Press > Escape From New York > Exclusive Interviews > E.T. Steadman (Movie Tie-In Novel Artist) 


How did you end up being an artist and cover artist?

I have always been involved in art since 4th grade. Later in life I wanted to illustrate children's books. Maurice Sendak was one of my teachers at Parsons School of Design. When I first got out of school I had a B&W cross hatching style. I illustrated many stories for Analog and Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. About a million and half hatching lines later, I realized I could do things faster with an airbrush. I started getting work in color, and soon three years after I started an agent approached me and asked if wanted to become a serious illustrator. I did advertising art for the next 8 years. I worked for Coke, Sprite, IBM, Subaru, Crest, Seagrams, lots of airlines, and many, many more. Something changed in the world market and I moved into painting book covers... I did lots of Fantasy for Bantam Books. I can't remember but I think this was for them. From Bantam I went to them all... I had new agents. Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, Troll, Zebra, Putnam and other too. I became momentarily famous with all 12 year olds when Goosebumps was out. I did not do them, but I did 5 other creepy for kids Thrillers. 300 covers in 5 years. From there I worked for Playboy, did postage stamps, and began to teach.

How did you get the assignment to do the cover art for the 1985 re-release of the US Escape From New York Movie Tie-In Novel?

My style fit what the art directors were looking for.

How was the cover art conceived and did you have any other ideas or drawings prior to the final one? How come Snake Plissken looks nothing like him in your art for instance?

I did all my work from photos, so the model who posed as Snake Plissken for this was my brother-in-law, Phillip Schlegel. Kurt Russell was unavailable. The street scene was a photo I took down 97th Street looking west. I lived on 96th Street at the time.

At that time I usually presented 4 sketches. One was chosen, and I would do a photo shoot, and a tight sketch, then a final. There was always a deadline.

I did not have the rights to paint Kurt Russell. It must have been the art director who lead me in that direction.

Did you have other sketches for this cover and if so, how did they look?

So long ago. I really can't remember.

How long did it take to make the cover art and what reactions did you get from it?

The normal time frame was 2 weeks for sketches and 2 weeks for the finished artwork.

Are there any other anecdotes you'd like to share with us about the cover art?

I gave the original artwork to my brother-in-law who was the model.

Did you ever read this Movie Tie-In Novel and if so, what did you think of it?

I did not. At this point in my career there were editors who read and met with art directors who would usually give me a paragraph or two of the description of the book and characters.

What do you think of the movie personally?

I loved the movie. I like Kurt Russell in anything.

What are you currently doing and what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Painting murals now, and teaching. Our local school system was looking for someone to paint a mural in their cafeteria, that blossomed into what I do these days. Murals in peoples homes, businesses, etc. I'm a gardener, a beekeeper, a bread maker, a good cook. My kids are 26 and 29 now and I'm so proud of both of them. They grew up watching me cook, would pitch in and help, and now they both surpass me.

Thank you for your time, Broeck.

More about E.T. Steadman here: