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, November 30, 2011

Colin Wilson

Although primarily known in the UK as a 2000AD artist, it would be fair to say that Colin Wilson probably has one of the broadest fan bases of any artistic contributor to Britain's longest running boys' weekly. Whilst many artists have found popularity in America, Wilson turned east and gained a strong following for his work in Europe before working in the USA.

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 31 October 1949, Wilson attended Christchurch School of Art in 1967-68 before working as a commercial illustrator in advertising. He began contributing illustrations to a science fiction fanzine which led to an attempt in 1977 to edit his own comics fanzine, Strips, with the idea of promoting his own work (e.g. 'The Chronicles of Spandau', 'The Sound of Thunder') but which became a showcase for many other local talents. In 1979, he was one of the creators involved in the ecology-themed 'The Adventures of Captain Sunshine' published in Simply Living.

Wilson moved to London in 1980 and found work on 2000AD, drawing 'Judge Dredd' and various 'Future Shocks' before becoming the regular artist on 'Rogue Trooper'. Whilst still drawing the latter, he moved to Paris and spent six months approaching French publishers with a science fiction series he had created. He found a publisher in Jacques Glénat, who produced the series in three volumes — Rael (1984), Mantell (1986) and Alia (1989), the latter with writer Thierry Smolderen — under the overall title Dans l'Ombre du Soleil.

Wilson also took over the adventures of La Jeunesse de Blueberry (Young Blueberry) from artist Jean Giraud, drawing six albums: Les démons du Missouri (1985), Terreur sur le Kansas (1987), Le raid infernal (1987), written by Blueberry creator Jean-Michel Charlier, followed by three volumes scripted by François Corteggiani, La pousuite impitoyable (1992), Trois hommes pour Atlanta (1993) and Le prix du sang (1994). He also collaborated with Corteggiani on two volumes of Thuderhawks (1992-94).

Wilson returned to 2000AD and became an irregular contributor in 1998-2005, drawing 'Tor Cyan' and 'Rain Dogs' as well as further episodes of 'Judge Dredd'. He also began contributing to American comics with Point Blank (2002-03), written by Ed Brubaker and went on to draw Losers (2005), Battler Britton (2006) and Star Wars (various series, 2007-09).

He continued to also draw the dark crime noir series Du plomb dans la tête (Bullet to the Head) for French publishers Casterman, with three volumes — Les Petits poissons, Les Gros poissons and Du bordel dans l'aquarium — published in 2004-06. The series was optioned in 2008 and, at the time of writing, is in production under the title Headshot with Sylvester Stallone starring and Walter Hill directing.

Wilson continues to work on both sides of the Atlantic, his most recent work includes a collection of sketches, , published in France (2010), an issue of Gears of War (Wildstorm) and Jour J: Qui a Tué le Président? (2011), an alternative history tale built around the Kennedy assassination written by Fred Duval & Jean-Pierre Pécau.

Examples of Colin Wilson's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Robert Williams

Robert Williams is recognized as a fine artist, despite the terminology he and others have applied to his work as "lowbrow art". Williams has explained how the term came to be when, as an underground comix artist working on Zap Comix, Gilbert Shelton — a fellow ZAP Comix contributor and part-owner of underground publishing company Rip-Off Press — suggested collecting Williams paintings into book form. Williams tells the story that "No other publishing company anywhere would dare to undertake such an unorthodox project. It was decided at that time, since no authorized art institutions would recognize this form of art, to call my book The Lowbrow Art of Robt. Williams."

Robert L. Williams was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on 2 March 1943, the son of Robert Wandell Williams and his wife Betty Jane (nee Spink). Williams's father owned a drive-in restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama, popular with hot-rodders, which instilled an early fascination with cars in the young Robert. Williams had a generally delinquent childhood, involved in high jinx and gangs and was expelled from school in 9th grade.

At the age of 20, he travelled to Los Angeles and studied art at the Los Angeles City College, working on The Collegiate, the school paper. Here he met Suzanne Chorna, whom he married in 1964. After briefly attending The Chouinart Art Institute, Williams worked as a designer before joining the studio of Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, custom car builder and creator of Rat Fink, an icon amongst hot-rodders.

In 1968 he joined the close-knit group of underground artists known as the ZAP Comix Collective, creating the character Coochy Cooty in ZAP Comix. At the same time he was also producing paintings and prints under the banner 'Super Cartoon'; much of this early work was subsequently collected in The Lowbrow Art of Robt. Williams (1979). During the early years of punk rock, Williams' 'Zombie Mystery Paintings' proved popular with underground clubs and avant-garde galleries and were later collected (1986), where Robert Crumb, in his introduction, described them as "vivid American nightmares — a gaudy carnival midway of our seething, barbaric collective subconscious ... coarse, crude, yeah, ugly even ... they are also intense mind-boggling, eyeball feasts, revelations, visions, captured dreams."

Williams subsequent paintings (often signed Robt. Wms.) became more detailed and are often characterised by their vividly coloured psychedelic visuals incorporating realistic or comic vignettes His work has been further collected in Visual Addiction (1989), Views from a Tortured Libido (1993), Malicious Resplendence (1997), Hysteria in Remission (2002), Through Prehensile Eyes (2005) and other titles. Williams has also painted  album covers, notably for Guns N' Roses, t-shirts, shoes, prints and posters. He has staged a number of one-man shows at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, including Conceptual Realism (2009).

