Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

R. B. Davis

Reginald Ben Davis had a lengthy career at Amalgamated Press and Fleetway Publications as one of their top illustrators. Born in Wandsworth on 10 December 1907, it seems likely that Davis began his commercial career in around 1930 and it is known that he was represented by Byron Studios prior to the Second World War.

It seems likely that he began drawing for boys' or girls' story papers during the war, or perhaps shortly after the war during the period of paper rationing when work was thin on the ground. Some of his earliest work is associated with boys' writer Edward R. Home-Gall as he illustrated covers for Home-Gall's Panmure Press publications and both of the author's collectable novels featuring The Human Bat. Around the same time he began working for the newly launched School Friend, drawing one of their most popular strips, 'Jill Crusoe'. Jill Blair was from a long line of castaways, although in this instance she had been travelling to Australia when the ship she was on was wrecked in the Indian Ocean; Jill found herself the lone, exhausted survivor on a small island that turns out to be far from deserted.

Davis was to be associated with the strip for five years, the various stories subsequently reprinted in various comics, including June and Princess amongst others, in the 1960s. For School Friend he also drew 'Jon of the Jungle', 'Lost in Red Man's Land', 'The Riddle of Beacon Heights' and various other strips, the most popular of which was probably 'Kay of Cedar Creek' which ran for sixteen months in 1957-58.

Davis also contributed to the girls' pocket libraries, beginning with covers for early issues of Schoolgirls' Picture Library beginning in 1957; he also provided interior artwork for Princess Picture Library, School Friend Picture Library and Schoolgirls' Picture Library (including two episodes of the popular Zanna jungle girl series).

His work in girls' comics became more irregular in the 1960s, although he had a lengthy association with Fleetway's June drawing one-off strips ('The Strangest Stories Ever Told', 'Pony Tales'), the occasional strip ('Speed-Girl Julie') and illustrations for stories. Instead, the bulk of his output from 1963 on was a complete change in direction as Davis proved himself to be a master of wildlife illustration, painting beautiful covers and illustrations for Treasure, the educational magazine for the very young.

He was to be associated with Treasure for almost the whole of the magazine's existence; towards the end of Treasure's run (it folded in 1971), he also began working for Look and Learn, his first work appearing in the 1960s but more regularly from 1970 and including the back cover feature, 'Life in Nature' in 1971.

Davis continued to contribute to Look and Learn, mostly series like 'Nature's Notebook' and 'Nature's Kingdom', and was with the paper until its end in 1982. He also illustrated wildlife features for Once Upon a Time and contributed to a number of books, including Let's Look at Forestry by Ivor Lewer (F. Warne, 1967), Be a Nature Detective by Maxwell Knight (F. Warne, 1968), Animal Partnerships by Maurice Buxton (F. Warne, 1969), Colour Identification Guide to british Butterflies by T. G. Howarth (F. Warne, 1973), Snakes by Valerie Pitt (F. Watts, 1973), Flying Creatures by Patricia Gray (F. Watts, 1973), Slow Creatures by Patricia Gray (F. Watts, 1974), Ants by Diana Ferguson (Macdonald, 1974), Swimming Mammals by Patricia Gray (F. Watts, 1976), The Observer's Book of Wild Flowers by Francis Rose (F. Warne, 1978), The Wild Flower Key by Francis Rose (Penguin, 1981) and Colour Identification Guide to the Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles and North-Western Europe by Francis Rose (Viking, 1989).

He died in December 1998 in Alton, Hampshire.

Examples of Davis's artwork can be found for sale here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Martin Asbury

Martin Asbury grew up addicted to comics, trawling through newsagents and book shops looking for American comics. Influenced by Burne Hogarth's 'Tarzan', Classics Illustrated and Frank Hampson's 'Dan Dare', he was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and studied painting at St. Martin's College of Art. Apart from illustrating a story for a comic book giveaway, his first illustrative work included the sheet music for Ron Grainer's The Maigret Theme and painting cardboard cut-outs for use on TV.

An advert in an magazine led him to apply for a job as an assistant for "an international cartoonist"; this was on 'Flash Gordon' and Asbury moved to Austria for six months before clashes with Dan Barry led to his departure. Back in England he designed cards for Hallmark, rising to become their chief designer. Married in 1969, he decided to go freelance and found work drawing for D. C. Thomson's Bunty. With the launch of Wizard in 1970 he graduated onto boys' adventure strips, drawing 'Soldiers of the Jet Age', 'The Crimson Claw', 'The Secret of Deep 16' and others for the paper. At the same time, he also found work on Joe 90: Top Secret, soon to merged with TV21, where he drew 'Forward from the Back Streets' and 'Tarzan'. Some brief-run strips in Countdown led to him drawing 'Cannon' for TV Action and TV Comic before he was hired by Look-In, where, after briefly drawing 'Follyfoot', he had his first big hit with 'Kung Fu'.

Having already filled in once for Gerry Haylock, Asbury took over the 'Dr Who' strip in TV Comic before returning to Look-In to draw more 'Kung Fu', and his biggest hit, 'The Six Million Dollar Man', which ran for four years (1975-79).

At the same time, Asbury took over the artwork for 'Garth' in the Daily Mirror following the death of Frank Bellamy. He was to draw the strip for 21 years, working initially with Jim Edgar; later scriptwriters included Angus Allan, John Allard, Tim Quinn, Phil Harbottle and, from 1995, Asbury himself.

In the early days of the strip, Asbury was also able to continue working for Look-In, his strips for that paper including 'Dick Turpin', 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century'. However, an opportunity arose in the early 1980s for a change in artistic direction.

Asbury explained how he became a storyboard artist in an interview in Starlog: "When I was a strip cartoonist, I occasionally did TV commercial storyboards. A friend of mine [Dez Skinn] had an agency dealing with design and graphics and one day a man literally walked in off the street looking for a storyboard artist. I met this guy, production designer Stuart Craig, and he was about to start work on Greystoke with director Hugh Hudson. It was that simple.

"For Greystoke I did nearly 3,500 huge drawings, many of them in full colour. I didn't know they were going to be fed through a copying machine and come out as grey blotches. I learned my lesson on that.

"At roughly the same time, Ridley Scott was looking for storyboard artists, because he was going to do Dune at that point, and he contacted me. I got on with Ridley very well and he had me do a trial sequence for the film. So, he was sort of waiting in the wings and later rang to ask me to do Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which, of course, turned out to be Blade Runner. I had just started on Garth by then and couldn't see how to do the two together, so I declined. But he obviously bore me in mind and invited me to storyboard Legend when I finished Greystoke."

Since the release of Greystoke in 1984, Asbury has storyboarded dozens of movies, a few sample credits would include Labyrinth, Willow, Alien 3, Chaplin, Interview with the Vampire, Fierce Creatures, Quills, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Thunderpants, The Hours, Troy, Alexander, Batman Begins, The Da Vinci Code, The Boat That Rocked, the last six James Bond movies (Brosnan/Craig) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Although Asbury's work on 'Garth' was his most widely syndicated, he is probably most fondly remembered for Look-In and the dynamic look he brought to 'Kung Fu' and 'The Six Million Dollar Man'. He continues to work as a storyboard artist, his most recent work being for the upcoming Between Two Worlds.

Martin Asbury artwork for sale.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Norman Arlott

Norman Arlott is one of the world's leading wildlife illustrators and has spent most of his career specialising in the depiction of birds. Working mostly in watercolour, his work has been widely exhibited in the UK and USA.

Born Norman Arthur Arlott in Reading, Berkshire, on 15 November 1947 and educated at Storeham Boys School. In a biographical sketch, Arlott once said that he became an illustrator by luck by being "the right person in the right place at the right time". His skills as an artist were already apparent at school and he was encouraged to study art at University; however, Arlott did not fancy four more years of schooling and instead embarked on a five-year engineering apprenticeship.

Already interested in birds - both for watching and egg collecting - his big chance came after he met bird photographer Eric Hosking. A fan of Hosking's An Eye for a Bird, Arlott wrote to the author and was surprised to find himself invited to tea. Hosking mentioned that John G. Williams, a Welsh-born naturalist and ornithologist who lived for many years in Africa, was looking for someone to illustrate an updated version of his 1963 book A Field Guide to the Birds of East and Central Africa. Arlott submitted a specimen plate which was forwarded to Williams. "Three months later, I was in Nairobi."

By taking a mixture of paid and unpaid leave, Arlott was able to stay in Africa for three months, eventually illustrating over 600 species in colour for A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa (Collins, 1980). For Williams Arlott also illustrated A Field Guide to the Orchids of Britain and Europe (Collins, 1978) and other 'Field Guides' for Collins. In all he has since contributed to over 100 books on birds, including the multi-volume Handbook of the Birds of the World. He rarely has less than half-a-dozen projects on the go at any one time and sets himself a target of at least three colour plates a day.

In the 1980s he began working on various projects for the Natural History Museum, including a series of wall charts depicting the different birds to be found in a variety of coastal, mountain, woodland and estuary locations. He has also designed over 20 special commonwealth stamp issues featuring birds for the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Seychelles, Christmas Island, the Gambia, Malawi and the British Virgin Islands as well as paintings reproduced on place mats and pottery. He has also led ornithology safaris to East Africa and never felt the need to return to his engineering apprenticeship.

In 2001 Arlott discovered a new subspecies of Colomian bird which lived in the Andean forests. His discovery was made amongst the million-strong collection of birds at the Natural History Museum in London where the bird had been kept unrecognised for 120 years and which was immediately declared extinct. An example of Antioquia brown-banded antpitta (Grallaria milleri gilesi), a thrush-sized ground-living flightless bird, had been collected in 1878 by British ornithologist Thomas Knight Salmon. As there were no guides to birds at that time, Salmon sent specimens he collected to scientists in the UK; this particular one had curiously been overlooked before being donated to the Natural History Museum until it was spotted by Arlott, who drew it to the attention of doctors Robert Prys-Jones and Paul Salaman of the Museum.

Arlott was married to Marie Ellen Bott in 1968 with whom he has one son and two daughters. He nowadays lives in Norfolk.

Examples of his work can be found for sale here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chris Achilléos

Chris Achilléos is a Greek-Cypriot artist best known for his epic fantasy paintings, pin-ups and book covers. His work often features warrior women, powerful Amazons in intricate, fetishistic costumes, heavily armoured and beweaponed yet still sensual and glamorous. Fantastic creatures--giant birds, wolves and big cats (especially leopards)--often accompany these iconic figures, helping to emphasise the sleek, dangerous curves of his females.

Although in pin-ups Achilléos would often show a bared breast, his artwork rarely strays into 'cheesecake' territory. When it does cross that line, as it did with his lurid 1979 album sleeve artwork for Whitesnake's Lovehunter, featuring a naked girl straddling a huge snake, the results proved controversial; the American distributors had to sell the album in a brown paper bag. Even when his sirens are at their most undressed, there is a dignity to them that keeps the artwork aesthetically on the right side of good taste.

Achilléos's work has been widely influential, particularly his fantasy images. The costume worn by Kate Bush in her Babooshka video was based on a cover painting for the novel Raven, Swordsmistress of Chaos by Richard Kirk (Corgi, 1977) and he played an important role in turning the animated Heavy Metal movie into a hit, designing the white-haired warrior woman Taarna in the film's longest sequence. An image of Taarna sitting astride a huge bird was used as the movie's poster and a painting by Achilléos was shown around agencies when the producers were looking for a model to play the role (the animation being produced by rotoscoping from life footage). Achilléos was also the concept artist for George Lucas's Willow (1988), designing costumes and the look of the characters for director Ron Howard.

