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, December 28, 2011

Ken J Wood

Kenneth J. Wood was a popular nature artist who was especially know for his detailed paintings of birds.

Little seems to have been published about Wood. He was a keen falconer and member of the British Falconers' Club and is remembered fondly by many in those circles. At some point in his career he lived in a caravan near Findon, West Sussex. He was the Hon Secretary of the Society of Wildlife Artists from 1983 until the 1990s. He died suddenly whilst still young: taken ill whilst hawking, he was diagnosed with cancer.

Examples of original art by Kenneth J. Wood can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gerry Wood

Although his name is recognised amongst British comic fans, little is known about Gerry Wood. He is probably best known as an illustrator, working in the 1970s in World of Wonder, Look and Learn and Speed and Power, which culminated in 1977 with his taking over the artwork for what was, by then, entitled 'More Adventures of the Trigan Empire'.

Wood seems to have begun working in the early 1960s for Battle Picture Library, then drawing for Air Ace and Micron's Combat Picture Library. His book illustrations include Sky Carnival by W. F. Hallstead (1969). He returned to Air Ace in 1970 before producing his first comic strip in colour, 'A Leap Into the Future' for the early issues of World of Wonder.

A later job was to draw a pull-out poster for Battle Picture Weekly in 1976. He continued to illustrate educational books following the demise of Look and Learn, including Pyramids by Anne Millard (1989), Roman Fort by Fiona Macdonald (1996) and Ancient African Towns by Fiona Macdonald (1998).

Examples of original artwork by Gerry Wood can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Maurice Wilson


Born in London on 15 March 1914, Maurice Charles John Wilson was best known as a wildlife artist whose work appeared in dozens of books and on cards given away with Brooke Bond tea. He was educated at the Hastings School of Art (under Philip Cole) and the Royal Academy Schools (under Malcolm Osborne and Robert Austin) and later taught anatomical and plant drawing. He worked with members of the Natural History Museum in reconstructing the look of dinosaurs from fossils and his work in this area was much respected, inspiring books such as A History of Primates (1949), Fossil Amphibian and Reptiles (1954), Fossil Birds (1958) and Human Evolution: An Illustrated Guide (1989).

Wilson wrote and illustrated Just Monkeys (1937). After the war he illustrated dozens of books, including Dogs (1946), Coastal Craft (1947), Zoo Animals (1948), A Guide to Earth History (1956), Birds and Beasts (1956), Mermaids and Mastadons: A Book of Unnatural History (1957), Elephants (1958), Animals We Know (1959), Fables from Aesop (1961), Donkey Work (1962), A World of Animals (1962), Animals (1964), Animals of the Arctic (1964), Birds (1965), The Origins of Man (1968), First Interest on the Farm (1969), A Long Time Ago (1969-70), Patch by Helen Griffiths (1970), Man, Civilzation and Conquest (1971), China Long Ago (1972), First Interest in the Wider World (1972), Double Trouble by Doreen Tovey (1972), Making the Horse Laugh by Doreen Tovey (1974), The Earliest Farmers and the First Cities (1974), The Quzzer Book About People (1975), Oh Those Cats by Frances Mann (1975), A Quorum of Cats: An Anthology ed. Elizabeth Lee (1976), Bambi by Felix Salten (1976), Prehistoric Animals (1976), A Closer Look at Arctic Lands (1976), Prehistoric Animals (1976), A Closer Look at Plains Indians (1977), A Closer Look at Eskimos (1977), Ponies (1977), Birds of Prey (1978), A Closer Look at Amazonian Indians (1978), A Closer Look at the Bedouin (1978), Cats in the Belfry by Doreen Tovey (1978), Horses (1979), Lions and Tigers (1979), A Closer Look at Aboriginies (1979), Birds (1979), A Comfort of Cats by Doreen Tovey (1979), A Closer Look at Grasslands (1979), Lifeclass (1980), The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1983), The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1984), All the Mowgli Stories by Rudyard Kipling (1984), Lions and Tigers (1985) and Deserts (1986).

Wilson lived in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, where he died in November 1987.

Wilson's autobiography, The Wartime Adventures of B Squadron 'Corpse' (1997), was publishing posthumously, relating how he joined the 11th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment in 1941 and spent much of the war in a Matilda tank, weathering sandstorms in the Middle East, taking part in the landings at Walcheren and in the 'CDL' experiment which involved placing blindingly bright carbon arc lamps in the turrets of tanks to create a wall of light when the tanks were lined up—an idea that was never used in battle.

Many of his illustrations were produced to accompany displays at the Natural History Museum and many can be found in the Natural History Museum's Collection.

Examples of Maurice Wilson's original artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gahan Wilson

Gahan Wilson is an American cartoonist, best known for his work in Playboy and The New Yorker. A 2009 collection celebrating Wilson's Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons ran to 3 volumes and 942 pages. A master of the fanciful and macabre, Wilson has also contributed regularly to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Collier's and National Lampoon, which ran his comic strip 'Nuts'.

Born in Evanston, Illinois on 18 February 1930, Wilson was the only child of a successful executive in a steel company and a talented artist in a Chicago advertising firm. He has described his upbringing as dysfunctional due to his partents' alcoholism, although he was also encouraged to draw. From an early age his drawings featured elements of horror and he became a fan of Chester Gould's 'Dick Tracy', with its many grotesque characters, and 'Little Orphan Annie' by Harold Gray. Radio also played an important part in his childhood love of the mysterious and macabre, as did Hollywood. Through a family friend he was able to visit Hollywood studios in the 1940s.

Wilson attended a number of commercial art studios whilst in High School and studied fine art at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was briefly in the Air Force but a bad leg excluded him from active duty. He then moved to Greenwich Village, selling cartoons to the major weekly magazines Collier's and Look.

Wilson attempted approach to Harvey Kurtzman following the launch of Trump resulted accidentally in his introduction to Hugh Hefner. He had spotted a Chicago address in Trump and visited the offices when he returned to Chicago to visit his parents over Christmas. Trump was, in fact, edited in New York, but Wilson found himself introduced to Hefner who began running his colour cartoons in Playboy in the mid-1950s.

