close

Gurney Journey | category: Golden Age Illustration | (page 4 of 33)

home

Gurney Journey

This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums.

gurneyjourney.blogspot.com

Prohaska's Painting Method

Prohaska's Painting Method

The new Illustration Magazine has a feature on Ray Prohaska (1919-1997) that includes an extended transcription of what he said during a painting demonstration.
"I will start today using the alla prima technique, and drawing with a brush. Right now, I'm going to prepare my palette.... I will use cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, raw umber, ivory black, naples yellow—if I have it—mars yellow, cadmium red light, cadmium yellow light, which I may or may not use. Now Grumbacher's titanium white—which is slow drying. And you will notice I squeeze out a great amount of color, particularly white. Turpentine is the only medium that I will use. Two cans of turpentine—one for painting, the other for washing the brush."
Prohaska's Painting Method

The passage continues on for several pages, offering a detailed glimpse into the thinking behind the procedure of a notable mid-20th century illustrator. Like many of his contemporaries, he was attuned to the abstract potential of his paintings:
"Now there is one particular thing to notice, and that is this. That is how wonderful painting is, the wonder and magic of painting...that practically all of these dabs I'm putting on are in themselves kind of a mosaic pattern, completely abstract, right? You see them abstractly, but they build to a reality as they are held together, and being placed alongside each other is creating a kind of magic."
-----
Read the rest in Illustration Magazine Issue 67, which also has features on Vincent DiFate and Samson Pollen.
Back issues of the magazine, such as Illustration 55, are also available.

Abbey's Studies for the Coronation

In 1901, American expatriate Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) received a commission to paint the coronation of King Edward VII at Westminster Hall.

Abbey's Studies for the Coronation
Edwin Austin Abbey,  The Coronation of King Edward VII (1841-1910) c. 1902-7
Oil on canvas | 275.0 x 458.0 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)
John S. Sargent was offered the job but felt unequal to the task and declined, so the commission passed to his friend EA Abbey.

Abbey's Studies for the Coronation
Edwin Austin Abbey: The Coronation of Edward VII,
study of Queen Alexandra's Dress, c.1902.
Abbey did a wealth of studies for the commission, including oil studies of Queen Alexandra's dress....

Abbey's Studies for the Coronation
Study of Westminster Abbey and the Coronation Chair,
for The Coronation of King Edward VII
...and studies inside Westminster Abbey to understand the light and color of the space where the event took place.

Abbey's Studies for the Coronation

According to the Royal Collections Trust:
"During preparations and rehearsals in Westminster Abbey the artist had been able to prepare sketches and fill in positions of the main participants of the ceremony. Later he reported: ‘it was fortunate I had been able to sketch at the rehearsals or I should have been in a great muddle’. However, due to the King’s ill-health the coronation had to be postponed and was re-scheduled for 9 August 1902. The artist’s viewpoint was a specially built box in the tomb of Edmund Lancaster in the north transept. Unfortunately, it was a dull day and Westminster Abbey appeared more than usually gloomy and dark."

Abbey's Studies for the Coronation
Detail of E.A. Abbey's  Coronation of King Edward VII
"But despite this Abbey was profoundly impressed with what he saw: ‘It was a sight indeed. They had white satin dresses and long trains of crimson velvet and ermine capes – trains and their coronets in hands. They came by twos or threes and dozens, and were marvellous to behold. I never saw so many jewels in my life.’"
-----
Read more online at the Royal Collections Trust












Allen Anderson's Pulp Covers

The art of Allen Anderson is featured in a new hardbound book from the Illustrated Press.

Allen Anderson's Pulp Covers

Anderson (1908-1995) created dynamic, action-packed covers for the pulp magazines.

Allen Anderson's Pulp Covers

He worked for the westerns, "spicy" pulps, comic covers, and science fiction stories.

Allen Anderson's Pulp Covers

The book reproduces original art, tearsheets, and reference photos.

Allen Anderson's Pulp Covers

The hardcover book is compiled by author David Saunders, an expert in the field, and the book is limited to just 900 copies.

Allen Anderson's Pulp Covers
The Art of Allen Anderson available on Amazon
or at the Illustrated Press website.

Artistic Integrity and Commercial Art

S. H. R. Rjjal asks: "Mr. Gurney, what's your take on artistic integrity and commercial art? The original Harry Potter illustrator for instance does not own a single one of her work."
Artistic Integrity and Commercial Art
Adolph Menzel, "The signal for war was thus given to Europe."
Engraver: Unzelmann, Friedrich Ludwig (Source)
Book: Die Werke Friedrichs des Großen, vol. 2
Author: Volz, Gustav Berthold
Publisher:Berlin: Reimar Hobbing, 1913
Dear S.H.R,
Commissioned work doesn't have to be commercial. Just because you're paid to draw something doesn't mean you have to cynically crank it out. If you're going to do work on commission, it might as well include your personal inspiration and your highest standards.

The same is true with gallery art, which is potentially more commercial than illustration. There's always a temptation to produce work only because we know it will sell, though we may have drifted away from the authentic original inspiration.