Born in Famagusta, a harbour town on the east coast of Cyprus, in 1947, Achilléos grew up in rural Cyprus, he and his three sisters raised by his mother and grandmother following his father's death. Achilléos was able to enjoy what would seem an idyllic childhood, allowed to hunt and fish and run wild as he pleased. An open-air cinema also provided entertainment and Achilléos developed a love of adventure movies through watching The Ten Commandments, Alexander the Great, The Crimson Pirate and The Flame and the Arrow. The heroic deeds of movies inspired him and his friends to recreate epic battles in which Spartans battled Persians and Greeks fought Trojans.

Cyprus in the 1950s was a place of turmoil. The island was strategically placed in the Eastern Mediterranean to protect British interests in the regions around the Suez Canal, the British having administered the island since 1878. The Cypriots sought independence from the British, preferring enosis - a union with Greece - and the nationalist EOKA began an armed struggle in 1955. The British had a heavy military presence and guerrilla attacks on patrols, sabotage and assassination led to curfews and violent political unrest.

Seeking a better life for her four children, Achilléos's mother took the family to a two-bedroom flat in London. At the age of 12, Achilléos had to make major adjustments to his life as he found himself without friends in a land of inclement weather where the natives spoke a completely foreign language.

One new found interest was comics, which (along with studying books for the very young at Comprehensive school) helped him learn English. Achilleos's favourite strip was 'Heros the Spartan' by Frank Bellamy and Luis Bermejo in Eagle, and the works of Don Lawrence and Ron Embleton were also to be a lasting influence. He also began to draw. Unable to afford proper artists' materials, he would use wrapping paper from a local butcher's shop and cheaply available rolls of wallpaper.

From these humble beginnings, Achilleos went on to take A-level art and successfully applied to Hornsey College of Art in north London, graduating with honours in 1969 in his specialized subject of scientific and technical illustration. His first work as an illustrator also appeared that year as he assisted Colin Rattray, one of his tutors, on a book about the American moon landings. It was whilst at Hornsey College, browsing one day in a second hand bookshop, that he stumbled upon a copy of Conan the Barbarian with a cover by Frank Frazetta, which encapsulated the kind of epic fantasy hero that Achilléos aspired to draw. By day he completed his college assignments but by night he painted murals in oils of Conan.

On leaving college he found work illustrating weaponry and maps for a magazine about World War One. When this folded after six months, he began approaching publishers, suggesting to Tandem that he could improve on the covers for fantasy books they had been producing. They suggested that he contact Brian Boyle Associates, the agents from whom they obtained their covers, and Achilléos was promptly hired to produce covers for a trio of Brak the Barbarian novels by John Jakes which Tandem published in 1970. Working via Brian Boyle Associates, he produced covers for spaghetti westerns and the King Kung-Fu series amongst others and began his association with the Target series of Doctor Who novelisations.

He married Angela Walker in 1970 and their first daughter was born the following year; a second daughter was born in 1977. Looking for more security in his chosen career, Achilléos joined the Arts of Gold studio in Covent Garden, doing advertising work which paid substantially more than producing fantasy covers, although Achilléos continued his association with Brian Boyle and painted covers for books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Norman and Michael Moorcock. Via Arts of Gold he also began working for Men Only, painting pin-ups and developing a style of intricate, airbrushed beauty which was to prove his fortune.

Less fortunate was his association with Arts of Gold where a fire destroyed much of Achilléos's artwork and which shut down following the death of the studio's co-founder, Clive Burrell, in 1974. Achilléos returned to freelancing, retaining his long running connection with Doctor Who and Men Only and working on a wide variety of fantasy and science fiction covers, thankfully two fields were enjoying a boom period that would last for a few years.

Achilléos's first book, Beauty and the Beast, was published in 1977 after the artist was approached by Roger Dean of Dragon's World. The book sold over 100,000 copies. As well as continuing to produce book and magazine covers, Achilléos also became involved with the Taarna sequence of the movie Heavy Metal which led to him producing film posters for Clash of the Titans (1981), Supergirl (1984) and The Protector (1985). In 1984 he also began producing a series of covers for Star Trek novels.

Over the next few years, Achilléos produced two books, Sirens (1986) and Medusa (1988) for Paper Tiger, the first of which sold over half a million copies. A young artist at Lucasfilm showed Sirens to George Lucas, who asked Achilléos if he would be be interested in doing concept design work for the movie he was writing and producing, Willow.

In the 1990s, Achilléos had great success with a number of series of trading cards which reproduced his artwork. More recently, he was the visual consultant on the Antoine Fuqua-directed King Arthur and produced a further book, Amazona (2004).

Many of his best works have been reproduced as prints and in portfolios, which you can find for sale here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

E. V. Abbott

Information about British childrens' artist Eleanor V. Abbott (who usually signed her work E.V.A.) remains stubbornly elusive, although she is commonly given the dates 1899-1980. Her work was attractive, usually on the themes of classic fairy tales, nursery rhymes and stories featuring young children in the style of Mabel Lucie Attwell. Although she was active for some decades she is almost unknown, although examples of her original watercolour artwork does surface for sale occasionally, such as the piece illustrated above.

She lived for many years in Morden, southwest of central London not far from Wimbledon.

The following list of the books she illustrated is probably woefully incomplete, a reflection of how small the collections for this type of book are in even major libraries.

Illustrated Books
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp. London, Birn Bros., 1940s?
Cinderella. London, Birn Bros., 1940s
Jack and the Beanstalk. London, Birn Bros., 1940s?
Robinson Crusoe. London, Birn Bros., 1940s?
The Dollies Outing. London, Birn Bros., 1940s?
Little Ones at Play. London, Birn Bros., 1940s?
Tea-Time. London, Birn Bros., 1940s?
Children of All Nations Doll Dressing and Story Book. c.1952?
Our Counting Book. London, Birn Brothers, 1952.
Alphabet Children by Winifred Atkinson. London, Birn Bros., 1954.
Stories of Nursery Rhymes. London, Birn Bros., 1959?
Old King Cole Nursery Rhymes: A Selection of Popular Nursery Rhymes. Paulton, Purnell, c.1963?
Our Friends in the Country, illus. with Noel Hopking. London, Birn Brothers, c.1965?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mike Arens

Michael H. Arens was born in California on 2 December 1915 and began his career as an animator, joining Walt Disney Studios as a production artist in 1937. He worked on the Dance of the Hours segment of Fantasia, and on Pinocchio. After performing his military service in 1942-47, Arens became a regular newspaper strip artist with "Hey, Mac!" (1947-61).