Although best known for his single panel cartoons, Wilson produced 'Nuts' for National Lampoon as a response to Charles Schultz's 'Peanuts' where children would philosophise about any subject; 'Nuts' was Wilson's response of what it was really like to be a little child. Wilson ended the strip when he discovered it was being sold abroad, although he did subsequently return to the paper. Wilson also produced a syndicated weekly strip under the title 'Gahan Wilson's Sunday Funnies'.

Wilson's first collection of cartoons appeared in 1965 as Gahan Wilson's Graveside Manner and was followed by many other books, including collections of short stories and novels for both adults and children. He was also a film reviewer for The Twilight Zone Magazine, a book reviewer for Realms of Fantasy and designed a computer game, Gahan Wilson's The Ultimate Haunted House.

Wilson's cartoons have earned him a number of awards, including World Fantasy Convention Award in 1981, the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award in 2005 and the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 from the National Cartoonists Society. He has also been President of the Cartoonist Guild. He was the subject of a documentary directed by Steven-Charles Jaffe entitled Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird.

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

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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bruce C. Windo

Bruce C. Windo is an artist who, until now, has resisted discovery. I seem to return to him every couple of years, whenever I spot a book cover or illustration from his pen. Inevitably, new information always seems to come in just too late.

Back in 2009, when I mentioned Windo on my Bear Alley blog, it was a four-line note, the only known information being that he was born in Kent in 1920. An update a year later added a little information but nothing further about his career. I can now add a little more.

Bruce Carrington Windo was born in Kent on 20 March 1920, his birth registered in Strood, although he was probably born in nearby Meopham where his father was the head schoolmaster at Meopham Primary School between 1902 and 1934. Percy Carrington Windo had been born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, in 1871, and married Emily Martin in Bristol in 1895; Percy was a school master in Bath, Avon, but, as his family grew, moved to Singleton, Sussex, where he ran Bay School.

Soon after, Percy and his family moved to Meopham, near Gravesend, Kent, and lived at The School House. Emily died in 1906, at the early age of 39, and Percy married Gertrude Mabel Melling two years later, who had been an organist in Singleton when Percy and Emily were at Bay School.

Percy is said to have been "very talented at handicrafts and drawing and his pupils craftwork reached a high standard." He also served as Parish Clerk. He died in Eastbourne, Sussex, in 1955, aged 83; his wife, Gertrude, died in Eastbourne in 1968, aged 93.

Bruce Carrinton Windo presumably gained some of his artistic talents from his father. He was 19 when the Second World War began and, again presumably, would have served in some capacity. Thus his artistic career was delayed until after World War II. The earliest work I have been able to trace would appear to be a poster of a coach advertising Duple Motor Bodies Ltd., signed Carrington-Windo in familiar small capitals. I believe further poster. The syle was very similar to railway poster advertising of the period and, apparently, Windo went on to produce further posters for regional bus companies in the 1950s.

Windo was active as a book cover artist from at least 1947 when a number of covers signed 'Bruce' were published by Pan Books (including Graham Greene's Journey Without Maps, Osbert Sitwell's Alive-Alive Oh! and other stories and at least half a dozen others). 'Bruce' was active in 1947-49, possibly giving up to concentrate on the more lucrative advertising posters.

Examples of his books covers begin to appear again in late 1955 from Panther Books and Windo's covers appeared regularly from Pan Books in 1956-58 and from Arrow Books in 1957-58. His covers could also be seen on pocket libraries in that same era, including Famous Romance Library (1956-58) and Schoolgirls' Picture Library (1959).

Windo's illustrations appeared in Look and Learn magazine as early as 1965 and as late as 1969; he also produced illustrations for World of Wonder and World of Knowledge Annual.

Bruce Carrington-Windo married Peggy Joan Shepherd in 1Q 1948. They lived at various addresses around Eastbourne, Sussex. I can trace the following from telephone books of the area: Flat 2, Castle Mount, Carlisle Road [1951/52], 17 Park Avenue, Hampden Park [1954/59] and 4/13 Granville Road [1976/83].

In later years, the Carrinton-Windos lived in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where Bruce died in 2006, aged 85; his wife died in 2008, aged 86.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Robert Maguire

Robert Maguire was one of the leading illustrators of American paperback, producing over 600 covers over a period of fifty years from 1950. Many fans consider him the best crime noir artist of his era, his work gracing the cover of pulp magazines Hollywood Detective and Manhunt and books with titles like My Gun, Her Body, I'll Kill You Next, Tall, Dark and Dead and Kiss for a Killer. Hardboiled writers like Bruno Fischer, Hal Ellson, David Goodis, Richard S. Prather, Jack Webb and Day Keene became best-sellers in the 1950s and 1960s, in part thanks to Maguire's eye-catching covers, the majority of them featuring iconic examples of 'good girl art'.

Robert A. Maguire was born on 3 August 1921, the son of a draftsman architect, and attended Duke University, although his education was interrupted by World War II. Released from service with the 88th Infantry, Maguire began studying under Frank Reilly at the Art Students League in New York where two of his contemporaries were Clark Hulings and James Bama, all three artists graduating in 1949.

Maguire found immediate success painting covers for Trojan Publications's line of pulp magazines. Before long he was working for the burgeoning paperback market, over the next few decades producing covers for almost every mainstream publishing company in New York: Pocket Books, Dell, Ace Books, Harper, Avon Books, Silhouette, Ballantine, Pyramid, Bantam, Lion, Berkeley, Beacon and Monarch. During a lull in the paperback market in the 1960s, he worked for Norcross Greeting Card Company painting Christmas scenes and other wholesome subjects...  not a gun or a dame in sight! A chance meeting with Walter Papp (a pulp illustrator who had graduated to book covers) led him back to paperback cover art.

Maguire usually used photo-reference for his covers, posing female models as femmes fatale, whilst often taking the male roles himself; a single trip to shoot three or four rolls of film provided him with enough reference for horses for several years. With no time to read the books, he relied on a brief from the publisher's art director, which usually involved little more than the girls' hair colour and how sensual they wanted the cover. Maguire would then produce five or six sketches, then a colour rough of the chosen image before painting the finished cover, usually in oils.

