Album Covers · Illustration Art · Look Here · Sanjulian

Look Here: Four Conan covers with art by Sanjulian

More cover scans this morning; fans of heroic fantasy will be pleased with the selection, I think:


Keywords: Conan: The Flame Knife by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp; Conan: The Treasure of Tranicos by Robert E. Howard, revised by L. Sprague de Camp; Conan the Mercenary by Andrew J. Offutt, Conan and the Sorcerer by Andrew J. Offutt; Sanjulian.

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Look Here: THE GODS OF BAL-SAGOTH cover by Sanjulian

Picked up a lot interesting SF/F novels and collections for twenty-five cents a piece earlier this weekend at a local church sale. Like this one, for instance, which I just scanned:


Truth be told, I much prefer Sanjulian’s painting for the cover of Robert E. Howard’s Worms of the Earth, which I scanned and posted back in April 2010. But seeing the two covers together makes for an interesting comparison, I think, and the price was right, so…

Heads Up! · Sanjulian

Heads Up: SWORD’S EDGE by Sanjulian

Forthcoming from Underwood Books:

Sword’s Edge: Paintings Inspired by the Works of Robert E. Howard by Sanjulian, edited by Arnie & Cathy Fenner and Manuel Auad

We love Robert E. Howard and we love Sanjulian: put the two together and you know you’ve got magic. This is a slim powerhouse of a collection featuring Sanjulian’s full color interpretations of the classic Conan stories. The book features a vibrant selection of previously unpublished works along with several rare covers from the 1970s.

Product description from

Countless artists have painted Robert E. Howard’s characters through the years, but none have done so more brilliantly than legendary Spanish painter Manuel Pérez Clemente Sanjulián. With the impact of a battle axe, Sword’s Edge collects an action-filled brace of paintings that brings Howard’s classic stories to vivid life for a new generation of enthusiasts. Best known in the United States for his cover paintings for the comic magazine Vampirella, Sanjulián has been rightly called “an artist’s artist” for his masterful compositions and vibrant use of color. Honored by the Society of Illustrators, he has created his numerous book jackets for a diverse range of publishers.

Product Details from

* Hardcover: 48 pages
* Publisher: Underwood Books (September 1, 2010)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1599290537
* ISBN-13: 978-1599290539


The Cimmerian: An upcoming book of Sanjulian’s Howard-inspired paintings by Miguel Martins — includes small scans of three of Sanjulian’s R.E.H. covers for Ace, along with a scan of an R.E.H.-inspired painting Sanjulian produced for a calendar that was never printed.

Ragged Claws Network: Look Here: “Worms of the Earth” cover by Sanjulian — includes scans of two covers by Sanjulian.

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Look Here: WORMS OF THE EARTH cover by Sanjulian

Although Spanish artist Sanjulian (born Manuel Pérez Clemente) is, perhaps, primarily known to older comics readers as a fan-favourite cover artist for Warren publications such as Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella, he has, in his long career, worked for a wide variety of publishing houses, advertising agencies, movie studios, and so on. What I particularly liked about Sanjulian’s fantasy art from the 1970s was his mastery of classical oil-painting technique, his solid draftsmanship, and his versatility and reliability as an image maker. Here’s a sample of the artist’s work for Ace Books, from 1979, scanned from the library of yours truly [along with a cover from 1988 — see explanation below]:

And yet, as much as I appreciate solid, sexy covers like Worms of the Earth, and generally admire Sanjulian’s early work as a fantasy cover artist, I can’t recommend the only book of Sanjulian’s art currently in print in English.

Sanjulian: Master Visionary, Volume One (SQP Inc., 2001) is filled with uninspired black-and-white compositions, mostly in pencil, that, like a lot of Sanjulian’s commercial works from the 1980s and beyond, seldom if ever manage to transcend their photographic reference material. Yes, there are eight pages of colour in the middle of the book, but none of the selected paintings come close to the best that Sanjulian had to offer, back in the day. Which is to say, in short, the whole project is a major disappointment!

Sanjulian deserves better.


UPDATE (19 April 2010):

For the purposes of comparison, I have just added a sample of a toothless Sanjulian cover from 1988 to this post, and I have to say, I really and truly find it hard to believe that The White Serpent is by the same artist as Worms of the Earth. The decorative, Alphonse-Mucha-meets-stained-glass Art Nouveau style of The White Serpent, with its snaking jumbles of imagery interrupted by snaking black pseudo “lead lines,” will be familiar to the readers of a certain strain of brick-like romance novels, and no doubt covers in that style sell a lot of books (or why would publishers inflict them on book buyers!?), but man, everything about The White Serpent, from its rainbow colour palette to its unctuous paint surface, is so gooey, so cloying, so like pure corn syrup, straight from the jar, jazzed up with food colouring… unlike Mucha’s original confections, which were so perfectly formed, so sweetly balanced, so like the best kind of candy! Or maybe I’m just cranky this morning…