He turned to comic books in the late 1940s, drawing artwork for Street & Smith's Top Secrets in 1949. From 1952, he drew dozens of strips for Dell Publishing, his first work mostly western strips such as Gene Autry (1951-52, 1954-55, 1957), The Frontiersman (1952-58), Buck Jones (1953-54), Rex Allen (1953, 1956-57), Flying-A's Range Rider (1954-55), Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955), Dale Evans (1956), Chuckwagon Charley (c.1958), and various for Western Roundup (1952-58).

Arens began producing Disney characters for overseas comics sucg as the British Huckleberry Hound comic in 1961-62. For Western Publishing he drew a variety of Disney and adventure strips, including Chip 'n' Dale (Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, 1962), Goofy (1963), Donald Duck (1963), Mary Poppins (Gold Key one-shot, 1964), My Favourite Martian (1964-66), Tarzan (1965-66) and Korak (1966).

For King Features he drew the Roy Rogers Sunday strip (1959-62), "Uncle Remus and his Tales of Br'er Rabbit" (1968), "Mickey Mouse" (1968) and both daily and Sunday episodes of Scamp (with inker Manuel Gonzales, 1969-76). Arens was also responsible for a number of Disney Christmas Stories--including "Snow White's Christmas Surprise" (1966) and "Dumbo and the Christmas Mystery" (1967)--and many newspaper adaptations for King Features/Walt Disney Productions, including "The Horse in the Gray Flannel" (1968), "One Little Indian" (1973), "Robin Hood" (1973-74), "Alice in Wonderland" (1974), "Herbie Rides Again" (1974), "The Bears and I" (1974), "The Island at the Top of the World" (1974-75), "Escape to Witch Mountain" (1975), "The Apple Dumpling Gang" (1975), "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing" (1976), "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too" (1975), "No Deposit, No Return" (1975-76), "Gus" (1976) and "Treasure of Matecumbe" (1976).

Arens had a parallel career in animation from 1965, working as a story director for Grantray-Lawrence on their Spider-Man and Marvel Superheroes animated shows. In 1967 he became a layout artist for Hanna-Barbera, working on dozens of animated TV shows, including Fantastic 4 (1967), The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968-70), Scooby Doo, Where Are You! (1969-70), Harlem Globe Trotters (1970), The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (1971), The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972), A Christmas Story (1972), Goober and the Ghost Chasers (1973), Jabberjaw (1976), The Scooby-Doo / Dynomutt Hour (1976) and Dynomutt Dog Wonder (1978).

He was also layout artist on Charlotte's Web, the 1973 Hanna-Barbera movie adaptation of E. B. White's classic novel about a pig trying to avoid being killed for Christmas and a spider who tries to save him. In 1975 he also produced promotional material for Burger King.

He died on 19 June 1976, aged 61, following a motorcycle accident at Soldedad Canyon, Los Angeles Co., California. He was survived by his wife, Olivia, and three children, Michael, Michelle Diana (1948- ) and Halli Christine (1954-1999).

Examples of Arens' work can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

John McNamara

A self-portrait of the artist, lighting a pipe, a globe showing travel between Woking (England) and Wellington (New Zealand) to one side

John Joseph McNamara, born 20 April 1918, began his artistic career as a teenager around 1934, drawing caricatures of film, sporting and local personalities for numerous New Zealand publications, including Paramount Theatre of Stars (1935), Standard (1936), Radio Record, New Zealand Sporting Life and Referee, Junior for NZ, Boys and Girls (1937-38), Clarion (1938), Cappicade (1937-39) and Katipo (1940). By the late 1930s he was also a political cartoonist working regularly for the Southern Cross where his work continued to appear until at least 1951.

He drew hundreds of caricatures and illustrations of famous sporting figures of the era including footballers Jim Taylor, Jack Lee, Neil Franklin and Dennis Compton, rugby players Morrie Doyle, Billy Wallace, Stan Dean, Ken Jones, boxers Cyril Hurne, Time Tracy, Eddie Thomas and Don Cockell, golfer Zoe Hudson, snooker world champion Joe Davis, cricketers Freddie Brown and Len Hutton, jockeys Lester Piggott and Gordon Richards and others, including illustrations of the 1948 Olympic team and a series of portraits of rugby players involved in New Zealand's 1949 tour of South Africa.

At the same time he continued to draw political cartoons for Southern Cross and New Zealand Listener, including aspects of the 1949 election in which Peter Fraser was defeated by Sidney Holland. McNamara was critical of the latter's links with the British Conservatives.

McNamara travelled to the UK in March 1950 at the age of 31 and found work on British newspapers. Although the full extent of his work over here is unknown, he appears to have found work fairly quickly. Two early strips -- possibly published in the Daily Mail -- featured "Bats" Belfry, which had a horse racing background and involved bet setting and detective work, and an adaptaion of C. S. Forester's character Horatio Hornblower. McNamara also found work with Amalgamated Press drawing issues of Thriller Comics, ranging from adaptations of Westward Ho!, The Red Badge of Courage and Hopalong Cassidy to the adventures of Dick Turpin and Robin Hood.

In the mid- to late-1950s, McNamara took over the artwork for Francis Durbridge's "Paul Temple" comic strip, which had been appearing regularly in the London Evening News since 1951, originally drawn by Alfred Sindall and subsequently by Bill Bailey.

McNamara drew the popular strip until it came to an end on 1 May 1971, during which time Paul Temple underwent a change in appearance so that the character in the newspaper resembled Francis Matthews, who played Temple in the BBC TV series (1969-71). The strip came to an end shortly after the TV show's third season finished.