In the 1970s and 1980s, with the type of hardboiled novels he had illustrated now consigned to history, Maguire turned to other genres, painting covers for romances, westerns and science fiction, as well as best-sellers by the likes of John Irving and Herman Wouk. He quit painting covers around 1999, claiming that publishers now wanted paintings that looked like photographs and the choice of images was ruled over by salesmen and second rate art directors, offering nothing of interest creatively.

Robert Maguire was married twice, first to a model, whom he subsequently divorced; his second marriage, to Janice Maguire, lasted over twenty years. He died on 26 February 2005. A study of his work, Dames, Dolls and Gun Molls by Jim Silke, was published in 2009.

Examples of Robert Maguire's cover art can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sue Macartney-Snape

Sue Macartney-Snape has been poking fun at British stereotypes for over fifteen years in the pages of the Saturday Telegraph Magazine. With pin-sharp commentary by Victoria Mather, she has skewered fanciful fashions and foibles since 1994 in their weekly 'Social Stereotypes' column. John Julius Norwich has described her as a "master of caricature" and has said that her paintings "illustrate the English social scene more brilliantly and with greater accuracy than those of any other painter working today." Cartoonist Martin Rowson has said her artwork "can encapsulate an entire social milieu in a drooping eyelid or a flared nostril." Elsewhere she has been described as the "Wodehouse of Art".

Born in Tanzania, Sue Macartney-Snape grew up in Australia, arriving in London in 1980. She has exhibited widely, including sell out exhibitions with David Ker, Jonathan Clark and at the Sloane Club. She has also painted many commissions, including ones from Glyndebourne, The Metropolitan Opera and Barbara Amiel (Mrs. Conrad Black).

She won the 2004 Pont Award for drawing the British Character for her funny, colourful caricatures of folks from all walks of life, which have been collected in a series of books over the years. Another book, Araminta's Wedding, was a humorous story of the upper classes by Jilly Cooper.

Original prints of artwork by Sue Macartney-Snape can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

PUBLICATIONS


Araminta's Wedding; or, A Fortune Secured by Jilly Cooper. London, Mandarin, 1994.
Social Steriotypes series (all with Victoria Mather):
__Absolutely Typical, foreword by Auberon Waugh. London, Methuen, 1996.
__Absolutely Typical Too, foreword by Richard Ingrams. London, Methuen, 1997.
__The Party Blonde, foreword by Nicky Haslam, London, John Murray, 2000.
__The Embarrassing Parents, foreword by Nicholas Coleridge. London, John Murray, 2002.
__The Appalling Guests, foreword by Max Hastings. London, John Murray, 2003.
__The Perfect Family, foreword by Ned Sherrin, London, John Murray, 2004.
__The Mid-Life Crisis, foreword by Graydon Carter. London, John Murray, 2005.
__The Smelly Dog, foreword by Julian Fellowes. London, John Murray, 2006.
__The Wicked Teenager, forward by Giles Brandreth. London, John Murray, 2007.
__There'll Always be an England. London, Constable, 2010.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sydney Seymour Lucas

Sydney Seymour Lucas was an illustrator and portrait painter, the son of artist J. Seymour Lucas, R.A. (1849-1923) and his wife, also an artist, Paris-born Marie Elizabeth, daughter of Louis Dieudonne de Cornelissen (1851-1921), then living at 21 Queen Square. Born Sydney Charles Seymour Lucas on 9 May 1878, he was baptized at St John the Evangelist, Westminster, on 1 June 1878. In the 1880s, the family moved to 1 Woodchurch Road, St. John, West Hampstead, a purpose-built studio and home designed by John Seymour Lucas's friend, the architect Sydney Williams-Lee.

Lucas was educated in Suffolk (in 1891, he was boarding with James George Easton, vicar of St Margaret's Church, Ilkeshall St Margaret), Westminster School (1892-95) and at the Royal Academy Schools, and began selling illustrations professionally around the turn of the century (some references give the dates his work flourished as 1904-40).

Lucas was married in 1905 to Mary Douglas Clark. By 1911, Lucas and his family, which now included a son, Arthur Henry Seymour-Lucas, born in 1908, were living at 61 Rudolph Road, Bushey, Hertfordshire. Mary Douglas Seymour-Lucas died, in 1933, at the early age of 48 at the time, the Lucas family were living at 64 Falconer Road, Bushey.

Lucas worked at 6 Albert Studios, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea, in 1934. His younger sister, Marie Ellen Seymour Lucas (later Grubbe), also studied as an artist.

Lucas died in Blyth, Sussex, in 1954, aged 76.

Artwork by Sydney Seymour Lucas can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charlie Adlard

Charlie Adlard has been discovered and rediscovered a number of times in both the UK and US. After producing a string of short-lived strips beginning with 'Biggles Bear' in 1989, Adlard approached Steve MacManus with samples and was offered a Judge Dredd strip. He then drew various strips for the Judge Dredd Megazine, notably 'Armitage', about a brutal Brit-Cit cop and his partner, Treasure Steel (who subsequently featured in her own series), and for Marvel UK, where his best work was probably Dances With Demons, a 4-issue mini-series penned by Simon Jowett; a second collaboration with Jowett, entiteld 'Bloodrush', went unpublished.

By this time, Adlard had been discovered by American publishers, drawing stories for Black Orchid Annual, Marvel Comics Presents and Good Guys. After producing a five-issue run of Mars Attacks! for Topps, Adlard began working on the best-selling X-Files comic strip from the same publisher. The strip was a tremendous success and was still selling an average 130,000 copies per issue when Adlard decided to leave, claiming that the strip was straight-jacketed by the demands of the company and he had little artistic control.

He left to work on Shadowman for Acclaim and, although never short of relatively high-profile work (on, for instance, The Crow, Gen13, Superman and X-Men, it might be said that Adlard was critically discovered only when he began working on Larry Young's Astronauts in Trouble in 1999.

In the 2000s, Adlard was, again, kept busy on a range of titles, including Blair Witch: Dark Testaments and Double Image for Image; The Authority and The Establishment for WildStorm, Before the Fantastic Four, X-Men Unlimited, Peter Parker: Spider-Man, ThunderBolts and Warlock for Marvel and Batman/Scarface: A Psychodrama, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Harley Quinn and Batman: Gotham Knights for DC.

