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, May 30, 2012

S. Pajaczkowski

Stefan Pajączkowski was a Polish artist who illustrated books in his native Poland, and was known primarily for his expertise on Polish military subjects.

Born in Lviv (now part of the Ukraine) on 29 January 1900, the son of physicia Vladimir Pajączkowski, who was the director of the General Hospital in Sanok for many years, and his wife Wanda Sękowskich Pajączkowska. Stefan Pajączkowski graduated from the Gimnazjum Sanockim in 1918 and then aided soldiers returning from the front, earning a silver medal from the Austrian Red Cross. It was during the war, and a visit to Vienna's museums and galleries, that his passion for art grew, although at the end of the war — and with it the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire — he joined the Military Academy in Wiener-Neustadt.

Pajączkowski joined a reserve cavalry squadron but was admitted the following year to the Old Riding School and spent some time in hospital in 1920. He studied at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lviv but abandoned the notion of becoming a lawyer in favour of drawing and painting in the studio of war artist Zygmunt Rodakowski.

He graduated from the Lviv Landowners Agricultural  course in 1926, he settled in Wańkowicach and ran a farm as well as being appointed a lieutenant in the general militia. He was married in 1927. At the outbreak of World War II, Pajączkowski took up a position as steward of an estate in Kostarowcach in the county of Sanok. At the end of the war he was to be found with military units in Przemyśl in the south east of Poland. He was demobbed in 1946 with the rank of captain.

After the war he settled with his family in Poznan where he worked in real estate until 1950, later taking a job with the Krajowym Związku Spółdzielni Przemysłu Ludowego i Artystycznego [National Co-operative Union of the Folk and Art Industry]. In 1951 he became a member of the Związku Polskich Artystów Plastyków [Association of Polish Artists and Designers].

Although he painted extensively from the 1920s on, his best period is considered to be the 1950s when he made numerous paintings and watercolours of battle scences and uniforms. In 1956, he helped re-establish and became curator of the Wielkopolska Military Museum which had existed in Poznan in 1919-39; the collection was first exhibited at the pavilion at Old Market Square in Poznan in February 1963. In 1965, he helped establish the Stowarzyszenia Miłośników Dawnej Broni i Barwy [Association of Friends of Old Arms and Colours].

"1,000 Years of Polish Arms" was a major exhibition of Stefan Pajączkowski's paintings that visited many Polish cities; his expertise at depicting Polish military uniforms, especially those of the Polish Cavalry, can be seen in the 1980 collection Jazda Polska.

Pajączkowski died suddenly in Edinburgh on 2 June 1978 whilst visiting the UK and Scotland. His ashes were returned to Poland where they were buried at Junikowskim Cemetary, Poznan.

Examples of Stefan Pajączkowski's paintings can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Francesco Palma

Palma was a contributor of a double-page feature about Spartacus to a 1970s Tell Me Why annual but is otherwise unknown.

Examples of artwork by Francesco Palma can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

R F Outcault

R. F. Outcault was the creator of The Yellow Kid, often cited as "the hero of the first true comic strip" (to quote The World Encyclopedia of Comics, ed. Maurice Horn). The Yellow Kid was a fad that lasted only briefly but proved culturally significant and left enough ephemeral detritus behind that he was not forgotten.

Richard Felton Outcault was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on 14 January 1863, the son of Jesse Pugh Outcalt (1833-1910), a cabinet maker who owned a furniture business, and his wife Catherine Ann (nee Davis). He was born with the surname Outcalt and known to his family and friends as Dick.

Dick Outcalt showed an early talent for drawing. At school in Lancaster he would sketch teachers and scholars in class. At the age of 15 he travelled to Cincinnati and enrolled in the McMicken University's School of Design where he studied for three years. Returning to Lancaster, his father established him with a studio and he became a portrait painter. This did not particularly suit his talents as he preferred to produce more humorous drawings. Instead, he found work as a painter with the Hall Safe and Lock Company in Cincinnati.

At the same time, he used his talents to produce illustrations for local newspapers and worked on the Cincinnati Graphic and later on the Cincinnati Enquirer as a cub reporter. It was a story he wrote and illustrated for the Enquirer about an exhibition of the work of Thomas A. Edison that brought him to the attention of the famous inventor. Edison needed a technical illustrator for the 1888 Centennial Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Middle Atlantic States, which was to be held in Cincinnati that year, and hired Outcalt. Impressed by the drawings, Edison employed Outcalt as a technical illustrator at his West Orange, New Jersey, headquarters and sent him to Paris to prepare for the Exposition Universelle, held between May and October 1889. Whilst in Paris, Outcalt — by now signing himself Outcault — found time to study art in Paris's Latin Quarter and developed the habit of wearing a beret and cape.

