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roger kastel

A Closer Look At Roger Kastel

roger kastel
Roger Kastel

An Icon in The Illustration Industry

Roger Kastel may not be as noted for his romance cover art as most of the other illustrators I’ve highlighted, but to ignore his artwork would be a shame.

desire in the sun kastel
Roger Kastel’s artwork for two Karen Robards Avon books, Desire in the Sun and Dark of the Moon

The Man and the Artist

Roger Kastel was born in 1932; he is a native of White Plains, New York. As a young art student, he would commute to Manhattan to attend classes at the Art Students League.

Kastel created a vast catalog of pulp fiction artwork and romance covers. However, his biggest claim to fame is his work on movie posters, notably Jaws.

jaws roger kastel large image
Jaws Poster, Roger Kastel

Kastel’s iconic poster for Jaws captured the essence of the movie, featuring a giant great white shark emerging from the depths of the ocean while a lone swimmer appears helpless in the foreground. The poster was so effective that it became an integral part of the film’s marketing campaign and is still recognized as one of the best movie posters ever.

He also created a memorable poster for 1980’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

empire kastel
The Empire Strikes Back, by Roger Kastel

Apart from Jaws and The Empire Strikes Back, he also produced posters for The Long Goodbye and The Poseidon Adventure. His distinct style, characterized by bold colors, dynamic composition, and a keen eye for detail, earned him numerous accolades and made him one of the most sought-after artists in the industry.

Roger Kastel and Book Cover Art

Unfortunately, movie posters may have made Kastel famous, but the work did not pay as well as the book cover illustration.

Kastel has illustrated about 1,000 book covers for various publishing houses.

Several elite institutions have recognized his art. He has won numerous awards and is a member of multiple fellowships and associations.

Kastel’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide and featured in several books and magazines. His legacy continues to inspire a new generation of artists and designers, and his influence on the illustration and movie poster industry is undeniable.

Kastel was innovative in paperback art design for many genres, including romance. He was among the first artists to create a stepback cover for a romance novel, Janet Dailey‘s Touch the Wind.

kastel touch the wind
touch the wind kastel

Kastel Posters & Covers


Kastel worked for publishers such as Avon, Simon & Schuster/ Pocket Books, and Berkley.

Kastel spent over seven decades working as a professional artist. His artwork is part of Americana.

1969. James Kubeck. The Monument. Avon 1969. Roger Kastel cover art.,.
The Monument, James Kubeck, Avon 1969

Roger Kastel’s contribution to the world of illustration and movie posters cannot be overstated. His artwork has left an indelible mark on our culture, and his legacy will continue to inspire and captivate generations to come.

To read more about Roger Kastel and his romance cover art you can access this page:

Roger Kastel Page

Roger Kastel Cover Art

Your Opinion

Are you a fan of Roger Kastel’s work? If so, what does Kastel paint your favorite covers or art pieces?

Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

Here are some excellent links, including a heartfelt tribute to his father’s career by his son Matthew Kastel: