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, March 27, 2013

George Wunder

George Wunder is most fondly remembered today as the artist of 'Terry and the Pirates', which he took over from Milton Caniff and made his own for 26 years. At its peak, 'Terry' was syndicated in more than 300 papers.

Born in Manhattan on 24 April 1912, the son of Gus Wunder (a florist) and his wife May,  George S. Wunder grew up in Kingston, New York. His interest in comics was sparked early and he took correspondence courses – including the International Correspondence School art class – in order to become a professional artist. At the age of 24 he found work at the Associated Press, where he worked alongside famed illustrator Noel Sickles and sports cartoonist Tom Paprocki.

His earliest cartoons appeared in editorial features and strips such as 'Can Hitler Beat the Russian Jinx?' whilst at Associated. He enlisted in the US Army in March 1943 and was released in February 1946 with the rank of Sergeant. Returning to A.P., he drew the factual strip 'See For Yourself' in 1946.

In 1946, Caniff left 'Terry and the Pirates' and – according to Caniff – a hundred artists applied for the job of replacing him. Wunder's submissions were approved by the Tribune-News Syndicate and his first strip appeared on 30 December 1946. Wunder, although recognised as a skilled artist in his own rights, could never replace a unique talent like Caniff and his artwork. His artwork was highly detailed, but some critics consider his characters to all look essentially the same and complain that the stories lacked Caniff's humour.

Wunder drew both the daily and Sunday editions of the strip and was assisted at various times by George Evans, Lee Elias, Russ Heath, Fred Kida, Don Sherwood, Frank Springer and Wally Wood. When Wunder took over the strip, Terry had joined the US Air Force and there he remained throughout the next two and a half decades despite military-themed strips falling in popularity during the Vietnam War. 'Terry and the Pirates' was still carried by around 100 newspapers when, in 1973, Wunder announced his retirement. At the time, Wunder commented: "It's a strip I've enjoyed doing, but on the other hand, it has been, oh, a chore. The sheer mechanics of producing that much work week in and week out ties you down."

With Wunder's departure, the strip came to an end, the last panels appearing on 25 February 1973, Wunder admitting that "the fighter pilot is no longer the glamorous, reckless defender of the free world against all comers. He's now the cold-blooded professional dropping napalm on women and children." His work promoting the Air Force was recognised by the Air Force itself, who awarded the cartoonist their Exceptional Service Award in 1963. Wunder, a member of the Illustrators Club and the National Cartoonists Society, was awarded the latter's Silver T-Square Award in 1970.

In the 1950s, Wunder drew a number of promotional comics featuring Terry for Canada Dry. In the 1970s he wrote and illustrated a number of books on American military history.

Wunder was married to Mildred (nee Smith) and lived in Sherman, Connecticut. He died on 13 December 1987 at New Milford Hospital following a heart attack. aged 75, survived by Mildred and his younger sister, Beatrice Bogert.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Colin Wyatt

Colin Wyatt was born in Rainham, Essex, on 14 January 1939, and began making extra pocket money as a young boy by drawing popular comic characters in chalk on pavements and selling drawings to his schoolfriends. On leaving school in 1954 he began working in a shipping office in London. He applied for a job with the Amalgamated Press, joining them in 1957 as an art assistant on Tiny Tots.

Wyatt worked for almost twenty years on the nursery comics Jack & Jill and Playhour, a period slightly interrupted by National Service for which he spent 27 hours with the R.A.F. His first solo strip 'Harry on His Own', featured Harry Hamster from one of the popular strips in Playhour, 'The Wonderful tales of Willow Wood'. He also drew episodes of 'Teddy and Cuddly' and 'Chalky the Blackboard Boy' in the 1960s as well as colouring 'Num Num and His Funny Family'. In 1965, he created a humour page, 'Peter Panda's Page', for Purnell's Parents magazine which ran until 1967.

In 1971, Wyatt began working on IPC's Disney titles, producing covers and posters for annuals, monthlies and weeklies, also illustrating most of the free gift inserts for Disney comics. Wyatt was even invited to Disney's Burbank, California, studios to see what happened behind the scenes.

In 1975 he took a radical change in direction when he began working on Action and then 2000AD, where he became art editor in 1978. During this period he was also drawing 'The Gingerbread Boy' for Playhour.

Wyatt turned freelance in 1980 and has worked on a variety of projects since, illustrating numerous annuals and books, including Victoria Has a Surprise Party by Angela Rippon (1983). He was the visual creator of The Poddington Peas, created by Paul Needs for a series of books in 1986. It was turned into an animated feature for the BBC, who broadcast 13 episodes in 1989. An attempt to revive the series in 3D in 2009 fell by the wayside.

