Ken Kelly - Legends of Fantasy Art vol.2

Dante's Inferno - art by Ken Kelly
Dante's Inferno - art by Ken Kelly
Brutal Swamp - art by Ken Kelly
Brutal Swamp - art by Ken Kelly
Werewolf - art by Ken Kelly
Werewolf - art by Ken Kelly
Tomb of Deception - art by Ken Kelly
Tomb of Deception - art by Ken Kelly

A tribute to the great fantasy artist Ken Kelly.

Ken Kelly was born in New London, Connecticut in 1946. He was interested in drawing from a very young age and at school, aged 9, he was taught the principles of art. After high school Kelly joined the Marines, he served in Guantanamo and Vietnam, completing his 4-year term in 1968.

He moved to New York where he visited the studio of legendary artist Frank Frazetta, presenting him with examples of his work. Frazetta liked what he saw and invited Kelly to study under him.

Guided by Frazetta, Kelly fine-tuned his skills and before long was receiving his first professional assignment, a cover for Warren Magazines, entitled The Lurking Terror.

Kelly produced over 150 horror and fantasy covers for Warren Magazines, including Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. He also worked on covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and Skywald Publications.

Later on he began working on paperback covers, contributing artwork for the Conan stories of Robert E. Howard and the Horseclan novels by Robert Adams amongst many others.

He has also painted album covers, including artwork for the rock band Kiss.

Working exclusively in oil, Kelly completed more than 700 paintings over the years and has continued to fire the imagination with his depictions of primal battlefields, strange beasts, alien worlds and barbaric heroes. His work has been exhibited at private galleries and come under the hammer at auction houses like Christies and Sotheby’s.

Demon from the Deep - art by Ken Kelly
Demon from the Deep - art by Ken Kelly
Creepy #81 - art by Ken Kelly
Creepy #81 - art by Ken Kelly
Lions Den - art by Ken Kelly
Lions Den - art by Ken Kelly
Starburst - art by Ken Kelly
Starburst - art by Ken Kelly
Menace from the Sea - art by Ken Kelly
Menace from the Sea - art by Ken Kelly

Selected paperback covers:


Survival World (1971)
Champion of the Gods (1976)
Fade-Out (1977)
The Torian Pearls (1977)
The Dragons of Englor (1977)
Empire of Blood (1977)
Almuric (1977)
Revenge of the Horseclans (1977)
Son of the White Wolf (1978)
Swords of Shahrazar (1978)
Black Vulmea's Vengeance (1979)
The Alien (1979)
A Cat of Silvery Hue (1979)
Red Nails (1979)
The People of the Black Circle (1979)
The Hour of the Dragon (1979)
The Lost Valley of Iskander (1979)
The Savage Mountains (1980)
Killer Plants of Binaark (1980)
Frankenstein Lives Again! (1981)
Swords of the Horseclans (1981)
The Death of a Legend (1981)
Flight to Opar (1982)
Castaways in Time (1982)
Moongather (1982)
Horseclans #01Coming of Horse (1982)
The Witch Goddess (1982)
Bili the Axe (1983)
Champion of the Last Battle (1983)
A Woman of the Horseclans (1983)
Barbarians (1985)
Horses of the North (1985)
Of Kings and Quests (1986)
Horseclans #16Trumpets of War (1987)
Conan the Champion (1987)
Horseclans #17Madman's Army (1987)
Lady Blade, Lord Fighter (1987)
Conan the Warlord (1988)
Magicians of Gor (1988)
The Clan of the Cats (1988)
Conan the Valiant (1988)
Masters of the Fist (1989)
Friends Of The Horseclans II (1989)
Of Beginnings and Endings (1989)
Phantom Regiments (1990)
Star Bright (1990)
Conan the Great (1990)
Dark Messiah (1990)
The Islander (1990)
Conan the Guardian (1991)
Beyond the Gate of Worlds (1991)
Conan the Outcast (1991)
Conan the Formidable (1991)
Conan the Hero (1991)
Conan the Rogue (1991)
Conan the Relentless (1992)
The Poisoned Lands (1992)
Conan the Savage (1992)
Conan and the Gods of the Mountain (1993)
Conan of the Red Brotherhood (1993)
The Steel Kings (1993)
Conan at the Demon's Gate (1994)
Conan, Scourge of the Bloody Coast (1994)
Queens of Land and Sea (1994)
Conan and the Manhunters (1994)
Conan the Gladiator (1995)
Warriors of the Way (1995)
Legends of the Drenai (1995)
Conan and the Shaman's Curse (1996)
Conan the Bold (1997)
Merlin's Gift (1997)
Conan and the Emerald Lotus (1999)
Conan and the Amazon (1999)
Gods in Darkness (2002)

Chamber of Illusions - art by Ken Kelly
Chamber of Illusions - art by Ken Kelly
Mayhem - art by Ken Kelly
Mayhem - art by Ken Kelly
The Great Fury - art by Ken Kelly
The Great Fury - art by Ken Kelly
Stempede - art by Ken Kelly
Stempede - art by Ken Kelly
Roaring Fury - art by Ken Kelly
Roaring Fury - art by Ken Kelly
Rescue - art by Ken Kelly
Rescue - art by Ken Kelly
Kingdom of the Knights - art by Ken Kelly
Kingdom of the Knights - art by Ken Kelly
Creepy #43 - art by Ken Kelly
Creepy #43 - art by Ken Kelly
The Mighty King - art by Ken Kelly
The Mighty King - art by Ken Kelly

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Comments 4 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Once again you are educating me with an informative and interesting hub....I had never heaqrd of Ken Kelly before this hub. His work does remind me of Frank Frazetta's work, but I would give Kelly's work the edge as it looks to be more detailed....awesome hub with awesome photos... I would say the one picture that stood out to me was Stempede . Voted up beautiful, awesome, interesting and useful....if only the hub would have been funnier...you would have gotten all the votes.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Hahaha thanks Cogerson, much appreciated. I thought I'd give 007 a break. The Frazetta influence is clearly there, Kelly is a lot more colourful too. :)

Stampede is great, I also like the Demon of the Deep and the first one. They're all striking examples of fantasy art. I had 200 of his paintings in a folder, some were huge, narrowed it down to 35 for hub consideration and than chose 15. It wasn't easy.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

As my learning curve rises I'm always in awe of your research method and this art work reminds me of Greek Gods.;)


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Mentalist acer. I first discovered many of these fantasy and SF artists back in the 90's when I got onto the internet and noticed there were fantasy art gallery sites everywhere. So many great artists I'd never heard of, the internet was an excellent showcase for them.

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