Barton began his career after leaving his poster art duties for the Army Signal Corps at the end of World War II. His first paperback covers were for Bantam, in 1948 and 1949. His next assignments in the field included covers for the outstanding lines of Avon and Popular Library (1949-1952), before he departed for the newly formed house of Ace (1952-1958).
Most of Barton's cover work was executed in gouache on board. It clearly demonstrated Barton's mastery of his medium, he used pastels to achieve the velvety softness of the various fabrics.