Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Art of Roy G. Krenkel

Roy Gerald Krenkel (11 July 1918 – 24 February 1983), who often signed his work RGK, was an influential American illustrator who specialized in fantasy, historical drawings, and paintings for books, magazines, and comic books. His artwork revealed the strong influence by artists Norman Lindsay, Franklin Booth, Joseph Clement Coll, Alma Tadema, and J. Allen St. John.  He studied with George Bridgman at the Art Students League of New York before serving in WWII and later attended Burne Hogarth's classes at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, which became the School of Visual Arts, after his enlistment. There he met a group of young cartoonists including, Joe Orlando, Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson, that became his friends and fellow artists in fantasy illustration. Krenkel sometimes collaborated with Frazetta and Williamson on pages the three drew for EC Comics particularly in Weird Science, Weird Fantasy and Weird Science-Fantasy. Though he only drew one story for the company, the unsigned “Time to Leave” (Incredible Science Fiction 31, September–October, 1955), which displayed his unique futuristic cityscapes of architectural splendor. Perhaps the artist is best known for the 23 paperback book cover paintings and a number of frontispieces for Edgar Rice Burroughs and other fantasy writers published by Ace Books. During the late 1960s, he created cover paintings for DAW Books and when Lancer revived Robert E. Howard's, Conan the Barbarian, Krenkel was cited by cover artist Frazetta as a consultant. Roy also created preliminary roughs which Frazetta modified and used when he painted covers for Warren Publishing's Creepy and Eerie. During the 1970s, he illustrated both covers and interiors for Howard's The Sowers of the Thunder and The Road of Azrael. It was at this time Krenkel created seven special paintings for a limited edition portfolio illustrating the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as contributed to several science-fantasy fan publications. Thought Krenkel was known for regarding his own work as disposable and unimportant, he inspired many artists in the world of fantasy illustration today.