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, June 27, 2012

Paul A. Nicholas

Little is known about Nicholas. He produced many beautiful watercolour paintings of birds of all varieties and other nature scenes, incorporating woodlands and river banks. Paintings appeared in the 1960s and 1970s — he was active at least 1964-72 — but I have not traced any books illustrated by Nicholas. It is possible that he was an amateur, albeit talented, painter rather than a full-time illustrator.

Examples of artwork by Paul A. Nicholas can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Harry North

For an artist so widely admired, there is surprisingly little to be found about Harry North.

North would appear to have begun his career as an art assistant at IPC in the late 1960s before finding regular work as an artist at Look-In where his first work (a fill-in) appeared in February '71. He soon established himself with the colour strip "On the Buses" which ran until 1974 and he remained a Look-In regular until 1988, drawing "Doctor in Charge" (1974), "Doctor on the Go" (1975-76), "It's Madness" (1981), "Super Gran" (1985), "No.73" (1986-87), "Gilbert" (1987-88) and "Alf" (1988).

Strips in other papers included "The Michael Jackson Story" in Valentine (1973), the James Bond strip "Doomcrack" (Daily Star, 1981) and contributions to News on Sunday (1987) and Heavy Metal (1981/82/93).

Parallel to his work in comics and newspapers, he was a regular illustrator and cover artist for MAD Magazine in both the UK and US. Because of a difference in publishing schedule, the UK edition of MAD had to include newly originated material, including covers. North provided 26 covers between 1976-88, beginning with an image of Ping Pong (King Kong) and including along the way Coronation Street, Apocalypse Now, Charles & Diana, the Oscars and EastEnders. For the American magazine, where he contributed between 1976-94, he drew satirical strip version of "Star Roars" (1978), "Moneyraker" (1980) and "Purple Acid Rain" (1985) as well as contributions to "The MAD Nasty File".

North was also known outside the UK (his work appearing in Pilote and Zona 84) and also illustrated  a number of books, including The Shocking Book of Records by Martin Guinness (1983) and The Twitmarsh Files; or, The Barmy Army by R. T. Fishall (1985).

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Russ Nicholson

Russ Nicholson describes himself thus:
Russ Nicholson is an illustrator best known over the years for his black and white fantasy art. He has contributed to such notable game related titles such as as 'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain', first in the illustrated series of Fighting Fantasy game books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. He also illustrated many creatures in the original UK contribution to the first edition of the 'The Fiend Folio', and the six original published "episodes" of 'The Fabled Lands', and numerous Games Workshop products, and to their magazine White Dwarf. He studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Scotland. Russ moved to England in the 1970's and, save for a brief sojourn in Papua New Guinea, has lived and worked in England ever since. For over fifty years Russ has produced work for a wide range of companies and publishers, including Puffin, Pan, Collins, Hodder and Stoughton, TSR, Games Workshop, Hoggshead Publishing, DC Thomson, and Le Grimoire Publications. His work has been reproduced in over twenty countries.
Deconstructing this a little...

Nicholson was educated at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, part of Dundee University. He came to the attention of fantasy fans through his work for fanzines in the 1970s. His early work appeared in girls' comics and annuals. He has revealed: "I was introduced to the world of drawing comics through a comic artist, Ken Houghton, who ran a comic artist evening class at a school where I taught Art & Design."

Nicholson contributing to Bunty, Diana, Jinty, Misty and Tracy and he also produced cartoons for Mayfair in around 1980. His career really took off in the early 1980s with his association with the Fighting Fantasy games books. Nicholson had been the illustrator of Dicing With Dragons: An Introduction to Role-Playing Games (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982) written by Ian Livingstone. The book included an adventure game, 'Eye of the Dragon'.

In the mid-1970s, Livingstone was the co-founder, with Steve Jackson, of Games Workshop, who were importers of Dungeons & Dragons and publishers of White Dwarf. Nicholson has been a prolific illustrator for the magazine and the company.

