Roger Kastel may not be as prolific a romance cover artist as most of the other illustrators I’ve highlighted, but to ignore his artwork would be a shame. Although Kastel is noted for his pulp fiction artwork, his biggest claim to fame are his movie posters.
Roger Kastel hails from White Plains, NY. He was born in 1932. He studied art in Manhattan at the prestigious Arts Students League while still in High school. After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Kastel returned Stateside to become a freelance artist.
His first cover was produced for Simon in Schuster in the early 1960s. He worked steadily throughout the years, building a respected career as an illustrator for a diverse range of publishing companies, many of them the very selective New York houses.
In the late 1970s he would be catapulted to stardom when he agreed to design the cover for Peter Benchley’s Jaws. Universal Studios, who produced the Jaws film, was so impressed by his work, that they used it as the movie poster. Not only was Jaws the movie a blockbuster success, but his poster became a huge best seller. This was revolutionary, as movie posters had just been used to advertise films, they were not usually merchandised.
Kastel would reach even greater heights when he was asked to paint the poster for the long awauited Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. Any Star Wars lover will tell you how iconic this poster is.
Stardom would not prevent Kastel from producing more fine art for covers. In fact, painting covers was more lucrative and “less of a hassle” than producing movie posters. He designed multiple covers for Jackie Collins’ works, including Hollywood Wives. Kastel would go on to create many more romance novel covers.
Kastel has illustrated about 1,000 book covers for various publishing houses. His work has been recognized by several elite institutions, he has won myriad awards, and is a member of numerous fellowships and associations. He has spent over 7 decades working as a professional artist. His artwork is part of Americana.
Kastel still paints and sells fine portraits and illustrations. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.
|Roger Kastel The Royal Box Cover|