In the Rocketeer: Soldiers and Sports Stars

Sports Stars meme

This week in the Rocketeer I’m looking at eight specialty wartime pulp covers. They were published in a range from 1943-1946 by Ned Pines, publisher of the “Thrilling Group” of pulp magazines. As a group, they can be taken as wartime propaganda but they are so beautifully rendered and visually interesting that it almost doesn’t matter. Join me for Soldiers and Sports Stars: Wartime Propaganda in the Rocketeer over on Substack.

Artists of The Spider!

Artists of The Spider

Pulpfest has asked me to make a few videos highlighting various pulp artists. My first one, “Artists of The Spider” is now up on YouTube. In this case, we’re talking about four pulp artists: John Newton Howitt (1885-1958), Rafael DeSoto (1904-1992),  Walter Baumhofer (1904-1987) and John Fleming Gould (1906-1996). You can watch the video here. Here are some of The Spider covers highlighted in the video:

Inking Round-up May 2023

Inking Roundup for May 2023

Art is all about practice, and I practice all the time! My father used to marvel at the fact that I didn’t need any impetus to do art, I just do it. This month I’ve focused on improving my line and brushwork with ink. In this week’s ROCKETEER I show you what I’ve been up to, including a short video, detailing my practice pieces for the month of May. You can read this week’s newsletter here.

Edd Cartier’s Cramped Panels

I have been in love with black and white interior illustrations for a long time. In the late 1980’s when publishers started pushing for color wherever they could, I refuted the claim that black and white illustrations were uninteresting and uninspiring. At that point it was rare to see interior book art in anything but children’s books and graphic novels anyway. But I never gave up on interior illustrations for all types of stories. Now that they’ve begun to come back around it’s nice to see stories illustrated again. But…

Two items of interest today

I just finished a pulpy commission for a fellow writer of science fiction, Sarah Anderson. She wanted an alternate cover for her new book, as well as something she could use for postcards. I was happy to oblige and here is the result. I have to admit that it’s fun to paint people with dramatic expressions. Screaming and running from a creepy monster…what’s more pulpy than that? You can find out more about Sarah’s new book here. Next, on this week’s ROCKETEER I talk about how I conceptualized my award-winning…

Robert Graef copy

Graef copy comparison The Spot of Life 1932

Here’s my newest pulp copy, Robert Graef’s cover painting for Argosy August 1, 1932 featuring “The Spot of Life” by Austin Hall. This story is sequel to “The Blind Spot” by Hall and Homer Eon Flint. My painting is mainly watercolor with touches of gouache and pastel. It’s always nice to have an excuse to get back to watercolor, it’s such a beautiful medium and ultimately my favorite. This piece was quite challenging but very fun to do. I worked larger than I normally do for copies — 12″ x…

Reproduction of the “Serpents of Siva” pulp cover

Serpents of Siva comparison

George Rozen cover painting for The Shadow magazine featuring “Serpents of Siva” in the April 1938 issue. This copy was something of an experiment. I was struck by the luminous green color of the buddha and wanted to try to recreate it with colored inks and densely-applied colored pencils. I set it up on Stonehenge paper. This is a heavy paper with good tooth and can take some wetting. I feel the results are a mixed bag. The luminosity comes through but the color isn’t dense enough. Probably, casein or…

“Tomorrow We Die!” Thrilling Detective Pulp Cover

Thrilling-Detective-1938-comparison

When I saw this pulp cover from October 1938 (left), I was immediately struck by the beauty of the woman holding the smoking gun. I’m still researching the original cover artist but it was certainly one of the now-famous pulp illustrators. As per usual, the original was most likely painted in oils. I can tell because of the glazing of the skin. When I do a copy like this I work as though I’m painting in oils and not in watermedia. This approach has pluses and minuses. On the plus…

Three George Rozen Shadow copies

The Rackets King 9bbb hard crop

Over the past year, I’ve dedicated a great deal of time to the improvement of my pulp art. George Rozen is one of the many pulp artists I’ve been studying. His “Shadow” covers from the 1930’s are truly wonderful–the art is punchy and the visual storytelling, top notch! To date, I’ve copied several Rozen “Shadow” covers. My most recent one is a copy of the June 15th 1938 issue featuring the novel, “The Rackets King.” This was my first attempt at copying one of the famous Shadow “hand” covers. It…

Book Review: Roy V. Hunt: A Retrospective

Ray Hunt book cover

Roy V. Hunt: A Retrospective, First Fandom Experience. (Price: $45 including shipping, 144 pages, full color) February 2021.   First Fandom Experience has just released a new book called, Roy V. Hunt: A Retrospective. This full-color volume introduces us to the life and works of pulp-illustrator Roy Hunt. You’ve probably have never heard of him. I hadn’t. As I flipped through the pages, I realized that he was more than a just a historical footnote. Hunt was something special in a sea of entirely interesting things. And he had been all…