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Kukalis, Romas B

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1956-    ) American artist, born in Canada, who usually identifies himself simply as Romas and has also used his full name, Romas Brandt Kukalis. As a child he moved to the United States, and in 1989 he officially became an American citizen. After training at the Paier College of Art in Connecticut, he did some early Comic illustration for Creepy, Eerie, Heavy Metal, and Conan the Barbarian. He also began painting book covers for Tower Books and Leisure Books, displaying his versatility with images that ranged from intricately rendered Spaceships to knife-wielding warriors, and he was soon rewarded with assignments from major publishers like Ace Books, Berkley Books, and Del Rey/Ballantine Books. After a decade of mostly illustrating books by minor authors, he started to receive more prestigious assignments, including editions of Anne McCaffrey's Pegasus novels and books by Barbara Hambly; later, he did covers for several of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels. He is also noted for his covers for K A Applegate's Animorphs book; for one of these, The Andalite Chronicles (1997), he painted three cover images, one strikingly dominated by a blue, centaur-like Alien.

Jane Frank has described his characteristic style as "moody realism", which would indeed be a good way to describe works like his cover for Steven Gould's Jumper (1992), showing a vanishing figure facing a camera in front of bookshelves, all mostly rendered in shades of bluish gray. In addition to book covers, Kukalis also contributed to the Batman Masters series of trading cards, and he has branched out into fine-art ventures, using his full name Romas Brandt Kukalis for these works. While some references claim that he has earned numerous awards for his work, this cannot be verified in standard references, though his works are certainly not undeserving of such honours. [GW]

Romas Brandt Kukalis

born Toronto, Ontario: 23 September 1956


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