However, it was with The Walking Dead for Image that Adlard was yet again rediscovered in 2004. Adlard replaced original artist Tony Moore with issue 7 (April 2004) and has continued the series ever since, the series now approaching issue 90 at the time of writing. The post-zombie apocalypse storyline proved very popular with readers and rode a wave of zombie popularity in movies (28 Days Later and Resident Evil had both appeared in 2002). Countless zombie comics - most notably the Marvel Zombies sequence and spin-offs - have subsequently appeared but few have been as critically well-received as The Walking Dead, which won the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series in 2010. A 6-part television series based on the comic developed by Frank Darabont, began broadcasting in October 2010; a second series of 13-episodes was commissioned within days of the show's debut.

As well as his work in America, Adlard has retained his connections with the UK, drawing the graphic novel Playing the Game by Doris Lessing in 1995 and episodes of 'Nikolai Dante' for 2000AD in the late 1990s. However, it was the relaunch of Pat Mills' 'Savage' in 2004 that brought Adlard back to the attention of fans of British comics. He went on to draw three series of the character's revival between 2004 and 2007.

Adlard  has also played drums with various bands over the years (Wild Thyme, Bogus Monk, Mine Power Cosmic).

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Brian Lewis

Brian Lewis is an artist whose reputation has continued to endure long after his death. Known in science fiction circles for his often abstract covers for New Worlds, Science Fantasy and Science Fiction Adventures and in comic circles for his contributions to House of Hammer, appreciation of Lewis's work has grown as more of his work for other papers and magazines is discovered.

Brian Moncreif Lewis was born on 3 June 1929 and served his National Service with the RAF. An interest in science fiction led him to co-edit and contribute to The Medway Journal fanzine in the early 1950s. His first professional sale relating to SF is thought to be an illustration relating to 'Journey Into Space' for the Radio Times. His connections with Nova Publications began in 1954 and, between 1957 and 1962 he painted some 80 covers for their three SF magazines, his work often showing a strong surrealist influence. During the same period he also painted a number of rather more straight-forward covers for Digit Books.

Lewis made his comic strip debut in 1959, drawing early strips for Lone Star and TV Comic. However, it was with 'Jet Ace Logan' in Tiger that he found his feet and there followed a 13-month run on 'Captain Condor' in 1961-63. Lewis also proved adept at drawing sports and war strips, culminating in work for Eagle where he drew 'Mann of Battle' and 'Home of the Wanderers'. Science fiction was not forgotten and Lewis drew SF tales for Boys' World, Tiger and Hurricane.In 1964 he also proved himself as a humour artist when he began contributing cartoon strips to Wham! and, over the next few years, humour and adventure strips often ran concurrently in the pages of Smash!.

In the late 1960s, Lewis worked for the Central Office of Information on public information films and also contributed to the Beatles' animated movie Yellow Submarine. He suffered a heart attack in 1970 and struggled for some years, drawing strips for Countdown and Look-In and a series of scientific biographies for All About Science. In 1976, his agent contacted Dez Skinn suggesting Lewis as an artist for the upcoming House of Hammer; Skinn was only persuaded after seeing samples, but the connection proved fruitful, eventually leading to a brief association between Lewis and 2000AD where he drew covers and, briefly, the 'Dan Dare' strip.

A busy artist in the late 1970s, painting books covers and contributing to The Muppet Show Diary, annuals, Vampirella and Target magazine, Lewis suffered a heart attack and died on 4 December 1978, aged only 49.


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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

John Bolton

John Bolton is best known for his painted comic strips, his dark, photorealist style particularly effective on horror stories, in which genre he became somewhat typecast through his work on adaptations of Clive Barker and Sam Raimi's film Army of Darkness and his series of voluptuous she-vampire paintings. Bolton's work in the broader field of fantasy is probably best exemplified by his collaborations with Chris Claremont, which included Marada the She Wolf in Epic Illustrated and the 6-issue mini-series The Black Dragon.

Born in London, 23 May 1951, Bolton trained as civil engineer, then worked as a clothes salesman in London. Inspired by a childlhood love of drawing and painting, he took a 3-year course at East Ham Technical College, graduating with a degree in graphics and design. His first professional sales were made in 1971 when he contributed illustrations to a book on horses.

His first comics-related work came via Granddreams, illustrating annuals such as The Magician, The Lone Ranger, Planet of the Apes, Flash Gordon, New Avengers and Tarzan. His first strips appeared in House of Hammer in 1976, including adaptations of 'Dracula, Prince of Darkness' and 'One Million Years B.C.', and early episodes of the Steve Moore-written 'Father Shandor' series. Switching to colour, he made an immediate impact drawing 'The Bionic Woman' for Look-In. Bolton won the Eagle Award for Favourite Comicbook Artist (UK) in 1979.

His American debut came with 'Kull', written by Doug Moench for Marvel Preview in 1980. A year later, his first painted strips - 'The Llehs' - appeared in Epic Illustrated followed in 1982 by 'Marada the She-Wolf'. Dozens of short horror tales appeared in Twisted Tales, Alien Worlds, Pathways to Fantasy, Tales of Terror, Alien Encounters and Cheval Noir over the next few years, as did The Black Dragon. Bolton could also turn his hand to mainstream comicbooks, which he did with a run of back-up stories in Classic X-Men in 1986-89 and Wonder Woman Annual (1988).

Graphic novels like Someplace Strange (1988), written by Ann Nocenti, and The Yattering and Jack (1992), adapted from a Clive Barker story by Steve Niles, and his painting of the first issue of The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman helped cement his reputation as Britain's finest weird-fantasy/horror artist. He has since gone on to work on many other titles, chief amongst them Man-Bat (1995), written by Jamie Delano, Menz Insana (1997) by Christopher Fowler, Gifts of the Night (1999) by Paul Chadwick, Batman/Joker: Switch (2003) by Devin Grayson, God Save the Queen (2007) by Mike Carey, The Evil Dead (2008) by Mark Verheiden and The Green Woman (2010) by Peter Straub & Michael Easton.

Over the years, Bolton has also published portfolios, illustrated trading cards and worked as a storyboard and concept artist.

A Short Film About John Bolton (2003) was written and directed by Neil Gaiman, although it featured a fictional version of Bolton's life. Bolton is played by John O'Mahony, with Marcus Brigstocke playing an interviewer who discovers, to his cost, what inspires Bolton's disturbing art. Bolton himself had a cameo in the film.