Outcault returned to New York to work on the staff of Electrical Magazine, owned by one of Edison's friends. In Lancaster he married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Jane ("Mamie") Martin, the 20-year-old daughter of a local banker, on 25 December 1890. The newly married couple settled in Flushing, New York, and Outcault began freelancing cartoons and jokes to Truth, Judge and Life magazines where they were well received. It was here that he developed the style and characteristics that would make his name; his cartoons were highly detailed and many featured the street kids who lived in the slum tenements of New York. Eventually, Outcault settled on one location for his cartoons, Hogan's Alley.

Outcault was hired in 1894 to produce technical illustrations for the New York World, but continued to sell cartoons. It was in the pages of Truth that he introduced a bald, snaggle-toothed young character in a nightshirt on 2 June 1894. The background character appeared three more times over the next ten months. This fourth cartoon, originally published on 9 February 1895, was reprinted in the New York World and Outcault began producing new cartoons for the paper. From 5 May 1895, Outcault's cartoons began to expand in size and appear in colour and the bald little kid — his nightshirt blue in that first colour cartoon — developed from a background character on the sidelines of the cartoon and began to feature more prominently.

On 5 January 1896 the kid's nightshirt became yellow for the first time and, whilst the character was never named, he was from then on referred to as the Yellow Kid. Over the next few months the silent Kid began to issue irreverent messages to his readers on his nightshirt, usually commenting on the subject of the day's cartoon. The growing popularity of the character — a 'type' that Outcault would see around the slums on his newspaper assignments — earned him the notice of advertisers; the bright yellow shirt proved an attractive billboard and before long there was a great deal of Yellow Kid merchandise available, ranging from buttons to booze.

The growth in popularity of the Kid coincided with a newspaper war that raged between the New York World, published by Joseph Pulitzer and the New York Journal, founded by William Randolph Hearst, who raided the World for some of its best artists and writers, including Outcault. Outcault's final cartoon in the New York World appeared on 17 May 1896... but it was not the end for the characters of Hogan's Alley, as the page was continued by George B. Luks.

Hearst, meanwhile, advertised heavily that the New York Journal was now the home of the Yellow Kid, appearing in the Sunday colour supplement each week in a series of full-page panels under the title "McFadden's Row of Flats". The war between the Journal and the World was still in full force and stories became more and more sensational in the battle for readers — to the point where stories were of dubious veracity. To distinguish between the two papers, Hearst's was often referred to as the Yellow Kid Paper, but at that time both papers were featuring the Yellow Kid, who was still appearing in Hogan's Alley in the World. Because of this, the two were inexorably linked and as early as 1897, the New York Press was referring negatively to the "yellow journalism" of the two papers.

One apparent myth regarding the Kid is that Hearst and Pulitzer went to court over ownership of the character. According to Richard D. Olson, "The weak link in the myth is the court decision—there doesn't appear to be any record of such a decision, and I know a lot of people who have looked for it." Elsewhere, we learn that Outcault tried to apply for copyright of "The Yellow Dugan Kid" in September 1896, but due to an irregularity in his application, copyright protection was never granted.

The lack of control he could exercise over his creation led Outcault to abandon the Yellow Kid. Hearst employed him as the editor of the comic page of the New York Evening Journal where he created "Casey's Corner" and "The Huckleberry Volunteers", the Yellow Kid occasionally popping up in both strips. Outcault left Hearst to create "Poor Li'l Mose" for the New York Herald in 1901 and, around the same time, produced "Shakespeare in Possumville" for Judge.

However, it was his next creation, "Buster Brown", launched in the New York Herald on 4 May 1902, that put Outcault back in the public eye. The main character was a young child of wealthy parents who dressed him like Little Lord Fauntleroy; however, Buster Brown was actually a practical joker, breaking windows or playing pranks which usually ends with him receiving a 'licking' from his mother.

The character again proved very popular and Outcault was again tempted by money to take the strip to Hearst's New York Journal. "Buster Brown" was continued in the Herald by other artists until 1911; Outcault, meanwhile, launched his own nameless version in the Journal, which would run until 1921 (with reprints continuing to appear in some papers as late as 1926). In this instance, Outcault made sure he retained all the merchandising rights to the character and benefited from the countless spin-offs into advertising and theatre. Outcault rapidly became a rich man and as early as 1905 was earning more from selling clothing and merchandise than he was from the syndication of the comic strip.

In 1909, he set up the Outcault Advertising Company to exploit the success of his creations, although he continued to draw the Sunday (now nameless) Buster Brown strip until 1921. He retired, passing control of the Outcault Company to his son, Richard F. Outcault Jr., who became its new president.

Outcault concentrated on painting for the next few years, exhibiting widely. He also reprinted volumes of his Yellow Kid and Buster Brown comics. In the summer of 1928 he fell suddenly ill and died on 28 September at the age of 65.

