All information on this site is through my own findings and is believed to be correct. Any corrections, errors or admissions that need to be made, or artists that would like to be involved in BOX=ART, please feel free to contact me.
BOX=ART copyright ©2013 Adam Gidney. All rights reserved. Hosted by Dathorn.
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BOX=ART is a site dedicated to the history of video game box art/ cover art and the artists responsible for them.
Box arts are profiled from a variety of angles using high quality scans and with the intention of acknowledging the men and women who have played such a major role in shaping our gaming experiences.
Not only for video game enthusiasts, BOX=ART is for all who enjoy quality artwork.
BOX=ART profiles famed fantasy painter Julie Bell who along with her revered artist husband Boris Vallejo would help launch a new standard in North American box art quality.
Julie’s rise to professional artist in the early 90’s would come from help with Boris. Even though she’d studied at art school, her profession throughout the 80’s was in fact as pro body builder.
Modelling for Boris would bring them together, and through his teachings Bell’s talent as an artist was realised. Julie’s fascination with body form, both on and off the canvas, would be evident in her first round of box arts: Ax battler: A Legend of Golden Axe, Hardball! and Turrican (all 1991).
All three would exhibit bulging protagonists painted in fine detail using oils, and would pay an obvious homage to Vallejo’s work, setting the standard for her future cover arts.
Ax Battler| 1991| Sega| Possibly the artists first box art. Originally named ‘Savage Lands’.
Splatterhouse 3| 1993| Namco.
Turrican is of special interest due to it’s metallic finish. It’s a technique - one her husband had been working on since the 70’s - she’d perfect and coin as ‘metal flesh’, becoming a trademark of hers (Bell would interestingly better the Turrican original in 1996 with her unused Super Turrican II artwork).
“Turrican is of special interest due to it’s metallic finish. It’s a technique - one her husband has been working on since 1970’s - she’d perfect and coin as ‘metal flesh’.
Debuting on Heavy Metal magazine’s January cover with a painting called ‘Beauty and the Steel Beast” depicting a woman riding a metal shark, ‘metal flesh’ would also be used on cover art Run Saber (1993).
The aforementioned Heavy Metal cover would open further doors for the artist, and by the mid 90’s she would be an established comic book artist producing cover and trading-card artworks for major comic companies.
By the late 90’s, as was the case with many traditional painters, box art duties started to dry up as the industry favoured computer-generated art (CGA).
This would almost be the case for Julie with her final solo effort, the rather poor PC title, A Fork in the Tale (1997). It would exude her usual bombastic character art, melding a humorous side to the buxom warriors depicted.
If you like Julie’s art you’ll love…
European fantasy painter. Famous for his work with Psygnosis and the Shadow of the Beast series.
Fantasy painter know for his highly detailed realism and work with Sega, including Ecco the Dolphin.
Posted - Oct. 2, 2014 by Adam Gidney
As a firm believer in traditional paints and the flexibility of using oils, the artist has affirmed her lack of interest in CGA.
This is further evident in her final cover art to date and her only collaborative box art venture with Boris; Ryl: Path of the Emperor (2005). It’s tonal warmth would be a breath of fresh air in a period when artists using CGA were producing box arts that appeared clinical in comparison.
Outside of cover art duties but still within the industry, Bell created unused concept art for Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994) and BioShock 2 (2010, with Boris).
Demons Crest| 1994| Capcom| This wonderful characterisation of Capcom’s Red Arremer would showcase Julie’s talents for gothic fantasy. It would stand shoulder to shoulder with its equally fine Japanese equivalent.
Turrican| 1991| Accolade| Although Julie’s characterisation of Turrican would not as fondly remembered as artist Celal Kandemigolu’s original take (due to it’s campness and odd body shape?), It was still a great example of the ‘metal flesh’ technique that helped make Julie famous.
Super Valis IV| 1992| Atlus.
>Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe (EU/ NA) Game Gear.
>Hardball! (NA) Genesis.
>Turrican (NA) Game Boy, Genesis, Turbografx.
>Defenders of Oasis (EU/ NA) Game Gear.
>Strider II: Strider Returns (EU/ NA) Game Gear, Genesis, Master System.
>Super Valis IV (NA) SNES.
>Warrior of Rome II (NA) Genesis.
>Eternal Champions (worldwide) Genesis, Mega CD, Mega Drive.
>Run Saber (EU/ NA) SNES.
>Splatterhouse 3 (NA/ JP) Genesis, Mega Drive.
>Natsume Championship Wrestling (NA) SNES.
>Wolfenstein 3D (EU/ NA) Game Boy Advance, Jaguar, DOS, Windows.
>Demon’s Crest (EU/ NA) SNES.
>Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls (EU/ NA) Mega Drive/ Genesis, Jaguar, SNES.
>King of Dragons (NA) SNES.
>A Fork in the Tale (NA) Windows.
>RYL: Path of the Emperor (EU/ NA) Windows.
Sources and further reading.
Related BOX=ART pages.
Julie Bell box art catalogue.
Wolfenstein 3D| 1993| Atari. Ryl: Path of the Emperor| 2005| | Planet Wide Games| The artist final box art to date and her only one with Boris. Hardball!| 1991| Accolade| Wrongly accredited to Boris. Why is unclear other than perhaps his more popular statue at the time…