His latest work is Shame: Conception for Renegade Arts Entertainment, released in July 2011; at the time of writing he is working on the second book in a proposed trilogy.

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kenneth Lilly

Kenneth Norman Lilly was one of the finest of British nature artists, his drawings of wildlife - most notably the kind of wildlife you would find in your hedgerow or nearby fields - drawn with a passion and interest for the subject.

Born in Bromley, Surrey, on 30 December 1929, the son of Cecil Lilly and his wife Raibie (nee Mayes), Lilly became a prolific contributor of  illustrations and covers to Look and Learn and Treasure. He produced a number of notable series for the former, illustrating Maxwell Knight’s ‘This Month in the Country’ (1967) and Ken Denham’s series on ‘Animal Families’ (1968).

Lilly was also a regular illustrator of books from the 1970s onwards and an exhibition of his animal paintings was held at the Medici Galleries in London in 1983. Some of the best illustrations can be found in Kenneth Lilly’s Animals (1988). As well as books, Lilly also illustrated a set of stamps entitled ‘Friends of the Earth’, released in 1986.


In 1992, Dorling Kindersley published a series of short children's books under the title Kenneth Lilly's Animal Ark, which grouped animals with common features (feathers, scales, spots or stripes) with a single sentence description by Angela Wilkes. A later series by Tessa Potter featured different animals and different seasons. One of his most notable series was a number of books which depicted animals at life size.

Lilly, who lived in Devon, died in the spring of 1996, aged 66.

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

Books illustrated by Kenneth Lilly
Seabirds by David Saunders. London, Hamlyn, 1971; some illustration reused in The Seashore by Jennifer Cochrane; illus. with others. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1973.
The Scandaroon by Henry Williamson. London, Macdonald & Co., 1972.
Birds of Prey by Glenys and Derek Lord. London, Hamlyn, 1979.
Some Birds and Mammals of the Field and Hedgerow. London, Medici Society, 1980.
The Squirrel by Margaret Lane. London, Methuen/Walker, 1981.
Animals at the Zoo. London, Methuen, 1982.
Animals in the Country. London, Methuen, 1982.
Animals in the Jungle. London, Methuen, 1982.
Animals of the Ocean. London, Methuen, 1982.
Animals on the Farm. London, Methuen, 1982.The Fox by Margaret Lane. London, Methuen, 1982.
Some Birds and Mammals of the Riverbank. London, The Medici Society, 1983.
Animal Builders. London, Walker, 1984
Arnimal Climbers. London, Walker, 1984.
Animal Jumpers. London, Walker, 1984.
Animal Runners. London, Walker, 1984.
Animal Swimmers. London, Walker, 1984.
Daytime Animals by Joanna Cole. London, Walker, 1985.
Nighttime Animals by Joanna Cole. London, Walker, 1985.
Come, Come to My Corner by William Mayne. London, Walker, 1986.
Kenneth Lilly's Animals by Joyce Pope. London, Walker, 1988.
Large as Life Animals by Joanna Cole. London, Walker, 1990.
The Animal Atlas by Barbara Taylor. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Colourful Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Feathery Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Furry Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Prickly Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Scaly Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Spotty Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Stripey Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
Wrinkly Animals by Angela Wilkes. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
A Field Full of Horses by Peter Hansard. London, Walker, 1993; with additional CD, Walker, 2010.
Baby Animals by Kate Hayden. London, Walker, 1996.
Digger: The Story of a Mole by Tessa Potter. London, Andersen, 1996.
Fang: The Story of a Fox by Tessa Potter. London, Andersen, 1996.
Greyfur: The Story of a Rabbit by Tessa Potter. London, Andersen, 1996.
Sarn: The Story of an Otter by Tessa Potter. London, Andersen, 1996.
The Big Book of Animals by Sheila Hanly. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1997.
My Little Animals Board Book. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1998.
My First Animal Board Book. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1999.
My First Animal Book. London, Dorling Kindersley, 2002.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Barrie Linklater

Born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, in 1931, Barrie Linklater studied at Woolwich Polytechnic School of Art and began his artistic career working in a London studio before leaving for Australia where he worked as a freelance for four years.

Returning to London, Linklater forged a reputation as a fine portrait artist and subsequently as an equestrian artist, his first commission in the latter area coming from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh during a sitting for a portrait in 1975. Equestrian work has since been commissioned by Her Majesty The Queen and the City of London amongst many others. In all he has 13 paintings in the Royal Collection and his work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. Linklater lives and works in Berkshire.

In the 1960s, Linklater contributed illustrations to Look and Learn's adaptation of H. G. Wells' 'The First Men in the Moon' in 1963 and later, in 1967, began producing covers and illustrations on a semi-regular basis.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vince Locke

Vince Locke is an American artist, often associated with grotesque and violent fantasy and horror images, although his work has also included mainstream superhero work for Batman and The Spectre, as well as work for British comics 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine.

Born in Michigan in 1966, the son of a sign painter. Influenced by artists like Andrew Wyeth and turn of the century illustrators, Locke came to fan attention with his work on Deadworld, a zombie horror series created by Stuart Kerr and Ralph Griffith for their own small press outfit Arrow Comics. Deadworld, by Kerr and Locke, was launched in 1987 but lasted only seven issues before the collapse of the black & white market in the US. Deadworld was continued by Caliber Comics and Locke continued drawing the series until 1991 as well as inking Baker Street in 1989-91.

Locke found work with Vertigo, drawing or inking episodes of The Sandman (1992-93), American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men (1994), Sandman Mystery Theatre (1994-95), Witchcraft: La Terreur (1998) and The Books of Faerie: Auberon's Tale (1998). For Paradox Press Locke drew A History of Violence (1997) written by John Wagner, which was filmed by David Cronenberg in 2005 with Viggo Mortensen in the lead role.

The artist has also been long associated with the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. He has painted covers for all their albums starting with Eaten Back to Life in 1989. The ultraviolent images - ranging from zombie doctors to visceral birth scenes. Locke also illustrated the graphic novel Evisceration Plague which was distributed during the band's tour promoting the album of that name and featured stories based on each of the songs.