If you do illustration work, you typically get to keep your originals. It's wise to keep at least some of your best examples. If you work hard on them, you'll be proud of them and they might be worth a lot more in the future.

Artistic Integrity and Commercial ArtAn excerpt of my introduction to the book on Adolph Menzel (German, 1815-1905) addresses this point: As a commercial printer, Menzel threw himself into the task of producing decorative illustration work, such as menus, letterheads, greeting cards, and invitations. Anyone else might have written off such jobs as menial. For Menzel, to produce anything less than a sincere effort would be to “throw one’s cake in the water.” He told admiring students that it was essential to do justice to every assignment, and to accept everything as a genuine artistic challenge. “You will then cease at once to consider anything unworthy of your powers,” he said.
----

Albert Wenzell's Illustrations

Albert Beck Wenzell (1864-1917) was an American illustrator who captured the personalities, gestures, and costumes of high  society. 

Albert Wenzell's Illustrations

His black and white illustrations were frequently painted in gouache with a big, pointed brush on a warm-toned board.

Albert Wenzell's Illustrations

He also painted in oil in full color, once color reproduction became an option.

Born in Detroit, he studied in Munich and Paris. He was best known for his fashionable scenes from high society.
Albert Wenzell's Illustrations
"A Showdown" by Albert Beck Wenzell, oil on canvas, 1895
Historian Walt Reed said: "If his preoccupation with the rendering of the sheen of a silk dress or a starched shirt sometimes competes with the message of his pictures, he did, nevertheless, leave us an historic record of the settings and costumes of fashionable society at the turn of the century and set a high artistic standard."
----
You can read about Wenzell in Walt Reed's book The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000
In Vanity Fair is a contemporary book-length collection of his work.
Wenzell is another major illustrator with no Wikipedia page, so I hope one of you will do something about that.

Al Parker Book Review

Al Parker Book Review

In recent years, the leading midcentury American illustrators, such as Tom Lovell, Coby Whitmore, Harry Anderson, and Albert Dorne are finally being represented with well-illustrated monographs.

Al Parker Book Review

Now it's Al Parker's turn. This edition by Auad Publishing showcases the work of one of the chief innovators of American illustration.

Al Parker Book Review

Parker pioneered the trend for the designed title spread in the glossy women's magazines.

Al Parker Book Review

Rather than compositions that fit neatly in a rectangular shape, these inviting openers combine hand-drawn headlines with an intriguing tagline and an illustration that promises drama.

Al Parker Book Review

Parker was always original in his use of posing, his color schemes and his approaches to storytelling.

None other than Norman Rockwell wrote him a fan letter, and said, "While the rest of us are working knee-deep in a groove, (Al Parker is) forever changing and improving."

Al Parker Book Review

Most of the book is devoted to visuals, including reproductions of original art, tearsheets, and comparisons between photo reference and final art.

Al Parker Book Review

Al Parker Book ReviewThe text includes personal reflections by Parker's son Kit, an article about Parker written by Stephanie Plunkett, thoughts about his artistry by David Apatoff, and a reprint of a 1964 interview.

Al Parker: Illustrator, Innovator is 9 x 12 inches, 208 pages, $44.95
----

Related books:
Albert Dorne: Master Illustrator
Tom Lovell—Illustrator
Coby Whitmore: Artist and Illustrator
The Art of Harry Anderson
The Art of Jon Whitcomb
Henry Patrick Raleigh: The Confident Illustrator
Auad Publishing
Previously:
Al Parker at the Rockwell Museum

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein

Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949) produced simple and recognizable poster designs that influenced many graphic artists in his time.

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein

From the perspective of design impact, his work has remarkable graphic power, with organized values and strong silhouettes.

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein

Hohlwein's work was part of a poster tradition known as "Plakatstil" (German for 'poster style') or "Sachplakat."

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein

The posters were characterized by bold, flat colors, and playful lettering, a reaction to the subtlety and complexity of the Art Nouveau style.

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein

Forms are simplified into a finite number of value steps. White shapes spill over into other white shapes, and the modeling of form leaves out any unnecessary detail.

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein

The Posters of Ludwig Hohlwein
Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he also produced Nazi posters, so his legacy is associated with that history.

However, during his time, Hohlwein's posters influenced many designers and artists in Germany, including Edmund Edel, Ernst Deutsch-Dryden, Hans Lindenstadt, Julius Klinger, Julius Gipkens, Paul Scheurich, Karl Schulpig and Hans Rudi Erdt, and they were admired by contemporary illustrators in the USA, including Edward Penfield and Coles Phillips.
-----
Websites:
Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949) on Wikipedia
Flickr collection of his posters
Search results on DuckDuckGo
BooksHohlwein Posters in Full Color
Ludwig Hohlwein, 1874-1949: Kunstgewerbe und Reklamekunst (German Edition)

New Book on Austin Briggs

Austin Briggs is one of my favorite illustrators of the mid-20th century, based on what I have read about him in the Famous Artists Course and Masters of American Illustration.

