Soon after, Mr. Gogos painted Gorgo, a gigantic sea creature awakened by a volcanic eruption in a 1961 film, for another Famous Monsters cover.
“It was a lizard,” he explained in “Famous Monster Movie Art.” “It was a prehistoric animal. I mean, what colors were they? Nobody knows, so I went ahead and used blues, greens, yellows.”
Mr. Gogos said that using stills from old black-and-white films helped him reimagine the monsters.
In the book, he described the process of turning each photograph into a painting.
“I stared into it for a long time and suddenly it started to change,” he said. “In my mind’s eye it started to change to color, pure color, and the interesting part of it was, when that painting was finished, it was exactly the way I envisioned it.”
But Mr. Gogos stopped illustrating monsters in the 1980s to pursue fine-art painting — abstracts, landscapes, wildlife scenes — and supported himself as a photo retoucher for United Artists and a storyboard artist at the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. He also taught art classes.
He eventually returned to his old world of horrors. He illustrated covers for Monsterscene magazine, attended horror and science-fiction conventions, painted classic monsters for Topps’s Universal Monsters Illustrated cards in 1994 and took on commissions, like one for the cover of the heavy-metal musician Rob Zombie’s 1998 album, “Hellbilly Deluxe.”
Mr. Gogos said that what he liked best about doing monster art was that he could be his own art director.
“Whenever I do a monster for a magazine or a client or even for myself, I’m completely free,” he said. “If people tell me what colors to use, I’m stumped. It gets in the way and it hurts the job. That’s why I tell people, ‘I will do it my way.’ ”
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