Monday, April 11, 2016

Shannon Stirnweis, Part 4: Paperback Cover Art

My conversation with Shannon Stirnweis continues... ~ Leif Peng

Leif Peng: I'm guessing around this time in the mid-1960s you started to do paperback covers, is that correct?

Shannon Stirnweis: That came along almost from the beginning. Paperbacks were really the ... 'hiding place' of illustrators who couldn't get magazine [assignments] anymore. And the less-great publishers were the ones I went to to show my stuff to. That was like Ace and... and Ballantine bought me fairly quickly too.

(Above, two paperback covers illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis, L: Ace Books, 1960, R: Ballantine Books, 1969)

LP: Oh, really?

SS: Yeah, Bob Blanchard was the name of the art director there and he was a nice guy.

(Original art from a wrap-around paperback cover, "The Hell-Fire Club," Illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis, Ballantine Books, 1969)

LP: Now did you go there on your own to get paperback work?

SS: Yeah. I just cold called them. In those days it was quite possible to just call up an art director and go see him the same day with your portfolio. Which is no longer true.

LP: No. So when you started doing paperback work, what sort of stuff were you able to get at the beginning? What sort of genres?

SS: Oh, detective stuff and so on. There were a lot of strata in paperbacks. The stuff I was doing early on was like, $250 a cover and was usually a gal - sometimes a big-boobed gal (we chuckle) - and a guy, a detective or a shoot-out or something.

(A Shannon Stirnweis paperback cover for Ballentine Books, 1967)

LP: Hah. Yeah... I came across one you did called "The Berlin Wall Affair" by Troy Conway, and that one's from Paperback Library, from 1967. And it's very much the sort of scenario you'd see on a Robert McGinnis spy or detective type of cover. Does that ring a bell at all?


SS: It doesn't absolutely ring a bell, no. Well, that's after I moved up a ways. Those American Library guys, they'd pay, oh, a thousand bucks or so.

LP: Wow, yeah, that's moving up for sure! Would that have been sort of the top end for paperback art back then?

SS: Uhh... yeah. It gradually got higher and higher.


LP: Let me ask you this, Shannon... did these guys tend to hang onto the artwork or did you usually get your original art back?

SS: I don't remember exactly when, but they started around some time there was going to be some litigation or some taxes around the art. Up to that time, you never saw it again.


LP: I see. And how did you feel about that at the time, that you weren't getting your artwork back. Did it matter to you?

SS: Well, it mattered, but it was just the way business was done. (he chuckles)

(original art by Shannon Stirnweis from a Paperback Library cover, 1966)

LP: So you just accepted that. And when you started to get your artwork back, did you just hang onto it or give it away to friends and family?

SS: About half and half. Some of it I gave away... some of it I dumped! (he chuckles) Yeah, I gave it away to people and I've got a huge closet full of it here.

(original art by Shannon Stirnweis from a Paperback Library cover, 1966)

LP: The reason I ask is - you know a guy named Stan Galli?

SS: Yeah - I never met Stan Galli but he was also a west coast artist.

LP: Well, I read an article with him where he said every time the Saturday Evening Post or whoever sent back one of his originals, he'd take it out back to the barbeque and burn it. (Shannon lets out a huge laugh)

SS: Well, there was a time when your estate got taxed for everything they possessed and then they took the value of the art when the company bought it and they'd assess your heirs for that! (We both laugh)

LP: That's pretty clever of them! (chuckles) Now, you were saying when you first began doing paperback covers for Ace and so on and then you worked your way up through various genres... I found a blog where this fellow said you also painted a lot of romance covers for Harlequin. Is that right?

(Shannon Stirnweis cover for Harlequin Romance, 1990)

SS: That was not until the '90s. I did romance covers for Harlequin for about four years. One wrap-around cover a month for four years. And they paid decently even for the time, like thirty-five hundred for a wrap-around cover. So it gave you a base income. I was doing those and stuff for Unicover, the stamp people. You know about them?

LP: I do because I shared a studio in Toronto with a fellow named Tom McNeely and he did a lot of work for Unicover.

SS: Yeah, so I had Unicover and Harlequin and I was doing westerns for Bantam Books (about one a month). And I was feeling pretty good - three decent, steady clients - and all of a sudden all three of them gave out.

LP: You're kidding.

SS: Nope. (he chuckles)

LP: That's the way it goes when you're a freelancer, unfortunately.

SS: Yes, right.

Continued tomorrow...

Read Part 1 of the Shannon Stirnweis interview here

Read Part 2 of the Shannon Stirnweis interview here

Read Part 3 of the Shannon Stirnweis interview here


  1. Isn't it the truth? Steady income from a paperback client and then they go belly up or change art directors. Paperbacks really were the last holdover of realist illustration. I'm curious how often you read the manuscript or what sort of brief you got from the art director, and also how large you worked.

  2. I admire your ability to write such wonderful posts! You can use the reviews of best resume writers over the internet to improve your written content. Best wishes.

  3. Buat kalian yang ingin mencari situs terpercaya dengan minimal deposit yang murah, misterdomino lah jawabannya, karena cukup deposit 10.000 saja kamu sudah bisa main 8 jenis permainan berbeda di misterdomino

  4. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities have inspired me to start my own Blog.

    geometry assignment help

    business development assignment help

    php assignment help

    civil engineering assignment help

    case study assignment help

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. We are number 1 in online task help in usa, uk and australia . We give the online task help and scholastic composition administration in AUS, UK and USA.

    assignment help online

  7. Statistics is one of the most difficult subjects that are taught in the colleges and universities, and if you don’t particularly enjoy collection and analysis of data, you may have a difficult time coping with the academic pressure. Like any other field of academics, you also need to draft a number of statistics Australian assignment help throughout the semester, and since they carry a significant amount of marks, there’s no way to avoid these daunting tasks.
    Work on enhancing your resume before everything else. You can start by performing an assessment of your CV, which might provide you with a clear idea of where you should focus your efforts before moving on to pursue an MBA. You can also check out various online assignment help companies for valuable insights when you need help with doing your assignment.

