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, January 9, 2013

C. L. Doughty

Cecil Langley Doughty was one of the most prolific and successful historical illustrators to work on Look and Learn and other weekly educational papers. He produced several thousand illustrations between 1961 and 1982, his output astonishing in both quantity and quality.

Doughty was born in Withernsea, Yorkshire, on 7 November 1913 and trained at Battersea Polytechnic. His earliest comic strip was a two-page Buffalo Bill adventure which appeared in Knockout in July 1948. Doughty produced strips for Phillip Marx’s Star Flash Comic and Challenger Comic in 1948, followed by the cover and interior art for an adaptation of 'Oliver Twist' for the first issue of A Classic in Pictures (1949). 'Lorna Doone' followed soon after (in issue 8) before Doughty returned to the Amalgamated Press, drawing ‘Terry Brent’, a spot-the-clue detective series for School Friend.

Doughty found his metier when he began drawing for Thriller Comics, the 64-page pocket library edited by Leonard Matthews. His first tale was an adaptation of W. Harrison Ainsworth’s Windsor Castle (1953) followed by a variety of stories featuring Robin Hood and Dick Turpin. Critic David Ashford, a long-time fan of Doughty’s work, has said, “Turpin’s comrades were beautifully realised by Doughty. Based, as they are, on R. H. Brock’s drawings for the Newnes pocket book series of the 1930s, all the varied personalities came to life – among them, the elegant “gentleman highwayman” Tom King, the swaggering Irishman, Pat O’Flynn and, perhaps best of all, the humorous character Jem Peters, he of the mutton chop whiskers. All are portrayed with obvious affection and enormous gusto. Strongly influenced not only by the Brock brothers but by other 19th century artists of 18th century subjects such as Hugh Thomson, Doughty’s style is, I think, best expressed in the one word, “debonair”. There is a certain way in which his leading characters stand, move and tilt their head which is peculiar to Doughty. It is a style which is ideal for these historical entertainments and strongly reminiscent at times of Douglas Fairbanks at his swashbuckling best.”

Doughty’s ability to paint had not been recognised in the 1950s, his only full page painting appearing on the rear cover of an issue of Comet in 1958. He worked briefly for Express Weekly (1957-58) and for eight months took over the artwork for ‘Jack O’Lantern’, a historical adventure strip in Eagle (1959-60).

In 1962, Doughty began producing illustrations in colour and black & white for Look & Learn. Doughty occasionally wrote his own scripts for the series on ‘Famous Houses’ that appeared on the centre pages of in early issues. 

When Look and Learn closed in April 1982, Doughty decided to retire from commercial artwork and concentrate on landscapes. Already in his late sixties, he held an exhibition of his ‘straight’ work in Carmarthen, where he was then living.  He also took on commissions and produced some magnificent paintings for fans.

In 1985, Doughty moved to a dilapidated cottage with a splendid studio, but died shortly after, on 26 October 1985, aged 71. An extensive biography and gallery of Doughty's Look and Learn work appeared in 2012 entitled Pages From History.

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

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