They Also Served: Richard Lillis

Artist & Illustrator


One of the earlier pulp artists (he was young enough to serve in the first World War), RICHARD LILLIS was born in 1899 in Oxford, New York, the son of dairy farmers who ran a small grocery store on their property. He managed to attend an upstate New York college for a couple of years, where he became interested in art (a habit he never quite managed to shake), but duty called and he was drafted into service in 1918.

After the war, he returned to the farm for a few years, but moved to New York City in 1924 to study at the Art Students League, where he was a student of Norman Rockwell and Kenneth Hayes Miller.

Working freelance, began to find work as an illustrator for the burgeoning pulp market, doing over one hundred mostly western and detective covers for Trojan and other pulp publishers, as well as a slew of paperbacks. He mostly did westerns, but fortunately he also did some memorable covers for the crime and detective pulps as well.

A fool for learning, he never stopped studying art, later taking classes at the Grand Central Art School with Harvey Dunn, and becoming a close friend and associate to Rafe “Ralph” DeSoto, occasionally posing as a reference model. Laster in life, he turned to watercolours, and continued to paint and exhibit his work.


  • Covers for Ace-High Magazine, Exciting Western, Popular WesternPrivate DetectiveDouble-Action Western, Fifteen Western Tales, .44 Western, Speed Detective, Thrilling Western, Western Novel & Short Stories


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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