When I was working on this category for World Fantasy, I sat down with all of the piles of books, magazines and other stuff that I had on hand, and just looked at cover art for a few hours. I've often complained that the Hugo for "Best Artist" seems to go to a good artist for their body of work, but not to the artist who was doing the best work in that specific year (and that bugged me). So I wanted to make sure I had something to point to for each artist I nominated -- at least one work that I could say "this is why I nominated this guy." In fact, a couple of the people I'd been thinking of nominating didn't have any one piece I liked that much, so they didn't make it to my final list.
Anyway, this list is more idiosyncratic than the others, but I hope it will also point to some great art. Like the others, it's in strictly alphabetical order by artist; all these guys did great stuff last year. This list, unlike the others, is linkalicious, so you can see what I'm talking about.
- Jon Foster -- Snake Agent
- James Jean -- Fables covers, especially #s 37 and 40
- Michael Wm. Kaluta -- Lucifer covers, especially #68
- Stephan Martiniere -- The Necessary Beggar
- Dave McKean -- MirrorMask work
- Edward Miller (who I learned halfway through the process is a open pseudonym for Les Edwards) -- Night of Knives, The Extraordinary Voyage of Jules Verne, Threads of Malice
- John Jude Palencar -- Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Chasing Fire
- Jeff Soto -- Gil's All-Fright Diner
- Raymond Swanland -- The Tyranny of the Night
- Justin Sweet -- Mists of Everness
- Christophe Vacher -- Shaman's Crossing
- Jason Van Hollander -- daemonion and agoraphobia portfolios (I'm sorry I don't have links here, because Van Hollander's work didn't really impress me until I saw it reproduced really well in the portfolios; it's much crisper and more finely detailed than you would guess from bookcovers.)