Ken Kelly (artist)

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Conan the Guardian cover art by Ken Kelly.

Ken W. Kelly (born May 19, 1946, New London, Connecticut)[1] is a fantasy artist.[2] Over his 30-year career, he has focused in particular on paintings in the sword and sorcery and heroic fantasy subgenres.

Kelly is the nephew of Frank Frazetta's wife Eleanor “Ellie” Frazetta (1935-2009), whose maiden name was Kelly.[3] Early in his career he was able to study the paintings of Frank Frazetta in Frank's studio, however Frank never let out his trade secrets.[1] In the early 1970s he did a couple of cover paintings for Castle of Frankenstein magazine.[4] Throughout the 1970s he was one of the foremost cover artists on Warren Publishing's Creepy and Eerie magazines.

He has depicted Conan the Barbarian,[5] Tarzan and the rock groups KISS,[6] Manowar,[7] Sleepy Hollow, Rainbow and Ace Frehley.

His work often portrays exotic, enchanted locales and primal battlefields. He recently developed the album artwork for Coheed and Cambria's album, Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow, and a painting of his was used as the cover art for Alabama Thunderpussy's 2007 release, Open Fire. In 2012, one of Ken's paintings was used for the cover of Electric Magma's 12" vinyl release Canadian Samurai II.

Kelly has been a guest at the KISS by Monster Mini Golf course in Las Vegas, Nevada, doing autograph signings of prints for the classic KISS albums he has drawn cover artwork for.

Notable album artwork[edit]

Role-playing games[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ken Kelly's Biography at his webpage". 
  2. ^ Carol Jeffares Hedman (1995-10-04). "Zephyrhills". The Tampa Tribune. p. 2. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (2005-08-06). "Stories take on new shape in sculpted action figures". The Washington Times. p. C09. 
  6. ^ Voger, Mark (2006-10-22). "Criss eager to meet television idol Zacherley". Asbury Park Press. p. 6E. 
  7. ^ "Manowar truck to make its debut in Austria this weekend". Austria Today. 2006-09-08.