Nickle Noir

Cover illustration by John Nickle

This is one of my favorite cover illustrations—an extraordinary work done with colored pencils by artist John Nickle for the 1992 Black Lizard edition of The Laughing Policeman.  How he manages to achieve such rich texture, tone, and shadow with his technique is
pure magic to me.

Here’s the original work…

 illustration by John Nickle

And now here’s the big news: John Nickle is the featured artist in the special “Noir” issue of Zoom Street which has just launched.

John’s talent may be mysterious, but its source isn’t.

“My parents were both artists, so it’s in the blood.”

He has illustrated books, book covers, newspaper, and magazine articles for 24 years. He is currently working on two children’s picture books, Hans My Hedgehog (to be published January of 2012) and Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty (pub. Date – September, 2012) which is “a noir-ish retelling of fairy tales as crime stories.”

Can’t wait to see that.

His major illustration clients include: Random House, Scholastic Books, Simon & Schuster, New York Times, Wall St. Journal, LA Times, Nike Inc. Atlantic Monthly, Utne Reader, Sports Illustrated, Smart Money, Knopf Books, Crown Publishing, Harper Collins, St. Martin’s Press, Pocket Books, Little, Brown &Co., Harcourt Brace.

Enough said, check out his gallery at

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In addition to John’s work, the November issue features excerpts from noir novels, a hard-boiled literary quiz, and some crypto-nostalgia by yours truly.



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