed, evocative, and wonderfully done…everything a fan could ask from a cover. Of course I left with it under my arm. For the next 15 plus years Doug Chaffee would be an indelible part of crafting the visuals for BattleTech.
In 1996 I began to work at FASA Corporation and in 1998 I had the first opportunity to work with Doug directly. As my first cover, I provided a ludicrous level of details…and Doug returned having put everything and more I could want in a cover. For the next dozen years I would work with Doug, across three different companies, on a long list of projects. Though I never met him in person, such a long and close working relationship, even through the ether, meant a respect and a friendship developed.
In 2008 I would begin one of the most enjoyable experiences of my entire professional career, as I tapped Doug to help me craft a new universe in Leviathans. His skills, vision and enthusiasm—not to mention endless patience with my eternal need to ask “can we do this one more thing”—helped give rise to the entire Leviathans’ aesthetic.
Doug Chaffee worked for a myriad companies in our industry. What’s more, his work went far beyond our shores: from Navy commissions, to concept art work with NASA before there was a space shuttle, to a giant painting of Marine One currently hanging in the White House. That such a caliber artist loved to work with us on our imaginary universes has always been wonderful and humbling.
Doug Chaffee passed away on April 26th at the age of 75. I can’t begin to imagine what his family and close friends must be going through at this moment. Yet I know that for decades his art has transported tens of thousands of fans into realms of fantasy and enjoyment.
To this day, with 15 years and more working in this industry, opening an email containing a new piece of art is always enjoyable. And with Doug’s skill and our working relationship, seeing a new, final illustration from Doug couples a fan’s joy with a co-worker’s satisfaction of a great working relationship forging a wonderful, final product.
That Doug Chaffee’s final illustration before he passed is a Leviathan’s cover is nothing short of an honor.
Thank you to Doug’s family for sharing him with so many thousands of fans for almost two decades.
Thank you Doug for all the years of joy and fun….you will be missed.
Note: For those who wish to pass along condolences and well wishes to the Chaffee’s, you can contact them either at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601 Tanyard Rd. Greenville, SC 29609.