As well as working on well know characters such as Sooty and Sweep, The Flintstones, The Muppet Babies, Danger Mouse, Bananas in Pyjamas, Digimon, The Care Bears, Noddy and Thomas the Tank Engine, he has also produced artwork for plates, cards, puzzles and other merchandise.

Wyatt has recently written, illustrated and published his own series of books featuring a team of superheroic animals known as the Jet Set, who will come to the aid of any wild animals in trouble. The books, all published in 2011, include A Cry for Help, Footprints in the Snow!, A Home of Their Own! and Making a Splash!. Profits from the books raised money for the Born Free Foundation animal charity.

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Andrew Wilson

One of the centrepieces of the girls' comic Princess was the strip 'The Happy Days'. This hugely popular strip was the combined work of Mike & Jenny Butterworth on scrips and Andrew Wilson on art. The light-hearted family adventures of the strip's heroine, Sue Day, carried the strip through the amalgamation of Princess with Tina in 1967 and eventually it ran for 13 years before finally coming to an end in 1973.

For nearly the whole run, the artist was Andrew J. Wilson  whose loose, flowing style is not to be mistaken for the other Sue Day artist, whose work – stylistically similar to the artwork of W. Bryce-Hamilton – appeared in the Princess Picture Library and who occasionally filled-in for Wilson on the main weekly strip.

Wilson's only other known strip for Princess Tina was 'Lassie Come Home'. After the adventures of the Day family came to an end, he disappears from view – probably to D. C. Thomson's girls' papers – before reappearing briefly at Fleetway drawing adventure strips for Buster, where he took over 'The Runaways' from Joe Colquhoun. 'The Byrds of Paradise Island' (1978-80) and 'Johnny's Journey' (1980) are his last known work.

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

N. C. Wyeth

N. C. Wyeth was an American painter noted for his illustrations of classic novels, painted in a realistic style. Over the years he produced over 3,000 paintings for some 112 books. He illustrated 25 of the Scribner Classics line, including the debut novel Treasure Island, which were best-sellers

Newell Convers Wyeth was born in Needham, Massachusetts, on 22 October 1882, his talent for art encouraged by his mother, who was acquainted with literary giants of the day, Henry David Thoreau and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. By the age of 12, Wyeth was painting superb watercolours. He attended the Mechanics Arts School, the Massachusetts Normal Arts School, and the Eric Paper School of Art. At the latter he learned illustration under George Loftus Noves and Charles W. Reed.

Wyeth was accepted at Howard Pyle’s School of Art in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1902 where his exuberant personality and talent made him a standout student. Pyle is considered the father of American illustration and emphasised visiting historical sites and the use of props and costumes, designed to stimulate the imagination as well as make the action and costumes appear authentic.

Wyeth’s first professional commission – a bucking bronco – appeared on the cover of Saturday Evening Post on 21 February 1903. When the paper commissioned him to illustrated a Western story, Pyle urged Wyeth to head out to the Wild West. In Colorado, Wyeth worked alongside professional cowboys, doing chores around the ranch and rounding up cattle. He visited Native American sites and worked as a mail courier after his money was stolen. A second trip two years later resulted in the beginnings of a collection of authentic artefacts.

Wyeth's famous illustrations to the classics included Treasure Island (1911), Kidnapped (1913), Robin Hood (1917), The Last of the Mohicans (1919), Robinson Crusoe (1920), Rip Van Winkle (1921), The White Company (1922) and The Yearling (1939). His illustrations also included paintings of rural life, book illustrations that encompassed countless topics and magazine illustrations for periodicals, including Century, Harper’s, Ladies Home Journal, McClure’s, Outing, The Popular Magazine and Scribner’s. He also drew posters, calendars and advertising for clients including Lucky Strike and Coca-Cola, and painted murals and portraits.

His enormous success did not make him particularly happy and he complained bitterly about the commercialism on which he was dependent, yet it allowed him to buy an old captain’s house in Port Clyde, Maine, in the 1930s where he took his family for holidays and where he painted seascapes. In 1941 he was elected to the National Academy.

He was married to Carolyn Bockius and settled in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in 1908. The couple had five children, four of whom – Henrietta Wyeth Hurd (1907-1997), Carolyn Wyeth (1909-1994), Ann Wyeth McCoy (1915-2005) and Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) – went on to become artists; another son, Nathaniel C. Wyeth (1911-1990), was the inventor of the plastic bottles commonly used for drinks.

Wyeth's life ended in tragedy on 19 October 1945, aged 62. It was his habit to take his 3-year-old grandson, Newell (the son of his youngest child, Nathaniel), on his morning errands and the two were together in Wyeth's Ford Station Wagon when it stalled on a  railway crossing. They were both killed instantly when the car was struck by a freight train.

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