Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Aviation Illustrators: The Unsung Heros of Commercial Art

Aviation Art

Harper Goff

Last week, I posted an article about Harper Goff, the designer of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus in Walt Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”. A couple of days later, I was going through a stack of aviation prints to see if I could find an idea for a post, and I and stumbled across these amazing WWII era pantings by Goff. It made me think about the changing role of the commercial artist in society.

Back in the postwar era, the major aircraft builders employed illustrators to conceptualize how complex engineering would transform blueprints and raw materials into real-life massive flying machines. These talented illustrators would create fine art prints for the aerospace companies to give away as gifts to their clients and suppliers. Southern California swap meets are well stocked with these prints, and I’ve picked up a nice sized pile of them myself over the years.

Today, Photoshop and computer modeling has replaced these great technical artists, and a lot of the magic of flight has been replaced by dull literalism. On first glance, these images might seem super-realistic, but a closer look reveals the amazing technique and creative virtuosity involved in making watercolors evoke speed and power. Here’s a facet of illustration history that I would like to know more about. If you have any information on these artists, please post to the comments at the end of this article.

Two more by Harper Goff…

Aviation Art
Aviation Art

CHARLES H. HUBBELL

Charles Hubbell had a lifelong love of aviation and art. As a child, his hobby was model airplane building, and by the time he was in High School, he had built himself a full scale glider. He attended the Cleveland School of Art in the early 1920s, and sold his paintings to pay for flying lessons. He became a licensed pilot and successful commercial artist. In the late 1930s, Hubbell was approached to combine his interests to illustrate a calendar depicting the winners of an annual air race. For the next three decades, Hubbell painted airplane calendars with terrific authenticity and attention to detail. In the course of his career he painted over 1000 images, which together comprise a fairly complete history of aviation.

Aviation Art
Aviation Art
Aviation Art
Aviation Art
Aviation Art

JACK LEYNNWOOD

If the art of Jack Leynnwood looks familiar, you are probably a baby boomer who had an interest in model kits growing up. Leynnwood’s distinctive paintings on the Revell model kit box covers featured antique biplanes, WWII fighters, helicopters, modern jets and even space rockets. Leynnwood’s images jumped off the shelf with their dramatic colors and lighting and dynamic momentum and motion blur. The wings of his airplanes would overlap the corners of the box, making it look like they were ready to fly away. He taught at Art Center College of Design, and passed away in 1999.

Aviation Art
Aviation Art
Aviation Art
Aviation Art

MORE AVIATION ARTISTS

Aviation Art

George Akimoto

Aviation Art

C.F. Coppock

Aviation Art

Crundall?

Aviation Art
Aviation Art

MR?

Aviation Art

Alexander Leydenfrost

Let me know in the comments if you have any information on these great artists, or if you’d like to see more aviation illustration.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Illustration: Willy Pogany’s Mother Goose

Willy Pogany's Mother Goose

One of my favorite blogs is David Apatoff’s Illustration Art. David is one of the best writers on the subject of art that I’ve read online. He’s unique because he thinks like an artist and he’s concise, two characteristics that are rare when it comes to art criticism in the blogosphere.

The other day, David posted about one of my favorite illustrators, Willy Pogany. (Read his post HERE.) You might recall that we featured Pogany on the Animation Resources site last Summer… (Willy Pogany’s Drawing Lessons) The post on Illustration Art discusses how much better Pogany’s work was when it was less embellished and more direct. I couldn’t agree more. I would add that it’s even better when it doesn’t take itself quite so seriously. A perfect example of Pogany at his absolute peak is a book that just happens to be my favorite illustrated children’s book, Willy Pogany’s Mother Goose.

Pogany's Mother GoosePogany's Mother GooseI’m afraid that viewing this book on the web puts you at a distinct disadvantage. This is one of those books that expresses itself beyond just the images. The size and weight of the book, the feel of the paper, the proportion of text blocks and margins, and the counterpoint in the layout of opposing pages all contribute to the powerful impression this book makes on the reader. The best way I can describe the feeling of reading this book is that each turn of the page is like revealing a new surprise.

From a design standpoint this book was revolutionary, because in 1928 when it was first published, the norm for illustrated books was to have uniform text blocks filling the bulk of the pages with an occasional hand tipped and tissue protected color plate. Pogany breaks all those conventions and makes every single page a fully illuminated illustration. I think it could be argued that this is one of the very first modern children’s books. The watercolors are rendered quickly in a deceptively simple style, but they’re packed with a million clever design ideas and tremendous spontaneity.

I’m afraid this is one book that I can’t afford a clean first edition copy of. The copy I scanned was battered and worn. I’ve done extensive Photoshopping to remove smudges and creases from the many decades of abuse by tiny fingers, and I’ve done my best to maintain the relative scale and basic compositions of the page spreads. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do.

Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose

One last image (racially insensitive)

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Illustration: Mary Blair’s Little Verses

Mary Blair Little Verses

Mary Blair has become well known in the past few years for her concept work on Disney’s classic animated features of the forties and fifties, but two of her masterpieces remain unavailable for viewing… one is the set of murals she designed at the entrance to Tomorrowland in Disneyland, which were covered up several years ago by a Star Wars-esque plastic wall covering that was supposed to look futuristic… and the other masterpiece is her Golden Book titled, "Little Verses", which has been out of print for over 40 years.

Originally serialized in the children’s magazine, "Highlights" in the early fifties, these paintings were issued as an oversized Golden Book in the early 60s. This particular Golden Book is one of the most sought after titles by collectors. Rita Street was kind enough to loan a copy to be be digitized for the Archive’s image database. I’ve done a little Photoshopping to remove the text, so you can see the paintings unobstructed.

Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Click to see larger
Mary Blair Little Verses
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Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Click to see larger
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Click to see larger
Mary Blair Little Verses
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Mary Blair Little Verses
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Mary Blair Little Verses
Click to see larger
Mary Blair Little Verses
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Thanks for reading. Please tell your friends about great posts like this at Animation Resources.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.