Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

Friday, June 19th, 2020

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
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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
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Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
Mary Blair Little Verses
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Mary Blair Little Verses
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Mary Blair Little Verses
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Mary Blair Little Verses
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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.

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

Illustration: Wartime Colliers Magazine

Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration

Wartime Colliers Magazine IllustrationWartime Colliers Magazine IllustrationThanks to Animation Resources supporters Kent Butterworth and Mike Fontanelli, our database includes many great examples of classic illustration from the pages of the "Rolls Royce" of weekly publications, Colliers magazine.

Today, we turn our attention to a very interesting time in American history, WWII. The war effort permeated everyday life throughout the nation, from the richest person all the way down to the poorest. This magazine reflects that, with feature stories, illustrations and ads that all reflect wartime themes.

Wartime Colliers Magazine IllustrationWartime Colliers Magazine IllustrationAt the time this issue was published, circulation for Colliers was nearing 2.5 million readers. By the mid 50s, circulation would rise to 4 million copies, but it wasn’t enough to save the magazine. Competition for ad revenues with television spelled doom for many of the big magazines, and Colliers was forced to go biweekly in 1953, ceasing publication altogether in 1957.

At Colliers, the illustrator was king, and many great artists filled its pages over the years, from Charles Dana Gibson, Maxfield Parrish, Arthur Szyk and F.X. Leyendecker.

If you are interested in classic magazine illustration, see our articles 1930s and 40s Colliers Illustrations and Wash Painting: In Praise of Happy Accidents. Also make sure to check out the modern illustration section of our online exhibit dealing with illustration for our articles on Coronet magazine, Lawson Wood, Arthur Szyk and Earl Oliver Hurst.

Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration

Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazi
ne Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration
Wartime Colliers Magazine Illustration

Thanks to Mike Fontanelli for contributing these great vintage magazines to be digitized for the Animation Resources digital archive project.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

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Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Instruction: Wash Painting- In Praise Of Happy Accidents

Wash Painting

Animation Resources supporter, Mike Fontanelli brought by a stack of mid-1930s Colliers magazines for us to digitize. Colliers was the "Rolls Royce" of weekly magazines for many years, employing some of the greatest illustrators in the business. In browsing through page after page of beautiful wash paintings, I was struck by how rare it is to see illustrations like this any more. That’s just plain wrong.

Wash Painting

In our digital age, programs like Photoshop have replaced brush and pen. But Photoshop doesn’t come close to the flexibility and variety of natural textures that water painting can provide. And in the hands of an experienced artist, a brush can knock out a finished painting much faster than with a computer. It just takes advance planning, concentration and an experienced hand.

Wash Painting

Look at the beautiful compositions in these examples. The artists were working from a carefully constructed drawing, and they worked out every detail before paint touched paper. The light source and the value scale are precisely controlled to make the image "mesh" in your eye. There’s no wasted effort or extraneous detail. The paintings themselves were executed very quickly.

Wash Painting

That’s the exact opposite of the way that a digital image is created. Instead of making all the creative decisions up front, the digital artist makes those decisions as he paints. In Photoshop, it’s typical to build up the illustration in layers, stacking up planes that can be shifted around as needed. The composition evolves, created in sections and joined with blurred seams to connect them. This evolutionary process may result in an image that is acceptably complex, but it doesn’t lend itself to creating a strong or unified statement.

Wash PaintingWash PaintingRecently, I saw a cityscape background from an animated feature that had been created by cutting and pasting pieces of images together. The light came from six different directions. The perspective changed from one part of the image to another. If you looked at any one small section, it looked OK, but the whole didn’t work together. The overall impression was cacophony. Worse yet, the image looked terrible if it was reduced in size or resolution. The scale of the overall composition and the degree of detail was uniform across the entire image. When you resized or reduced the resolution, it all turned to mush.

Contrast that with these beautiful wash paintings… The overall composition reads no matter how small you make it, and there’s a lot of variety between sharp details (in the faces and hands) and loose brushwork (in the fabric and backgrounds). This keeps your eye focused on the important part of the composition. But there’s an even bigger difference… Even when enlarged many times, these paintings still look good because of what watercolor painters refer to as the "happy accidents". Any digital anomaly or seam between layers in a Photoshop image will stand out like a sore thumb, but a loose brush stroke, a bit of paper peeking through the dry brush, or a bleeding bit of pigment can look beautiful. The accidents are natural looking.

Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting

All of the images you see here come from two issues of Colliers from 1934. Every week, the staff artists had to quickly produce striking images to accompany the articles. Speed was of the essence. Wash painting was a quick and beautiful solution.

Wash Painting

One week, an artist might be illustrating a romance…

Wash Painting

The next week a Western adventure…

Wash Painting

The technique lent itself to both realistic depiction and cartoony stylization.

Wash Painting

If you haven’t checked them out yet, make sure to take a look at our previous posts on 30s & 40s Colliers illustrations and Wartime Colliers. There’s a wealth of great images in old magazines like this.

Wash Painting

Many thanks to Mike Fontanelli for sharing these with us. He has a stack of Colliers with Earl Oliver Hurst covers that he will be bringing by soon. I can’t wait to see those.

Wash Painting
Wash Painting

If these amazing images have inspired you, and you’d like a project to sharpen your art skills, here’s a lesson from the fabulous Famous Artists Course. Pull out your brushes and some lamp black and give it a try. Have fun!

FAMOUS ARTISTS ON WASH PAINTING PART ONE: The Fundamentals Of Wash Painting

Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting

FAMOUS ARTISTS ON WASH PAINTING PART TWO: Step By Step Through Paintings By Dohanos and Whitcomb

Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting
Wash Painting

Let me see what you come up with.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

INSTRUCTIONINSTRUCTION

This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.

IllustrationIllustration

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

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