Elaine Duillo is the undisputed Queen of romance covers. Like Harry Bennett and Robert McGinnis she had her start in pulp covers before moving on to gothics and romance. Her paintings graced the covers of so many romance icons: Johanna Lindsey, Bertrice Small, Rebecca Brandewyne, Valerie Sherwood, Shirlee Busbee, Jennifer Wilde, Janelle Taylor, and many more.
Back in the day, an Elaine Duillo cover guaranteed you were reading a juicy bodice ripper. One only has to look at the step-back cover of Brenda Joyce’s “The Conqueror,” where the red-haired heroine kneels at the Fabios’s feet, clasping his thighs, while a two-headed flail hangs from his belt as he grips his long sword, and the scene topped off by a stallion rearing in the background, to see Duillo’s cheeky nature on display.
Not only did Duillo have a great rapport with the models who posed for her acrylic-based paintings, but she was also often close friends with the authors, such as the late Bertrice Small.
Duillo understood and appreciated the nature of the campy, pulpy books her artwork graced and it shows she had a blast working on them.
Exterior & step-back interior of Man of My Dreams, Johanna Lindsey, Avon 1992
The Swoon Society talks about Elaine Duillo