  8. According to the report of the International Diabetes Federation(IDF), in 2017, an estimated 8.8 percent of the adult population worldwide had diabetes. This figure is estimated to rise to 9.9 percent by the year 2045.
    Targeted Keyword

  9. Cartoon Caricature

  10. Enjoyed reading the article above , really explains everything in detail,the article is very interesting and effective.Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles.

  11. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Full Review


  12. Tutuapp We all know that every one is using the best app stores but they don't know the other app store which are giving hack materials. That type of app stores are really amazing and one of the best Tutuapp VIP is here for you

  13. Thanks for this valuable information.
    Quick Italian Recipes

  14. Thanks for this valuable information.
    Chocolate Milkshake

  15. Give the best task to your teacher and awe them with your quality task by taking the assistance of USA assignment help in USA. Since it is an intense challenge in the present instruction framework to awe your educator. So Get help in your task today on USA assignment help.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. The Essay writers Singapore at offers best essay writing help to all the scholars. We have top university experts that have great knowledge in all the academic field.

  18. Download VidMate HD Video Downloader for Android to fill your portable with amusement.
    vidmate download app
    vidmate apps
    vidmate app download

  19. Get free revision and plagiarism free services on students assignment help in the USA. Get USA assignment help on and boost your grades in your college and take a step aside from your future growth.

  20. Nice Post. Keep it up. Students are searching for cheap assignment help? Don’t worry, we provide cheap assignment help service online. We have many experts. You can directly hire our services at

  21. Fusion Technology Solution is offering a Best Clinical Research courses in Pune with 100% written job guarantee. We are having excellent team of CR trainers they have proven their perfection in clinical trials while working in the pharmaceutical industry.

    Clinical research training Courses pune
    Best Clinical Research Courses In Pune

  22. Find the topmost quality assignment writing services on students assignment and achieve maximum marks in your college. Visit assignment help Singapore and get 20% off on your first order.

  23. ABC Assignment Help is an incomparable online Accounting assignment help company delivering excellent academic assignments, essays, coursework and reports. Through a team of over 3000 subject experts we ensure individual attention to every student making the assignment help experience completely personalized in nature. With our round the clock services, you can be assured of high grades every time.

  24. Anonymous1:11 PM

    I'd just want to point out that טבעות אירוסין Will be avalable soon.

  25. well aware of the citation styles of all the major universities and follow all the university guidelines. All these qualities of Best assignment experts help students to write the best assignment and help them gain significant knowledge over other students.

  26. This site has very nice informative content, to know more information about Dental implants

  27. Whether you're a tech geek or business entrepreneur, Techgara is the magazine that is known for covering all things tech, and how these tech trends relate to other aspects of life.

  28. Jobs divine is one of the best job consultancy in thrissur. We provide all types of jobs in thrissur. We do have many job vacancies in thrissur. Sign up now for a free account and get thrissur jobs instantly. The candidates who in search of good career in Thrissur can apply and get easily their dream job through jobs divine

    job consultancy in thrissur

    thrissur jobs

    top job placement agency in thrissur

    job vacancies at thrissur

    jobs at thrissur

    thrissur job vacancies

  29. With Video downloader for Facebook by FB2Mate, you can download pretty much any video from Facebook. It features an embedded browser window that allows you to search for videos directly and securely without necessarily using a different web browser. The interface is very user-friendly and easy to use. You will not need to install any codecs or add-ons to the main browser to be able to use it.

  30. Jobs divine is one of the best job consultancy in thrissur. We provide all types of jobs in thrissur and we do have many job vacancies in thrissur

  31. Nice informative article.Visit for latest price of minicooper cars.

  32. Cartoon HD has its own features like it gives you trending videos,
    featured videos and Download Cartoon HD Apk section.
    You can tap on it to open and choose the video right away.
    No need for television or big screen it works in your devices in very good quality. It's easy to attempt all the videos any time when you want to do.

  33. While I was pondering this blog, I could understand the actual responsibilities of an assignment provider. It is way more than just doing assignments. Just like the assignment experts of Online Assignment Expert do not close the case, until the student is fully satisfied, an assignment expert must ensure the same. Also, they must not compromise with the quality of assignments, at any cost!

    As a nursing student, I am totally satisfied with the quality of assignments that I’m being provided with, by the Online Assignment Help Experts.

  34. I think the information I gathered from this article is very useful, it makes me think differently and wants to try to change myself in the best way.Merchant Service Provider

  35. Shanon3:18 AM

    I was really reluctant to use any online Facebook video downloaders. One of my friend recommended FB2Mate to download Facebook video Firefox. I am really thankful to its creator who has provided most authentic and reliable solution for facebook video downloading.

  36. I was very surprised with this post, the writer really impressed me and helped me understand many things needed, I need to acquire it and change to be able to succeed in life, thanks a lot. Digital Marketing Agency

  37. Assignment Help Australia is number 1 when it comes up to giving online assignment help services to the students and the best thing is that the services are really pocket friendly.

  38. Each task that we deliver when you take assignment help Singapore services from us, undergoes proper editing & proofreading and plagiarism check so that there are no errors left in the final submission. Visit More: Instant Assignment Help Australia