Julie Bell is a world-renowned fantasy artist and an award winning wildlife painter. Moving frequently over a handful of years, she studied art at six colleges/universities and worked briefly in children's book illustrations. Julie was a nationally ranked competitive bodybuilder for over five years. Julie continued to draw, and at this point in her life, would create life drawings using her knowledge of human anatomy and movement.
In 1989, Julie was introduced to Boris Vallejo and started modeling for him. Shortly after forming a bond with Boris, Julie was inspired to paint again. Her ability to bring larger-than-life heroic figures into fantasy art proved very popular, all the while doing so in a feminine approach, in contrast to Boris' masculine style.
Her illustrations have been featured in varied industries, such as video games, comics, advertising, trading cards, book covers, and music. She was the first woman to illustrate Conan the Barbarian for Marvel Comics.
Julie's first video game box art illustration was Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe in 1991. Of her time illustrating in the video game industry, Julie says that she was proud to be illustrating video game box art as her kids were young back in the early 1990s and playing video games. It was exciting for her to paint something they could play.
Julie and Boris married in 1994 and have collaborated on many illustrations together. Julie would sometimes pose for her own paintings, having Boris photograph her or set a timer and run and get into position.
OVGA has included below Julie Bell’s full known video game box art catalog:
- Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe (Sega | Game Gear | 1991)
- Mike Ditka Ultimate Football/Power Football (Accolade/Ballistic | Genesis | 1991) - box signed by Boris but later credited to Julie Bell
- Turrican (Accolade/Ballistic | Genesis, Game Boy, Turbografx-16 | 1991) - box signed by Boris but later credited to Julie Bell
- HardBall! (Accolade/Ballistic | Genesis | 1991) - box signed by Boris but later credited to Julie Bell
- Super Valis IV (Atlus | SNES | 1992)
- Warrior of Rome II (Micronet | Genesis | 1992)
- Defenders of Oasis (Sega | Game Gear | 1992)
- Wolfenstein 3D (Apogee Software | DOS, Game Boy Advance | 1992)
- Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns (U.S. Gold | Genesis, Game Gear, Master System | 1992)
- Run Saber (Atlus | SNES | 1993)
- Splatterhouse 3 (Namco | Genesis | 1993)
- Eternal Champions (Sega | Genesis | 1993)
- The King of Dragons (Capcom | SNES | 1994)
- Natsume Championship Wrestling (Natsume | SNES | 1994)
- Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls(Tradewest | Genesis, SNES | 1994)
- Demon's Crest (Capcom | SNES | 1994)
- A Fork in the Tale (Any River Entertainment | Windows | 1997)
- RYL: Path of the Emperor (Planetwide Games | Windows | 2005) - signed by and credited to both Julie and Boris
Julie Bell has also illustrated video game box art images that were ultimately not used, including unused images for Turrican and Doom II, as well as for Arcus Odyssey, a planned SNES release from Renovation that was cancelled following Sega's acquisition of the company.
Among additional, non-box art game work, in 2009, Boris and Julie also painted an image for Bioshock 2 as part of 2K Games’ “Artist Series” in which they hired artists to imagine Bioshock’s world in different ways. These images promoted the game online and may not have had traditional print publication.
Note: OVGA has included Mike Ditka Ultimate Football/Power Football, Turrican, and Hardball! in the box art catalogs for both Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell. At the time, these works were represented as works by Boris, as evidenced by his signature present on the published boxes. Julie and Boris have subsequently explained that Julie had just started her career and accepted the commission for these game boxes in place of Boris, whose schedule did not allow him to take the job. Following an apparent disagreement with the art director concerning attribution, the paintings were sent in unsigned and Boris’ signature was reportedly added digitally to the published box art.