Cal Schenkel (January 27, 1947, Willow Grove, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American illustrator, painter, photographer, cover artist and cartoonist, best known for his longtime contributions to various Zappa projects, especially his album covers. 
Schenkel dropped out of the Philadelphia College of Art and went to California. There he encountered Zappa several times and even visited the studio where Freak Out! was being recorded. He returned to Philadelphia in the summer of 1966. In the spring of 1967 Zappa and the Mothers arrived in New York. At the suggestion of his girlfriend Sandy Hurvitz, who studied with them at Philadelphia College, he showed his promotional artwork and cover designs to Zappa. 
"When I first met him in New York, the art studio was in his apartment – but that was only for a brief period. I didn’t actually live there, but I would commute to work at his place. When we moved to LA when he had rented the log cabin, I had a wing of it. It was my living quarters and art studio, which I rented separately from him. There was probably more of a chance to fraternize when I lived in that close proximity than when I didn’t, but even when I lived in my own place I’d be hanging out a lot and listening to what he was doing with the music. I think that it was just that I happened to fit the mold. I’m not sure I totally did understand it, but it just happened to coincide with what I was doing. I liked working in a lot of different directions and doing very eclectic stuff and working in different styles and Frank was doing that with his music."
Artistic contributions to Zappa projects
We're Only In It For The Money
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
Burnt Weeny Sandwich (the artwork was originally done for an Eric Dolphy album.)
Trout Mask Replica
Fillmore East, June 1971
Just Another Band From L.A.
The Grand Wazoo
Roxy & Elsewhere
One Size Fits All
Does Humor Belong In Music?
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
Ahead Of Their Time
Son Of Cheep Thrills
Threesome No. 1 slipcase art
Threesome No. 2 slipcase art.
Schenkel and Zappa
- Schenkel can be seen on the cover of We're Only In It For The Money, which he designed as well, holding a crate of eggs. The little boy with the accordion is also him.
- The track For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) (from The Grand Wazoo) tells of an episode at the time Schenkel was working on the Uncle Meat cover.
- He can be heard saying: "That's very distraughtening" on Lumpy Gravy.
- Zappa named Schenkel as his favorite contemporary artist in Data For Sensitive or Critical-sensitive Position.
- He was production designer for 200 Motels (The Film), for which he also designed the animation segment, which was directed by Charles Swenson.