Steve Assel, the romance cover artist, is better known by his real name, Steve Assael–the well-known fine artist. He has a distinct, unforgettable style that is hard to mistake for any other.
Artist: Steve Assel
It took some sleuthing to track down the person signing his romance cover illustrations as “S. Assel.” At least I had a name to work with, as many creators never sign their romance related-work. In this case, the artist slightly altered his surname to separate his cover art from his fine artwork.
Steve Assel, some books listed him, is actually Steven Assael, a very talented and well-known portrait painter.
Even if he had left no signature Steve Assel–or Assael–has a particular style that makes his covers fairly easy to distinguish. Most of his clinches–and solo covers–are set at night or in dark tones, so the light of the moon or setting sun surrounds his models with an ethereal glow.
Assel has created some of the most memorable covers in romance, including the three famous Fabio covers for Laura Kinsale and the now highly -prized collector’s edition covers for some early Beverly Jenkins books.
Theme Covers (from Left to Right, Top to Bottom)
- Night Shadow, Catherine Coulter, Avon, 1989
- Bride of the Wind, Shannon Drake, Avon, 1992
- Night Fire, Cait London, Diamond, 1994
- The Prince of Midnight, Laura Kinsale, Avon, 1990
And here’s one stepback–inside cover and outside– to show the style popularized by Assel, showing a solo hero on the front and a clinch for the interior.
Captive Legacy, Theresa Scott, Dorchester, 1996
What do you think of this week’s theme of romance covers illustrated by Steve Assel? Do any of the covers stand out to you as a favorite?
Do you have a recommendation for a future Covers of the Week theme? Let us know, and we’ll try it out.
As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.