McNamara died in Surrey in February 2001, aged 82.

Artwork for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery by John McNamara can be found here.

(* The portrait of McNamara is from the archive of the National Library of New Zealand.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Severino Baraldi

Severino Baraldi was born on 10 December 1930 in Sermide, a small village 50 kilometres from Mantova in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. As a boy, he entertained customers of the local barber by with his chalk drawings on the pavement. He worked as a carpenter, drawing cartoons for a local paper whose editor encouraged him to seek his fortune in the capital of the Lombardy region.

In September 1955, aged 25, Baraldi left Sermide (population under 6,000) for Milan (population over 6.5 million), where he worked for an advertising agency for a year whilst attending the Scuola d'Arte Castello di Milano. His work attracted the attention of the Pagot brothers, who ran a studio producing animated cartoons, but Baraldi turned down their offer in favour of another to illustrate The Bible for the periodical Il Messaggero di Sant'Antonio, published in Padova. After completing two volumes, Baraldi was offered work by a number of other publishing houses producing illustrations for educational books and books for boys and contributing to Piccoli, Le Stelle, Boschi, Argo, Raiteri and Noseda.

For La Sorgente ['The Source'] he illustrated various books ranging from the history of the car, the history of trains and the history of pirates to Il gatto con gli stivali ['Puss in Boots'] and Incanto di fiabe ['Enchanted Stories'].

1962-63 was a major era for Baraldi with the publication of Ulisse ['Ulysses'], adapted from 'The Odyssey' by Gino Fischer, Lo Schianccianoci, based on the work by E. T. A. Hoffman, and Ciuffo Biondo, an adaptation of 'Peer Gynt' by Anna Maria De Benedetti. Ulisse and Ciuffo Biono were praised by the reviewer for Radiotelevisione Italiana for their elegant illustrations, which helped to establish the name of the artist who often signed his work with the abbreviation 'Bar'.

At the same time, Baraldi was illustrating the story of Marco Polo and, for Milan publisher Casa Editirice, a variety of other books for children.

For seven years, Baraldi was a prolific illustrator for the British magazine Look and Learn. He also painted seven covers for Commando in 1981-82 and two more in 1988-89.

Baraldi also had a long association with Famiglia Cristiana, producing some 800 illustrations for the weekly magazine and educational cards for their junior magazine, Il Giornalino. He also produced historical illustrations for Fratelli Fabbri Editore's Enciclopedia Scoprire ['Encyclopedia of Discovery'].

Baraldi collaborated with Italian journalist Piero Angela on Quark, a documentary series, working on a programme about the Persian Army in the Egyptian desert based on the writings of ancient Greek historian Herodotus.

Shoganhunkan, the large Japanese publisher, commissioned Baraldi to illustrate biographies of famous people from Galileo and Marie Curie to Napoleon. When the same company created a competition for artists of different nationalities to illustrate images of the land of the rising sun, Baraldi was given the first prize of a trip to Tokyo.

He continued to work in Italy, illustrating books for De Agostini on intrepid navigators Marco Polo and Columbus and adventure books for boys. For the Greek publisher Stratikis, he illustrated 25 volumes of stories, mythology and famous people.

Eight years later, in 1994, Fratelli Fabbri offered him the job of illustrating a version of the Bible transcribed by Monsignor Ravasi, of the Papal Commission. This proved to an extremely difficult assignment requiring a great deal of research which lasted two years; Baraldi produced over 100 illustrations for the book, entitled La Bibbia : storie dell'antico e del nuovo te, which was published around the world (in Britain as The Bible for Children).

More recently, Baraldi illustrated biographies of musicians Dvorak and Verdi for a publisher in Taiwan.In all, Baraldi has contributed to over 220 books and produced 7,500 illustrations. The village of Sermide dedicated an exhibition to his work in June 1997. He continued to work for Famiglia Cristiana and Il Giornalino until retiring a few years ago. Now he is content to be be a family man, the father of three daughters and six grandchildren.

Many stunning paintings by Baraldi are available to buy at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ralph Bruce

Ralph Bruce was a talented illustrator who worked for Look and Learn in the 1960s. Until the mid-1960s he was a regular artist for The Children's Newspaper and was probably brought to the educational paper by former Children's Newspaper editor, John Davies, who took over the editorship of Look and Learn in 1965.

His artwork covered a huge range of subjects. His historical illustrations ranged from ancient Greece and Roman Britain, to the eras of Shakespeare, Caxton and modern journalism. He was particularly adept at portraits and drew everyone from Dickens to the Beatles for Look and Learn as well as contributing covers for various series, including "Famous Couples" and "When They Were Young" in the late 1960s. Some of his best work was contributed to the long-running series "The Story of Opera", penned by Robin May, which gave Bruce full scope for some imaginative scenes as well as realistic portrayals of famous opera composers of the past. At the other end of the scale, Bruce also drew a fascinating history of soccer.

Prior to working for Look and Learn, Bruce had illustrated book covers for Digit Books in the late 1950s, titles including The Deep Six by Martin Dibner, I Came Back by Krysyna Zywulska, White August by John Boland, Air Patrol Biscay by Richard T. Bickers, Horns of the Dragon by Felix Trigg, Battle of the Bulge by William M. Stokoe, The God of Channel 1 by Donald Stacy, Nor Iron Bars a Cage by W. H. Aston, all in 1957. (There was also an artist who signed his name Bruce who worked for Pan Books in 1947-49, who may or may not be Ralph Bruce.) In 1970, he illustrated two slim volumes—Ancient Egypt and Football—for Beckenham-based publisher Patterson Blick.