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Olivia (Olivia De Bernardinis)

Olivia has described herself as "a painter of women, sexualized, surreal women. People always ask me how I got into the business. What they really want to know is why I am such an anomaly, Which I'm not ... I think its strange that women aren't known for this genre, since it is ours to know."

Her first book was introduced by Hugh Hefner, who noted, "Male artists tend to do the predictable in erotica. Olivia surprises. She works with patterns — from the natural to the quasi-natural, from the intricate traceries of lingerie to the startling lines of a tattoo. None of the women in this collection are simply nude: They are contained by lace, by metal, by satin, by leather. Beneath the designs, beneath the artifice is the feminine form."

Born in Long Beach, California, on 29 November 1948, Olivia Amanda De Bernardinis grew up primarily on the the east coast. She began drawing at the age of three or four, developing an early interest in drawing a Barbie-like character based, she says, on her mother. After attending the New York School of Visual Arts (1968-70), she worked at numerous bars and clubs as a waitress or barmaid whilst she began producing artwork — minimalist designs, some of which were exhibited at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in the early 1970s.

From around 1974, she began drawing for adult magazines and established herself as a leading erotic artist, publishing the first of numerous portfolios and illustrations for Playboy in 1984. She married Joel Beren in 1979, a photographer who also acts of agent for Olivia's paintings, which were sold and licensed through their own companies O Card Company and Ozone Productions. They moved to Malibu, California, in 1987, where they continue to live and work.

Olivia's books have included Let Them Eat Cheesecake: The Art of Olivia (1993), Second Slice: The Art of Olivia II (1997), Cheesecake Chronicles Vol. 1 (2000), American Geisha: The Art of Olivia III (2003), Bettie Page by Olivia (2006) and Malibu Cheesecake (2011). As well as producing prints, calendars and note cards, she recently collaborated on a limited edition print which featured a poem by Neil Gaiman.

Artwork by Olivia can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Giorgio Olivetti

Giorgio Olivetti was born in Bologna on 20 April 1908. Little seems to be known about his career outside of his work on cinema posters. One imagines that he began his professional career as an artist in the 1920s, although the earliest work I have been able to trace dates from 1942, a film poster promoting the release of Il Bacio della Pantera [Cat People] starring Simone Simon.

From thereon, Olivetti produced a steady stream of film posters starring everyone from Charlie Chaplin (Luci della Ribalta [The Great Dictator], 1952) to John Wayne (A Cavalieri dei Nord Ovest [She Wore a Yellow Ribbon], 1949; La battaglia di Alamo [The Alamo],1960). His posters include La foresta Incantata [The Enchanted Forest], 1945; Forza Bruta [Brute Force], 1947; Singapore, 1948; L'Ambiziosa [Payment on Demand], 1951; Seduzione mortale [Angel Face], 1952, Rancho Notorious, 1952; Il Forestiero [The Million Pound Note], 1953; Vortice, 1953; Vera Cruz, 1954; La Ragazza del Secolo [It Should Happen to You], 1954; Riccardo III, 1955; Tempesta sul Nilo [Storm Over the Nile], 1955; Il Cacciatore di Indiani [The Indian Fighter], 1955; Quado la citta dorme [While the City Sleeps], 1956; Trapezio [Trapeze], 1956; L'Alibi era perfetto [Beyond a Reasonable Doubt], 1956; Una Strega in Paradiso [Bell, Book and Candle], 1958; A qualcuno piace caldo [Some Like It Hot], 1959; La dolce vita, 1959; Un maledetto imbroglio, 1959; Il Mattatore (aka Love and Larceny), 1960; Viva L'Italia, 1961; I cannoni di Navarone [The Guns of Navaronne], 1961; Il conquistatore di Corinto, 1961; Invito ad una Sparatoria [Invitation to a Gunfighter], 1964; Una Pistola per Ringo, 1965; Io, io, io... e gli altri, 1965; Doringo [The Glory Guys], 1965; Gambit, 1966; A Sud-Ovest di Sonora [The Appaloosa], 1966; I Professionisti [The Professionals], 1966; Casino Royale, 1967; Emmanuelle, 1969.

In Italy, he also illustrated covers for Films in Anteprima [Filmes in Review] (1947) and at least one calendar (Calendario di Frate Indovino, 1965). Beginning in the late 1950s, in common with a number of leading Italian cinema poster artists, Olivetti worked briefly for British publishers in the late 1950s, producing cover illustrations for the Sexton Blake Library (1958-59) and True Life Library (1960) via Cosmopolitan Artists. An illustration featuring Joan of Arc appeared in an early issue of Look and Learn in 1962.

Examples of Giorgio Olivetti's work for be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.