New Book on Austin Briggs

So I was delighted to receive a copy of the new art book Austin Briggs: The Consummate Illustrator, published by Auad Publishing, which previously produced the books on Robert Fawcett and Albert Dorne.

Austin Briggs was born in a railroad car and raised on a farm with no books and no art. His mother never really understood him and his father and his sister died when he was young.


New Book on Austin Briggs

He came to New York as a teenager with a knack for drawing, but was so eager to get started working professionally that he skipped the chance to study in art school.

He parlayed his drawing skills into some pen and ink illustrations, but found to his dismay that art directors in the early 1930s didn't want to buy pen and ink anymore.

New Book on Austin Briggs

So he assisted Alex Raymond, a comic artist his age who had just invented Flash Gordon and other comic properties, and who needed help with the workload. Most of his contributions are uncredited.

New Book on Austin Briggs

After the war years were over, the magazines blossomed with realistic, color illustrations. Briggs went back to basics, learning the skills he would need to master color and painting.

New Book on Austin Briggs

He worked in many media, creating dramatic illustrations, car ads, and romantic clinches. They were inventive and original, and always based on solid drawing.

New Book on Austin Briggs

After the public became jaded with full color, realistic art, he shook up the illustration world by returning to his roots and doing black and white drawings. Even major advertising accounts bought into the casual look.

They look easy to do, but Briggs brought a craftsman's sense of thoroughness to the job, generating many preliminary studies and alternate versions.

New Book on Austin Briggs
New Book on Austin Briggs
Although the book is mostly devoted to high quality reproductions of the art, the introductory text is excellent, too. The book was written by David Apatoff, the author of the blog Illustration Art, and he goes into the gripping story of Briggs' life, his philosophy, and his working methods.
----
Austin Briggs: The Consummate Illustrator from Auad Publishing (9 x 12 inches, hardback, 160 pages, full color, $34.95).

Briggs is also covered in a chapter of Masters of American Illustration: 41 Illustrators and How They Worked

Previous posts on GurneyJourney about Briggs

'I Went to the Morgues'

The Illustrated Press has released a new book on Rafael De Soto, who painted colorful scenes of crime and murder for the popular magazines.  

'I Went to the Morgues'

As with other monographs in this series, this one begins with a biography. It tells of his origins in Puerto Rico and his journey to New York to break into the illustration market.

'I Went to the Morgues'

The images are made both from original art and rare tearsheets, and most of the book is devoted to large reproductions of the artwork.

'I Went to the Morgues'
De Soto said: "The experience that I had in the pulps was unbelievable because I had to paint the most gruesome things that anyone can think up to attract the attention of the public." 

'I Went to the Morgues'

"To paint those kinds of covers I needed to do a lot of reference work. I went to the morgues and they pulled out girls' bodies for me to study! I went to the autopsies! This was not in my nature at all, but that's what I painted and that is the kind of stuff people wanted to read about in those days. I am a man of peace, who would rather be painting chapels than making those things."

'I Went to the Morgues'

At one point a friend of his who was a priest visited him. Troubled by the images he was painting, the priest asked De Soto why he didn't paint beautiful things. "Nobody buys my paintings of beautiful things," he answered.

'I Went to the Morgues'

The Art of Rafael De Soto is written by pulp expert David Saunders and published by the Illustrated Press. It's 224 pages, 9x12 inches, hardcover with dust jacket and priced at $44.95
----
Previous books in the series on Coby WhitmoreTom Lovell, and Harry Anderson

The Horses of Lionel Edwards

In his book Draw Horses, Sam Savitt says "In order to create a good painting of a horse from life or from a photograph, an artist must paint what he or she knows in addition to what he sees, and he must know a great more than he sees." 

The Horses of Lionel Edwards
Work horse in watercolor by Lionel Edwards
Savitt lists Lionel Edwards (1878-1966) as one of the great horse artists who exemplified this combination of knowing and seeing. 

The Horses of Lionel Edwards

I mentioned Edwards in an earlier post, as he was a student in the Animal Academy of Frank Calderon

The Horses of Lionel Edwards

Edwards drew and painted horses in various settings, including field sketches and painting of sportsmen on the hunt. He was a dedicated fox hunter himself.

The Horses of Lionel Edwards

In a book that he illustrated called "The Horse and the War," Edwards documented the role of horses and mules in World War I, based on his first-hand experiences. This scene shows horses being inspected by veterinarians after being unloaded from a transport ship. 

The Horses of Lionel Edwards

If you like Lionel Edwards, you'll also like his the work of his friends and fellow artists Cecil Alden and Sir Alfred Munnings, who I've profiled on previous posts. 

Prohaska's Painting MethodAbbey's Studies for the CoronationAllen Anderson's Pulp CoversArtistic Integrity and Commercial ArtAlbert Wenzell's IllustrationsAl Parker Book ReviewThe Posters of Ludwig HohlweinNew Book on Austin Briggs'I Went to the Morgues'The Horses of Lionel Edwards

Report "Gurney Journey"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×