The only background information I have been able to discover about Bruce is that he was a member of the Chelsea Arts Club, whose available records don't go back that far. There is a Ralph Bruce listed in contemporary phone records who lived at 13 Rudall Crescent, Hampstead, London N.W.3 for many years but this may be a red herring. Although an uncommon combination of names, there are still two Ralph Bruces who died in the area: Ralph Sinclair Bruce (b. 6 November 1908 in Chorlton, Lancs.) who died in Hampstead in 1975, and Ralph George H. Bruce (b. 8 March 1885 in St. Saviour, Southwark) who died in Brent district in 1982. The latter would be a better fit for the telephone book address (which was listed between 1952 and 1982), but our artist was active in 1970, when Ralph George H. Bruce was in his mid-eighties.

Further information on Ralph Bruce would be very welcome. In the meantime, Illustration Art Gallery is pleased to offer some examples of his work for sale which reveal the talent of this almost unknown artist.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Robert Brook

Despite a great deal of digging, almost nothing is known about artist Robert Brook. He appears to have begun working for the educational weekly Look and Learn in around 1965 and produced both colour and black & white illustrations for the magazine. His work could be highly detailed, as shown in the illustration above which he produced for the cover of issue 297 (23 September 1967), depicting a scene from Margaret Landon's novel Anna and the King, which was later turned into the musical The King and I (filmed in 1956, starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner).

This was one of a series of covers Brook produced featuring famous couples, others including Hiawatha & Minnehaha, Robespierre & Eleanor Duplay, Andrian Nikolayev & Valentina Tereshkova (two Russian cosmonauts) and Heathcliff & Cathy. Other cover series drawn by Brook included "Animal Heroes" and "Famous Partnerships".

Inside Look and Learn, he illustrated the serial "The Red Bonnet" by Henry Garnett with some delightful black & white illustrations and a feature on "The Literary Lambs"—Charles and Mary. He often worked in colour, illustrating historical features such as "The Tyrant of Mysore", about the Duke of Wellington's defeat of the Sultan of Mysore in 1799, and a long-running feature on "Dancing Around the World", which ran for 20 episodes in 1968.

Brook disappeared from the pages of Look and Learn to destinations unknown. Thankfully, some of his artwork has survived the years and is available for purchase at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Richard Henry Brock

Richard Henry Brock was the second son of Edmund Brock, the younger brother of Charles Edmund Brock and older brother of Henry Matthew Brock. The Brock brothers were each incredibly talented illustrators, but Richard is perhaps the least known of the three. Indeed, when the Brock family came to be written up by the Dictionary of National Biography, neither the date of Richard's birth nor death were known.

Richard was, in fact, born in Colney Hatch, London, in 1871, moving with his family to Cambridge a few years later where his father was a reader with the Cambridge University Press. All three Brocks -- as well as another brother, Thomas Alfred (who later went on to be a mathematician), and two sisters, Katherine Allison and Bertha Matilda, lived with their parents at St. Andrew the Less for many years.

Richard shared a studio with Charles and Harry Brock in Cambridge but did not share their interest in architecture, furniture and fashion. Where they gained reputations as book illustrators, Richard concentrated on painting, earning a modest income from local landscapes, mostly in oils. He did turn his hand of illustrating magazines for children such as The Prize and Chatterbox, although he lacked the skill and vigour of his brother Harry's illustrations.

In later years he illustrated a number of books, mostly for girls, including Tracked on the Trail by Nancy M. Haynes (1926), Another Pair of Shoes by Jessie Leckie Herbertson (1929) and The Windmill Guides by Violet M. Methley (1931). A couple of rare excursions into standard novels were illustrated editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (n.d.) and The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1924).

Richard Henry Brock died in Brentford, London, in 1943, aged 71.

The above illustration is offered for sale by the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Charles Edmund Brock

Charles Edmund Brock was a member of a distinguished family of artists. He was the eldest son of Edmund Brock, a scholar of medieval and oriental languages and a reader at the Cambridge University Press. Edmund, born in 1840 in Shepreth, Cambridgeshire, was also the son of a painter, Jeremiah Brock. Moving to London, Edmund worked as a bookmaker in his early career. He married Mary Ann Louise Pegram in 1867 and the first of seven children, Alice Emma, was born the following year.

Charles Edmund followed on 5 February 1870, born in Upper Holloway. He grew up in London and St Andrew the Less, Cambridge, where his family moved in the 1870s. Here he studied at the Higher Grade School and in the studio of Cambridge sculptor Henry Wiles.

Brock began his illustrative career working for a number of different publishers. For George Routledge & Sons he illustrated The Parachute by J. R. Johnson (1891); and for Tyneside publisher Walter Scott he illustrated The Humour of Germany (1892) and The Humour of America (1893) in wash. But it was as an illustrator for the Cranford series published by Macmillan that he first came to public attention. Charles -- who dropped his middle name when signing his work -- produced 130 black & white illustrations for Thomas Hood's Humorous Poems (1893) and 100 for an edition of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1894). In 1895, Brock illustrated Annals of the Parish by John Galt and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, but his major achievement was for the two-volume Macmillan edition of Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho! (1896).

At the same time he was producing illustrations for The Sunday Magazine and Good Words, and was now in great demand. For Service and Paton he illustrated Ivanhoe in 1897, followed by The Lady of the Lake (1898), The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1898) and The Vicar of Wakefield (1898).

Charles's career was followed closely by that of his younger brother, Henry Matthew Brock, who also illustrated books for Macmillan and Service & Paton's English Illustrated Novels series. The two shared a studio with a third brother, Richard Henry Brock, and Charles and Harry's mutual fascination with furniture and costumes of the 18th and early 19th century meant that they filled the studio with artefacts and reference material.

The two began working for J. M. Dent in the late 1890s, producing illustrations for editions of Jane Austin's novels. Charles also contributed pen & ink drawings to two volumes of Charles Lamb's The Essays of Elia (1900) and watercolour illustrations to Dent's English Idylls series (1904-09).

Writing in the Dictionary of National Biography, Ian Rogerson expresses the opinion that "Because of their versatility and willingness to take on such a wide variety of work, it is believed that the Brocks did not command the same respect publishers accorded Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, who were much less prolific. As a result, they did not have the opportunity to work on lavish picture books issued by such publishers as Heinemann and Hodder and Stoughton between the turn of the century and 1914. Charles's best opportunity was to contribute coloured illustrations for Sampson Low's boxed, limited issues of Blackmore's Lorna Doone (1910) and three of Jeffrey Farnol's popular historical novels." Charles's association with Farnol, for whom he produced a great many book jackets, would continue until his death.