In 1981, Livingstone and Jackson wrote the first of a series of fantasy role-playing adventure books which they sold to Puffin Books and published as The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in 1982, which Nicholson illustrated. The book sold well and Puffin asked for more, which Livingstone and Jackson eagerly provided. Nicholson illustrated the following Fighting Fantasy titles: The Citadel of Chaos (1983) by Jackson, Masks of Mayhem by Robin Waterfield (1986), Chasms of Malice by Luke Sharp (1987), Stealer of Souls by Keith Martin (1988), Island of the Undead by Keith Martin (1992), Deathmoor by Robin Waterfield (1994) and Magehunter by Paul Mason (1995); Advanced Fighting Fantasy titles illustrated by Nicholson include Blacksand! (1990) and Allansia (1994), both by Marc Gascoigne & Pete Tamlyn. Nicholson also illustrated two Fighting Fantasy novels, Demonstealer by Marc Gascoigne (1991) and Shadowmaster by Ian Livingstone and Marc Gascoigne (1992).

Nicholson also created creatures for the Fiend Folio Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game book (TSR, 1981). The six episodes of the 'Fabled Land' series, co-written by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson, were (1) The War-Torn Kingdom (1995); (2) Cities of Gold and Glory (1995); (3) Over the Blood-Dark Sea (1995); (4) The Plains of Howling Darkness (1995); (5) The Court of Hidden Faces (1996); and (6) Lords of the Rising Sun (1996).

Other stories illustrated by Nicholson have included numerous titles by Dave Morris, including The Lands of Legend (Corgi, 1986), The Battlepits of Krath (Knight, 1987), The Kingdom of Weird (Knight, 1987), The Walls of Spyte by Morris & Oliver Johnson (Knight, 1988), Necklace of Skulls (Mammoth, 1993), Knightmare: Lord Fear's Domain (Yearling, 1994), Heart of Ice (Mammoth, 1994), Twist of Fate (Mammoth, 1994). He was also the illustrator for the Richard Carpenter's Robin of Sherwood Gamebooks: The King's Demon by Graham Staplehurst, 1987; The Sword of the Templar by Paul Mason, 1987.

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Will Nickless

Will Nickless began his career as an artist working for an agency at the age of 18, having left school at 14. He joined the staff of Motor magazine in 1920, producing technical drawings and, later, general figure work. He left to become a freelance artist, illustrating books and occasionally writing them himself. His work has been described as "very detailed . . . his pen and ink work looks like engraving."

William Nickless was born in Brentwood, Essex, on 4 April 1902, the son of William Thomas Nickless and his wife Ada Caroline (née Bayliss), married in London in 1899. He was the second eldest of five children and grew up in north St. Pancras, where his father worked as a builder's clerk.

Although interested in drawing from an early age, he followed his father's wishes and first worked at an engineering factory in Acton; however, he kept up his drawing and eventually found work as an artist at Gameges department store, where he drew illustrations for their mail order catalogues. He then joined Temple Press, working on their magazines The Motor, Aeroplane, Motor Cycling and Commercial Motor. It was whilst working on the staff at Temple that he met Nellie Agnes Carter, two years his junior. They married in 1927 and a son, named Will, was born the following year.

Nickless went freelance in 1940, working for various magazines, including the Radio Times, and advertising agencies. He also set up his own press, printing limited editions of his poetry and a series of anti-war etchings which were reproduced in New Leader in 1939.

During the war years he developed an interest in music and took up the violin, which led him to making several himself. His other hobbies included making model engines and astronomy, for which he used a reflecting telescope he had constructed himself.

After the Second World War, Nickless became a popular illustrator for children's books and annuals (including Eagle and Swift annuals). Between the 1940s and 1970s he illustrated the Worzel Gummidge books of Barbara Euphan Todd and classics by John Buchan (The Thirty-Nine Steps), Thomas Hughes (Tom Brown's Schoolday's) Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels). H. Rider Haggard (Allan Quatermain, King Solomon's Mines, Ayesha, She, Nada the Lily) and George Macdonald (The Princess and the Goblin), as well as contemporary adventure and historical adventure novels for both boys and girls, school stories and fairly tales.

As a writer, Nickless  penned a series of books about anthropomorphised animals, beginning with Owlglass in 1964; these area said to have been inspired by his living at Heathfield House, a Victorian house hidden within the Wealden Forest.

Nickless lived in Rotherfield, Sussex, for many years where he died in early 1977, aged 74.

Examples of Will Nickless's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery