From childhood, Roy Krenkel was an avid fan of the adventure stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the accompanying illustrations by artist J. Allen St. John. Krenkel’s interest in this type of fiction and art carried over into science fiction pulp magazines, as well as detective and adventure magazines.
Krenkel attended the Hogarth School of Visual Arts, The New York Artist's League, and The Cooper Union. He started out in comic book illustration but his meticulous, slow pace was not suited for comic production deadlines. Switching from pen and ink to painting, Krenkel picked up illustration work for Ace Books but needed help finishing a few assignments. He asked his friend, artist Frank Frazetta, to give him a hand and suggested that Frazetta get into the field of book illustration also. Frazetta took his friend’s advice and became one of the most famous American fantasy illustrators of all time.
Unlike Frazetta, Krenkel regularly and freely contributed artwork to fanzines without pay and collected illustration art passionately. Living in New York, Krenkel only worked in illustration to pay his bills, never holding a regular job. His career was defined by his artistic contributions illustrating paper back covers for the Burrough’s fantasy stories he had adored since childhood.