Illustrations in books suffered during the depressed 1920s and 1930s, but Charles continued to find work, including a series of Dickens's works, Pickwick Papers, Christmas Tales, Nicholas Nickleby and Martin Chuzzlewit (1930-32), The Heroes of Asgard by Annie & Eliza Keary (1930) and The Cuckoo Clock by Mrs. Molesworth (1931). He also worked for periodicals, including Punch, The Strand, The Graphic and The Captain.

Charles exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour, as did Harry and Richard, and was elected a member of the Royal Institute in 1908.

Charles was married to Annie Dudley Smith in 1902. He died at his home, Cranford, 38 Grange Road, Cambridge, on 28 February 1938, aged 68.

Examples of Charles Edmund Brock's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Graham Allen

Born in 1940, Graham Allen is one of the unsung cartoonists whose work filled Fleetway's humour comics for 20 years, although his career in comics began many years earlier. A talent for humour must have run in the family as Allen's father, Clive, was half of a variety hall double act with Bobby Joy and for ten years was Max Miller's pianist.

Graham was already on Fleetway's staff by 1957 as an art bodger working on Davy Crockett and Kanasas Kid stories for Cowboy Comics Library. In the mid-1960s he established himself as a cartoonist with Fleetway drawing "Sir Munchkin—Have Lance Will Travel" for Lion and "One Man and his Dog" for Buster, as well as a weekly strip, "Lord Elpus", for Sunday Extra. He was lured over to work for Odhams on Smash!, Pow! and Wham! in a Baxendale-inspired anarchic style, although he had always crammed every inch of space with multiple characters dating back to the days of "Sir Munchkin". Probably his best work appeared in Smash! where he drew "Tuffy McGrew" and "The Nervs".

With the merger of Odhams' editorial with IPC's, Allen's work began to appear in the newly restyled IPC humour comics. Whizzer & Chips featured "Give a Dog a Bone" from its first issue, featuring the antics of a pooch who always finds trouble when trying to find a place to hide a bone; whilst another doggy character's ongoing battle with a butcher ("Mutt 'n' Chops") began appearing in Buster a few months later. IPC's next launch, Cor!!, featured the antics of the endlessly bored "Eddie" and a trickster whose attempts to spoil people's fun always ended in a comeuppance for "Spoilsport".

Allen also drew "Mickey's Moonbugs" for TV21 & Joe 90 and "Trouble Shooter" for Score 'n' Roar before linking up with Look-In to draw "Please Sir!", adapting the TV series starring John Alderton as teacher Bernard Hedges and a classroom full of miscreants led by Peter Cleall's Eric Duffy. Duffy and his pals (girlfriend Sharon, dimwitted Dennis and the rest) also starred in a spin-off series, The Fenn Street Gang, which Allen also transferred to the pages of Look-In.

One of Allen's most fondly-remembered strips, "Fiends and Neighbours" debuted in Cor!! in 1973, transferring to Buster when Cor!! was merged a few months later. In it, the Jones's, a nice respectable couple in a nice, quiet neighbourhood, find their lives are subjected to all kinds of terrors by newcomers, the Really-Ghastly family, who move in next door.

Allen continued to supply IPC with many more strips during the 1970s, including "Spy School" for new launch Whoopee! in 1974 and "Scruffy Dog and Shaggy Dog" and "Clarence Stringbean" for Buster, as well as drawing strips for D. C. Thomson ("Copycat" for Magic, and "Digby the Human Mole" for Plug) and TV Comic ("Nelly and her Telly").

In 1981, Allen began drawing his best known strip, "Pub Dog" for the Daily Express and, later, the Evening News. Allen's newspaper work in the 1980s and 1990s included "King Kat" in the Daily Star, "One Boy and His Dog" in the News of the World and "Rocky Starr" in People Magazine. He was also briefly the political cartoonist for Robert Maxwell's London Daily News.

Already a prolific illustrator of books (many of them featuring animals and nature), in the 1990s Allen established himself as a caricaturist of politicians and others in the Daily Express.

Some of Graham Allen's work on Please Sir is available for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Luis Arcas Brauner

Luis Arcas Brauner was a widely admired painter of portraits (including those of Spanish royalty), landscapes and still life. Born in Valencia on 20 October 1934, he enrolled in the School of Commerce at his father's insistence. Arcas, who wanted to devote himself to the arts, eventually entered the Escuela Superior de Bellas artes de San Carlos in Valencia, where he studied until 1954. In that year he held his first exhibition.

Arcas won numerous awards throughout his career as a painter, including the Silver Medal at the 13th Exposición de arte Universitario in 1952, the Premio extradordinario nacional at the 5th National Competition of Fine Arts in Alicante in 1956 and the Premio "La Coruña" at the exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1960.

His work was widely exhibited in Spain and in North and South America. He was one of the artists who participated in the "Setenta y cinco años de pintura valenciana" (Seventy-Five years of Valencian painting) exhibition supported by the Valencia City Council in 1975. A retrospective of his work, "Treinta años de vida profesional" (Thirty years of professional life), was exhibited at the Caja de Ahorros de Valencia.

He died in Cambridge, England, in July 1989, aged 54. Five years after his death, his work was celebrated as part of "Un siglo de pintura valenciana" (A century of Valencian painting) in Valencia.

The above illustration of a mounted hussar was painted for the children's educational magazine World of Wonder in 1971 and is available for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Latest Art: September 2010

Will Eisner
Over 140 new art works added so far this month from 50 artists including 7 artists  NEW to the Gallery)
Enjoy the newly added art in our September slideshow!