In the early 2000s,  Locke was a popular contributor to White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast, producing many illustrations for the latter's Forgotten Realms role-playing games.In 2006-09, Locke drew a number of 'Tales from the Black Museum' one-off stories for Judge Dredd Megazine, a 'Tharg's Future Shocks' and two Judge Dredd yarns for 2000AD. He has also drawn illustrations for two collections of stories by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Frog Toes and Tentacles (2005), Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007) and A is for Alien (2009).

Locke, married and with three children, lives in the suburbs of Michigan.


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

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Luis Bermejo

Luis Bermejo was born Luis Bermejo Rojo in Madrid in 1931, although the family soon moved to Albacete. It was in Albacete that Bermejo began his professional career, still in his teens, as an assistant to Manuel Gago, himself only in his early twenties but already recognised as a great talent in Spanish comics. Gago had published his first comic strip in 1942 and quickly found work with Editorial Valenciana, drawing for the series Niño Gonzalo and Richard y Bakutu.

In 1944, Gago created El Guerrero del Antifaz [Warrior of the Mask], which would run for 668 issues, finally ending in 1966. Bermejo began as a letterer on the series in 1947 but, before long, was allowed to ink pages. With Gago’s aid, Bermejo launched his own series in 1948, creating El Rey del Mar [The King of the Sea] for Editorial Valenciana. Written by one of the top scriptwriters of the era, Pedro Quesada, it ran for 46 issues, over which time Bermejo began to assimilate influences other than Gago, notably Alex Raymond.

Bermejo’s comic work diversified. In 1949 he drew “Diablillos” [Mischief] for Chicos and, a couple of years later, “Polín, Poli y Pol-Pol” for the same paper; he drew similarly humorous strips for girls for the woman’s magazine Mariló.

Bermejo returned to Madrid to attend the Academy of Fine Arts at San Fernando, studying under illustrator Carlos Sáenz de Tejada. Bermejo’s schooling meant that a more realistic style and better figurework were on display in over 100 episodes of Aventuras del FBI [Adventures of the FBI], created for Madrid-based Editorial Rollán in 1951, following the successful launch of a series of novels with the title “FBI” a year earlier. The strip, following the adventures of FBI agent Jack Hope, is considered a classic in Spain, ran for years and the episodes drawn by Bermejo were recycled in the 1960s and 1970s, and later available in a complete collection.

Bermejo moved to Valencia and collaborated with a number of top Spanish writers, including Miguel González Casquel (one of the scriptwriters of Aventuras del FBI), with whom he created Sigur (1954) and “Federico Trotamundos” for Chicos (1955) and Pedro Quesada on the juvenile adventure series Roque Brío (1956). The latter was an unexpected failure, lasting on 8 editions, but the two teamed up again for episodes of Pantera Negra [Black Panther], launched in 1956 with artwork by José Ortiz and, later, Miguel Quesada, Manuel Gago’s brother-in-law who had worked with Bermejo in the 1940s.

Bermejo had by now established himself at Editorial Maga, working closely with Gago, Miguel and Pedro Quesada and José and Leopoldo Ortiz. Here he produced his second famous work, Apache, scripted by Pedro Quesada, which he drew for over 50 issues from 1958.

Bermejo was already in demand elsewhere, having produced his first strip for the British market via the agency A.L.I. in 1957—an issue of Super Detective Library featuring private eye Tod Claymore. Bermejo also contributed romance stories to Mirabelle, Romeo and Cherie in 1957-60. At the same time, he was still a busy artist in Spain, working for Bruguera on a series of literary adaptations: “La conquista de los poles”, “Un yanqui en la corte del Rey Arturo” (both published in 1957), “Una vida aventurerea” (1958), “Las aventuras del Club Pickwick” and “Las aventuras de Pinocho” (both 1959).

In 1960, Bermejo began drawing the character John Steel for Super Detective Library. The early stories were fairly commonplace war stories with Steel as a wartime agent for Military Intelligence. But when the stories switched to Thriller Picture Library, Steel was given a make-over and began featuring in a series of jazz-age, crime noir private eye yarns with Bermejo the main artist.

Contributions to War Picture Library, Battle Picture Library, Air Ace and Commando in 1960-62 firmly established Bermejo in the UK and he went on to draw “Mann of Battle” for Eagle (1962) and a series of stories featuring maritime adventurer Pike Mason in Boys’ World (1963-64).

To cope with the workload, Bermejo often worked with Matías Alonso, the main artist on Gago’s “El Guerrero del Antifaz” since 1961, and the two worked on a number of projects for Editorial Maga, including Marco Polo (1963), Vida y costumbres de los Vikingos (1965) and África y sus habitantes (1966). At the same time, Bermejo was having his biggest success in the UK when he worked on “Heros the Spartan” for Eagle, alternating adventures with Frank Bellamy in 1963-66.

Bermejo now had an informal studio set up, working with José Ortiz, Leopoldo Ortiz, Juan González Alacreu, Alfredo Sanchis Cortés and Emilio Frejo, their work agented by Bardon Art in the UK and by Pierro D’Ami in Italy. The Bermejo studio was responsible for many strips in the UK, notably “UFO Agent” in Eagle (1966) and “The Avengers” in Diana (1966-67).

Bermejo, solo, drew “The Missing Link” for Fantastic in 1967-68 and contributed illustrations to Tell Me Why, Look and Learn and Once Upon a Time, also painting the long-running fairy tale Princess Marigold for Treasure (1969-71).

Bermejo was a popular contributor to James Warren's horror magazines Vampirella, Creepy and Eerie in 1975-79, notably drawing "The Rook". In 1979-81, he drew an adaptation of Lord of the Rings which was published throughout Europe. He subsequently produced episodes of Storia Del West, drew "The Fox" for Vampirella and other for Warren. The recovering Spanish market also meant regular work in Cimoc, Metropol, Baladin, Hunter, Zona 84 and other magazines, as well as adapting books by Isaac Asimov and A. E. Van Vogt.

He worked on the revival of the famous adventure strip "El Capitán Trueno" [Captain Thunder] in 1986, but turned to painting and was able to retire from comics in the early 1990s.

