Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Illustration: Frank Reynolds Paints Pickwick

Frank Reynolds

Frank ReynoldsFrank ReynoldsFrank Reynolds is a name that you don’t hear mentioned much when artists are discussing classic illustrators. That’s a shame, because there is a lot to learn from his work.

Reynolds was born in 1876, and gained fame for his humorous drawings in Punch, Sketch and The Illustrated London News. His specialty was caricaturization, and at the time, his drawings were described as being non-specific and even ugly. But with modern eyes, the clearness of compositions, economy of detail, and expressive caricature fit right in with what illustrators like Norman Rockwell were doing in the 40s and 50s. The books of Charles Dickens provided the perfect subject for Reynolds’ talents.

Frank Reynolds

In an article on Reynolds (available for viewing at Project Gutenberg) A.E. Johnson wrote: "It is related of Charles Dickens that the creation of many of his famous characters was inspired by a chance remark overheard in the street. A single telling sentence, uttering some quaint sentiment, perhaps in quaint idiom, would set up a train of ideas ultimately resulting, after much meditative elaboration, in a Mrs. Gamp or a Dick Swiveller. The process is not dissimilar, one imagines, from that by which the artist evolves a character sketch: with this difference, that whereas a solitary trait accidentally revealed, was to Dickens sufficient foundation upon which to construct his fanciful portrait, such studies of types as Frank Reynolds excels in must be the outcome, not of one ‘thing seen,’ but of reiterated observation of the same thing in identical or closely similar guise."

There’s a lot to know about this great artist. Project Gutenberg has posted an overview of Reynolds’ career. Check it out.

Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Illustration: Arthur Rackham’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Arthur Rackham

Arthur RackhamArthur RackhamArthur Rackham was one of the most influential illustrators who ever lived. If you aren’t familiar with his work, see Bud Plant’s biography. These scans are from a first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from 1909. This book is packed with amazing color plates and ink sketches.

Along with Edmund Dulac, Rackham was one of the most popular book illustrators of the early 20th century.

Arthur RackhamArthur RackhamWalt Disney admired Rackham’s watercolor and pen & ink style, and instructed Gustaf Tenggren to work with Claude Coates and Sam Armstrong to adapt it for use in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In animation backgrounds however, the sinewy Rackham line was overly busy, distracting from the characters; so Tenggren evolved towards the more dimensional painting style which reached its peak in Pinocchio, setting the standard for Disney cartoons throughout the 1940s.

Of Rackham’s style, Bud Plant writes, “Most obvious, in retrospective, is the calm and good humor of the drawings. They seem imbued with a gentle joy that must have been reassuring to both the children and their parents. Rackham had found his niche. His drawings would convey a non-threatening yet fearful thrill and a beauty that was in no way overtly sexy or lewd. It was a perfect Victorian solution and he seems to have taken to it with an impish delight.”

Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Pinups: Alberto Vargas

Alberto Vargas

Alberto VargasAlberto VargasWe’re very grateful to archive supporter, Chad Coyle for allowing us to digitize his collection of cartoons and illustrations from 1960s Playboy magazines. You might remember our previous posts on Erich Sokol, Eldon Dedini, Doug Sneyd and Phil Interlandi. Today, we focus on the "Grand Old Man" of pinup art, Alberto Vargas.

Vargas was born in Peru in 1896, and travelled to Europe with his family in 1911. His father was a photographer, and Vargas was exposed at an early age to the airbrush as a retouching tool. He studied to be a photographer, and worked in New York as a retoucher for a time, but Florenz Ziegfeld hired him as an illustrator for his Follies in 1917. He scraped by through the depression illustrating for various publications and movie studios. When George Petty left Esquire in 1940, Vargas took over his position with the magazine. Even though this brought much-needed exposure for Vargas’ work, the contract with Esquire was extremely unfair. The magazine even trademarked the name Vargas had been working under… "Varga" and wouldn’t allow him to use it for any other work. Vargas sued and broke the contract in 1950.

Alberto VargasAlberto VargasVargas added the "s" to his name and proceeded to rebuild his career, illustrating playing cards and taking freelance work for True magazine. In 1960, he was hired as an illustrator for Playboy, the venue that made him famous. The "Vargas Girl" represented a high level of perfection in beauty, erotic- but never vulgar. Even when Playboy would have allowed him to depict full frontal nudity, Vargas always kept his models discretely draped. He worked for Playboy until his 90th birthday in 1976, when he retired. Vargas passed away in 1982 at the age of 96.

Completing this group of postings on the Playboy artists of the 1960s, here is the work of the great Alberto Vargas…

VARGA IN THE 1920s

Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas

VARGAS IN THE 1960s

Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas
Alberto Vargas

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Magazine Cartoons.