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, February 16, 2011

Bill Baker

Bill Baker is one of many talented British artists lost to anonymity. Active between the 1950s and 1970s, Baker worked via the Temple Art Agency for a wide range of boys' and girls' titles, yet his name is almost unknown and I have been unable to track down any biographical information beyond the fact that his name was William G. Baker.

His earliest traced appearance is in the pages of Top Spot, where he drew one-off strips in 1959. A year later he could be found in the pages of Girl, drawing the strip 'New Rider at Clearwater'. This was the start of a fairly long association with that paper, as Baker went on to illustrate '21 Newlands Park', a long-running text serial that ran between 1961 and 1964.

Baker remained within the pages of girls' comics for at least 15 years, contributing to Princess Tina ('Life with Tina'), June ('Call Me Cupid', 'Wedding in the Family') and providing illustrations for Pixie Annual 1974, some of which can be seen in this column.

Baker went on to produce some of his finest work in the pages of Look and Learn, adapting novels by Jack London ('The Call of the Wild' and 'The Sea Wolf'), Jules Verne ('20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'), Miguel de Cervantes ('Don Quixote'), Edgar Allen Poe ('The Fall of the House of Usher'), Mark Twain ('The Prince and the Pauper'), Herman Melville ('Moby Dick'), Charles Kingsley ('Westward Ho!') and Charles Dickens ('A Tale of Two Cities'). Baker also did the occasional illustration for features (at least one dating back as far as 1964).

These strips ran in Look and Learn between 1974 and 1978, some of them brief but others, like 'A Tale of Two Cities' more substantial, running for three months. All shared a wealth of detail and some, like his two-part adaptation of 'The Fall of the House of Usher', are little gems that deserve to be reprinted.

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

1 comment:

  1. Bill Baker was my grandfather and lived from 1913 until his death aged 99 in 2012. He drew satirical cartoons under the pseudononym "pix" for the Sunday Pictorial during the early war years until he was called up in 1941 to the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, with whom he served with distinction until being demobbed in 1945.He fought in north Africa, Sicily, Italy (including Monte Cassino) and finished the war in Austria rounding up Cossacks who were fighting for the Nazis. He had five children, 11 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. After retiring he continued to paint in various materials and read avidly, living independently until his death in Cranbrook in Kent. We are all very proud of him!