Examples of artwork by Luis Bermejo can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Leo Baxendale

Leo Baxendale has been one of the few artists in Britain to advance humour strips in the past sixty years, although this is not to deny the technical skill of some practitioners before and after his work appeared. His work has been frenetic and violent at times, subtle and thought provoking at others. No other artist has argued the case of humour in British comics as strongly as Baxendale and few (if any) have the credentials to back up their arguments so soundly.

Born in Whittle-le-Woods, Lancashire, on 27 October 1930, Baxendale had a grammar school education; as an artist he was self-taught, his first job being to design paint labels for the Leyland Paint and Varnish Company. Between 1949 and 1950 he served with the catering corps. of the R.A.F., after which he worked as a staff artist for the Lancashire Evening Post, drawing sports cartoons, editorial illustrations, adverts and his own series of self-written articles.

Inspired by David Law’s "Dennis the Menace", he submitted work to D.C. Thomson's The Beano, a comic he had read as a child, and was immediately accepted, his first original character appearing in 1953, "Little Plum your Redskin Chum", followed shortly afterwards by "Minnie me Minx", intended as a female counterpart to the popular Dennis. His third Beano set was the single panel "When the Bell Rings", later to become a full-page strip under the title "The Bash Street Kids", Baxendale's first strip to introduce a team of characters. The atmosphere of total mayhem that Baxendale was developing was certainly at odds with the traditional humour strip, particularly those of the Amalgamated Press, Thomson's main rivals. A contemporary of Baxendale's, Ken Reid, was similarly minded, and The Beano was unrivalled for humour at that time. Baxendale also drew "The Banana Bunch" for Beezer from its first issue, and would later create "The Three Bears" for Beano in 1959.

Ten years of tremendous output for relatively little reward left Baxendale suffering from exhaustion and depression, and after contracting pneumonia he left the firm following an invitation from Odhams Press to create a new humour title; this Baxendale did, and Wham! appeared in 1964 with a whole army of new Baxendale creations from "General Nit and his Barmy Army", "Georgie's Germs" and "The Tiddlers" to "Biff" and the full-colour double-page "Eagle-Eye, Junior Spy". Most of the strips were passed on to other artists to continue after the first issue, and Baxendale even succeeded in tempting Ken Reid from Thomson's. Such was the success of the title that Smash! was created as a follow up for which Baxendale created "Bad Penny", "The Nerves", "The Swots and the Blots" and "Grimly Feendish".

Baxendale's interest in politics inspired him to publish a weekly two-page newsletter, Strategic Commentary, written by radical strategist Terence Heelas, which he published for two-and-a-half years (1965-67).

When Odhams was absorbed by lPC Magazines, Baxendale continued to draw, taking on some of the strips he had created full-time (e.g. "The Swots and the Blots" for Smash! and later Valiant when those titles were amalgamated), and many new creations, chief amongst them "The Pirates" and "Mervyn's Monsters" for Buster, "Bluebottle and Basher" for Valiant, "The Lion Lot" for Lion, "Clever Dick" for Buster and "Sweeny Toddler" for Whoopee!.

Baxendale left l.P.C. in 1975, writing three books featuring Willy the Kid for Duckworth, who also published his autobiography, A Very Funny Business in 1978. Baxendale drew for Eppo in Holland whilst preparing a case against Thomson's for recognition as creator of his many Beano characters which had continued under various different artists. The case finally came to a mutually agreeable but undisclosed settlement in 1987 after seven years. Baxendale celebrated the result with the release of Thrrp! from Knockabout, his first work in the UK for 12 years. In 1990 he returned to the comic strip with "I Love You Baby Basil", a weekly strip for the Guardian newspaper, which he continued to draw until March 1992.

Baxendale has written a series of books - The Encroachment, On Comedy: The Beano and Ideology, Pictures in the Mind, The Beano Room and Hobgoblin Wars: Dispatches from the Front - published through his own Reaper Books imprint. Most are autobiographical with an emphasis on Baxendale's views of comedy.

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

David Bergen

Although a popular fantasy artist in the 1990s, almost nothing is known about David Bergen's career. He was active in the 1970s, illustrating Sphere's H. G. Wells' reprints and the cover for SF Digest (1976), as well as books by Arthur C. Clarke and Samuel R. Delaney. He illustrated See Inside a Space Station by Robin Kerrod (Hutchinson, 1977) and an illustration appeared in The Flights of Icarus (Paper Tiger, 1977). Soon after, he could be found contributing covers to DAW Books in the USA (e.g. Barrington J. Bayley's Star Winds and E. C. Tubb's Incident on Ath, both 1978).

Bergen then seemed to disappear until 1990 when his work began appearing on various Pan fantasy and SF titles as well as the Puffin editions of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series. He continued to produce covers until at least 1997 when his work again disappears from sight.

What other areas he was (presumably) active in I have no idea; perhaps the lack of credits in the 1980s is literally down to the lack of credits that appeared on books. There can be no doubt as to the quality of his work and he was twice nominated (1991, 1992) for the World Fantasy Award.

Personal information on the artist is almost zero. I believe he was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1947 but a search of the internet turns up nothing else (and any search is rather confused thanks to there being a Canadian author (born 1957) of the same name).

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

James Bama

James Bama is an American artist whose work encompasses two major strands: his Western paintings and what can be described - but not dismissively - as pulp art. To the collector, his name is inextricably linked with the adventures of Doc Savage and the paperback covers he illustrated during his time as a commercial artist. He then turned to fine art, which proved even more rewarding commercially and raised his status to Artist and earned him comparisons with Norman Rockwell and N. C. Wyeth.

If one theme can be seen through Bama's work it might be described as "one man (or woman) in the wilderness", as his covers often featured isolated single figures, some alone against expansive backgrounds; it is a style that can be seen in such diverse Bama illustrations as Freedom Road by Howard Fast and Groupie by Johnny Byrne & Jenny Fabian (both Bantam) and Dell's edition of Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape. It is also a theme that has extended into his fine art work where Bama, using photographs of real mountain men and Native Americans as reference, often isolates the figures to create portraits where wheathered facial features, clothing and body language tell a story. In other paintings, landscapes and animals add location to Bama's evocation of the rugged modern day prairie men.