Williams received a Lifetime Achievement award at the Beyond Eden Fair in 2010. He has been involved in the publishing of a number of  publications promoting 'lowbrow' art, including ART? Alternatives and Juxtapoz. An essayist and lecturer, he was the subject of the 2010 documentary film Robert Williams Mr Bitchin.

Examples of Robert Williams's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pete Williams

Pete Williams is one of a seemingly thriving group of cartoonists from Merseyside who have filled the pages of our national newspapers with fun and humour over the years, amongst them Bill Tidy, Albert Rusling and Bill Stott whose works were celebrated alongside Williams at an exhibition at Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, in 1978.

Peter George Williams was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, on 27 January 1937, the eldest son of George H. Williams and his wife Margaret (nee Watterson). He had no formal training as an artist but sold cartoons widely for over forty years, his work appearing in magazines and newspapers both in the UK and abroad. The Dictionary of British Cartoonists and Caricaturists notes contributions to Punch, Private Eye, Daily Mail, Spectator, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star, People, Men Only and Mayfair. He was rewarded for his work with numerous awards, including the Berol Cartoonist of the Year in 1987, Waddingtons International Cartoon Awards in 1988 and awards in Belgium and Japan. Exhibitions of his work have been held in the Colchester Gallery, Essex, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, and the Library Theatre, Manchester.

Alongside his lengthy career as a cartoonist, Williams was also a part-time art teacher at the Alice Elliott and Watergate Schools in Liverpool.

Williams' younger brother, Mike, also became a cartoonist, selling his first cartoons to Punch in 1967.

Examples of Pete Williams' artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Claire Wendling

Clair Wendling is a French artist whose graphic novels, illustrations and prints have proved hugely popular in Europe and the USA during the past twenty years.

Born in Montpellier on 6 December1967, she studied for a BA in art and philosophy before enrolling at L'école des Beaux Arts d'Angoulême in 1989, During her final year she won the Alph'Art future prize at the Angoulême comics festival. That same year she began working for the French publisher Delacourt, contributing to the anthologies The Children of the Nile and Entrechats. Her first graphic novel, Les lumières de l'Amalou [Lights of Amalou], written by Christopher Gibelin, was published in 1990. The second volume of the series won the Press Award at Angoulême in 1991 and she was further rewarded as Best Young Illustrator at Angoulême the following year for her covers for Player One magazine.

In 1993 she illustrated a series of stamps, under the title 'le plaisir d'écrire' [the pleasure of writing] for the French Post Office and, in 1995, was one of the first illustrators invited by the CNBDI, Angoulême's museum of graphic art, to produce an image in the cement of the museum's forecourt.

With the completion of the Lights of Amalou series (five volumes published 1990-96), Wendling's next release was the graphic novel Iguana Bay (1996). She was then hired by Warner Brothers to work on their film The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot and other projects, but spent only eight months with the Los Angeles-based animation studio before frustration over creative constraints led her to quit and return to France, where she continued her work on graphic novels, game design — she was involved in the designs for the computer game Alone in the Dark IV (2000) — and illustration.

Her books include Desk (1999), Drawers (2001) and Daisies: Affogato all'Amarena (2010) as well as producing illustrations for various book projects, including the short story collection Sales petits contes [Dirty Little Stories], written by Yann (1997), Aphrodite (2000) and Vampires (2001). Numerous portfolios of her work have also been published.

Examples of Claire Wendling's work can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Michael Whittlesea

Born in London on 6 June 1938, Michael Whitlesea was educated at Harrow School of art before beginning a career in publishing.

Whittlesea was a regular book cover artist in the 1960s and 1970s working for  Heinemann, Newnes, Young World, Macdonald and Oxford University Press amongst others. He was a regular contributor to World of Wonder and Speed and Power in the 1970s, for the latter producing a series of stunning paintings based on the science fiction stories of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov in 1974-75. In the early 1980s, he illustrated the Make Science Magic series for Purnell.

Although he was painting whilst working commercially, he did not begin exhibiting until 1985 when his work appeared in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In that same year he was elected a member of both the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour and the New English Art Club, and won the Painter Stainers Award. In 1989 he was Ken Howard's Artist of Choice for an exhibition at the Art's Club, Dover Street, London and Tom Coates' Choice at the Mall Gallery in 1991. In 1991 he was a prize-winner at the Singer/Friedland/Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition, where he had been selected on a number of occasions. In 1998 he was commissioned to paint the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship.

Many further exhibitions have followed at the Royal Academy, Bankside Gallery, Mall Gallery, Langham Fine Art, Alresford Gallery, Royal West of England Academy, Royal College of Art, Chelsea Arts Club, Richard Hagen Gallery, Lennox Gallery and RONA Gallery.

In 2002, he won the Jans Ondaatje Rolls Award for Drawing at the NEAC Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London.

Whittlesea has also written two books: The Complete Book of Drawing (Michael Beazley, 1983; reprinted in 1992 as The Complete Step-by-Step Drawing Course) and The Complete Watercolour Course (Windward, 1987; reprinted in 1992 as The Complete Step-by-Step Watercolour Course).

He has said of his work: "I use oil or watercolours for painting and pastels and charcoal to draw. I work on primed canvas or good watercolour paper using a variety of hog hair and sable brushes. I have a very traditional way of working. I often work on 6 or more paintings at a time and I draw regularly and work from paintings. Drawings can be around for years before I think of using them in a painting...

"I still find painting a very difficult activity. Its unpredictable. At the start of each day. I am not sure that anything good will result and I have given up on achieving a style. Whatever develop, happens. There is no clear idea or vision of how a picture will look."

Examples of Mike Whittlesea's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.