Neal AdamsFour exciting colour prints depicting Tarzan in dynamic action scenes
Severino Baraldicolourful painting showing Ancient costumes
Jesus Blascocharming paintings entitled Making Sandwiches and Digging for Victory
Brian Bolland
History of the DC Universe Portfolio NEW
John BoltonHourglass portfolio of 5 stunning B&W prints signed by Bolton
Frank BrangwynLimited edtition The Way Of The Cross portfolio NEW
Robert Brookan atmospheric pen and ink wash entitled Red Bonnet after the adventures of Pierre the young son of a murdered Vicomte, caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution
Ralph Brucesigned pen and inks featuring Walteof the last Anglo-Saxon Earl commiting treason and pleading before King William
CazaBox set with 8 Plates and large format full colour book with cover signed by Caza.
Richard Corbenexciting Pilgor the Plunderer portfolio of 8 stunning plates
Graham Coton
dramatic paintings depicting a sinking submarine, the Long Ordeal of William Mann and The Mayflower Sails Again
Reginald B Davisgorgeous painting of an African Grey Parrot
Neville Dearatmospheric gouache Livingstone I Presume?, painted for Look and Learn magazine
Will EisnerThe Spirit full colour four page tabloid size adventure for everyone's favourite masked crime hunter
Gerry Embletonfine paintings including British Soldier Before Battle of Saratoga, The Battle of Senlac and Merlin Casts a Spell, plus Hande Hoch!
Ron Embletonresonant paintings including Cardinal Wolsey and Sir Thomas More, Pilgrim Fathers and Courage of the Chavante, plus a study of Coventry Cathedral and Beauty and the Beast serial
Dan Escottstriking watercolours depicting some surprising Cities' Coats-of-arms plus Samurai and The Burghers Of Calais Submit to Edward III
Harry Greena striking portrait of a Carib Indian, the London Blitz and a colourful illustration of Bus and Rail working symbiotically
Wilf Hardy
fine depictions of Korean Dragon Warship and a close-up of Aircraft landing gear in action signed by the artist
Burne Hogarthrare portfolio of 6 B&W King Arthur prints (signed)
Richard Hookdistinct illustrations depicting Edwardians at the Seaside, a Duellist and a Brass Band (signed)
Andrew Howatstriking depictions of the Russian Revolution and The Legend of Beowulf
Peter Jacksonglorious paintings featuring King Henry hunting with falcons and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and St Paul's Cathedral
Hank Jankussigned Portfolio of REM prints NEW
Jack Keaydynamic gouache showing an explorer travelling down a river by raft with an African guide
Jack Kirby
amazing portfolio of World's Famous Comic Books Artists (16 prints by Walt Simonson, Jean-Claude Gal, Bob McLeod, John Buscema, John Severin, Caza, Mike Zeck, Brian Bolland, Yves Chaland, Denis Sire, Howard Chaykin, Gil Kane, Mike Kaluta, ...!)
Bill Laceywonderful Odd Inventions including a windmill-driven car!
Viginio Livraghiuplifting painting of Brer Rabbit's Picnic in the Woods signed by Livraghi NEW
Angus McBridedramatic illustration of the Dardanelles Disaster
Hugh McNeillcharming watercolours featuring Harold Hare's Garden Party
Philip Mendozacharming gouaches featuring Mouseland and Nigel, Stephanie and the King
Frank Miller
magnificent Marvel Team-Up Portfolio Set 2 showcasing assorted Marvel heavy weights in superhero team-up action
MoebiusLimited edition Portfolios featuring City of Fire, Verdere Napoli and Sur L'Étoile Une Croisière Citroën
Rudy NebresCreatures of the Night Portfolio signed by Nebres NEW
Mark A Nelsongripping Aliens Portfolio including rare mini comic by Mark Verheiden and Mark Nelson
Will Nicklessatmospheric scenes of yesteryear Penny Post, Bandit Country and Postal delivery in Elizabethan times NEW
Patrick Nicollesporting originals including Jimmy Wilde vs Pancho Villa (Boxing) and Man Bites Dog (running)
Alex Ninoset of eight The Fantasy Worlds of Alex Nino prints signed by Alex Nino
Alexander Oliphantdramatic depiction of a scene from the opening instalment of the story Sea Change by Richard Armstrong
Jose Ortizbeguiling and amusing The Pied Piper of Hamelin illustration for a children's book
Nadir Quinto
Music Charms the Savage Beast plus other illustrations for a children's magazine
Simoncharming watercolour painted for a Christmas greeting card Christmas Surprise for Rabbit
Stobopainting of Combine Harvesters At Work signed by the artist NEW
Ferdinando Tacconisome paintings with a strong Nautical theme, including Crossing the Equator and Visiting the Ship's Bridge
Veta glorious painted reproduction of Frank Frazetta's classic Egyptian Queen picture!
Gerry Woodvivid paintings featuring Vickers mini-submarine plus German Retreat from Moscow
Wally Woodtwo fine Portfolios of prints EC Weird Science Portfolio and Wallace Wood Illustrator Archives vol. 1
Peter Woolcock
glorious illustrations from Wind in the Willows featuring Toad, Ratty and Mole
Bernie Wrightsonmacabre full colour Portfolio of Berni Wrightson Apparitions prints
Unattributedglorious illustration of Nellie the Elephant!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peter Andrews

I have to admit that I've struck out on Peter Andrews... can't find a thing about him apart from the titles of a handful of childrens' classics he illustrated in the late 1960s. There was an artist named Peter B. Andrews who did the illustrations for Rim-Rocked. A story of the New West by Emmie D. Mygatt (New York, Longmans, Green & Co., 1952) who might just be the same guy.

Andrews illustrated a couple of pieces in the magazine Bible Story in 1964, one of which is offered for sale by the Illustration Art Gallery.

Illustrated Books
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, abridged by Sarah Lindsey. Brighton, Litor Publishers, 1967.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, abridged by Sarah Lindsey. Brighton, Litor Publishers, 1967.
Sinbad, retold by Shirley Dean. Robert J. Tyndall Ltd., 1968.