James E. Bama was born in Manhattan on 28 April 1926, the second son of Benjamin Bama, a Russian-born apron salesman, and his wife Selma, also the daughter of Russian immigrants. Raised in New York City, Bama was inspired to draw by the adventure strips of the time, most notably Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, Burne Hogarth's Tarzan and Frank Miller's Barney Baxter. His father died of a stroke when Bama was 13, and his mother suffered a debilitating stroke the following year; Bama had to cook and clean and began earning money, making his first $50 sale, a drawing of Yankee Stadium, to The Sporting News at the age of 15.

He graduated from the High School of Music and Art and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps' Eastern Flying Training Command unit in 1944, where he worked as a mechanic and physical training instructor, as well as painting murals. On his discharge, he used the GI Bill to enrol at the Art Students League, where he was learned drawing and anatomy under Frank J. Reilly.

After freelancing briefly - his first sales including Western paperback covers A Bullet for Billy the Kid by Nelson C. Nye (Avon, 1950) and Dead Sure by Stewart Sterling (Dell, 1950) - he began working for one of New York's leading illustration firms, Charles E. Cooper Studios, in 1951. for the next fifteen years, he produced commercial artwork for a range of clients, including the Baseball Hall of Fame, the New York Giants and the U.S. Air Force.

However, it is for his paperback covers that he became known, especially the 62 covers he painted for Bantam Books' reprints of Doc Savage pulp magazine stories. Clark Savage Jr had been the star of 181 full-length adventures in the pages of Doc Savage Magazine (1933-49), 159 of them written by prolific pulpster Lester Dent. The heroic adventurer and scientist had been trained to almost superhuman physical and mental ability and faced a range of supernatural and superscientific foes. Bama was introduced to the saga when Bantam Books began reprinting the series in 1964 with The Man Of Bronze, Doc's debut adventure.

Bama gave Doc a buzz cut, replacing the kiss-curl of his pulp days, and beefed him up, using Steve Holland, a muscular fashion model who had starred in the Flash Gordon TV series in 1954-55, as the basis for his vision of Doc Savage. The books sold incredibly well and all 182 stories were reprinted between 1964 and 1990.

Although much of his early work was Western covers for the likes of Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey, Bama quickly expanded his cover art repertoire to include everything from contemporary novels, thrillers, romances and non-fiction. A small sampling of his work would include A Rage at Sea by Frederick Lorenz (Lion, 1957), Requiem for a Gun by Burt & Budd Arthur (Avon, 1963), The Pillars of Midnight by Elleston Trevor (Ballantine, 1963), President's Agent by Joseph Hilton (Lancer, 1963), Colette Cheri (Berkley, 1966) and covers depicting James Bond and the characters from Star Trek.

As well as Doc Savage, Bama painted many other covers for Bantam, including King Kong by Delos W. Lovelace (1965) and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1967). Bama had an affinity for classic horror characters, having been a childhood horror movie fan; in the early 1960s, beginning with Frankenstein, he produced vivid box artwork for a series of model kits based on Universal's movie monsters; Dracula, Wolf Man, The Mummy and others followed as well as Aurora's Monster Hot Rods and Monster Customizing Kits.

Bama then changed tack after first visiting Wyoming in 1966; he and his wife, Lynn, a photographer whom he met in 1963, moved permanently to Cody, Wyoming, in 1968. During this period he transited from illustration to making more personal works, often inspired by his new surroundings. Much of his work was of contemporary Western and Native American subjects; wildlife and mountain men feature against stunning Wyoming backdrops.

Bama is inspired by real inhabitants of the state, visiting reservations and meeting trappers and cowboys; his prices rapidly escalated and, within three years, he was making far more than he had as an illustrator.He also sought inspiration in travel, to China, Mexico, Tibet and Turkey.

Bama was the recipient of the Spectrum Grand Master Award in 1998 and was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in June 2000. His work is to be found in the collections of Clint Eastwood, Nicholas Cage and Malcolm Forbes as well as numerous galleries.

Bama, who has lived in Wapati, Wyoming, since 1971, remains a keen on physical training, regularly doing heavy exercise even in his eighties. He is a keen reader and movie viewer.

Bibliography
The Western Art of James Bama, with an introduction by Ian Ballantine (Scribner, 1975; enlarged, Bantam, 1980)
James Bama: A Wyoming Realist by Warren Adelson (Coe Kerr Gallery, 1985)
The Art of James Bama by Elmer Kelton (Greenwich Workshop, 1993)
James Bama: American Realist, edited by Brian M. Kane, with an introduction by Harlan Ellison  (Flesk Publications, 2006)
James Bama Sketchboo: A Seventy-Year Journey, Travelling from the Far East to the Wild West , edited by John Fleskes (Flesk Publications, 2010)

Original prints by James Bama can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giorgio De Gaspari

For such an incredibly talented artist, almost nothing exists on the internet about Italian painter Giorgio De Gaspari. Although his merits have been praised on blogs - Bear Alley and Cloud 109, for instance - hard facts about the artist are almost impossible to come by. This has been noted even by Italian bloggers, one of whom described De Gaspari earlier this year as "a figure about whom many anecdotes have been told for decades but who is, incredibly, almost entirely absent from the internet."

De Gaspari was born on 30 January 1927, possibly in Varese - or the province of Varese - north of Milan in north-western Italy, not far from the Swiss border. He began his career under the auspices of comic strip artist and illustrator Walter Molino who, in the 1940s, was a leading contributor to Grand Hotel, to which paper De Gaspari also contributed; another strip  ('Uragano, il re della prateria' [Hurricane, the King of the Prairie]) appeared in Success Collection published by CEA in 1946-47. De Gaspari also worked for Il Giornalino di Carroccio and illustrated 'il Giustiziere scarlatto' for Albi Mignon.

In May 1947 his first illustrations appeared in La Domenica del Corriere, a Sunday paper which he was to continue contributing to until February 1970, producing over 1,000 illustrations. De Gaspari's paintings were of high quality and innovative in their use of original material, tools and techniques. He would use any sort of paper, create collages and cut and scratch the images. This experimentation with his artwork did occasionally cause him to fall foul of his editors. In one instance, on a Kit Carson cover painting for Cowboy Picture Library, he used real sand glued onto the page; although it made for a superb, textured image, it all had to be scraped off and a new sandy background painted in by an in-house 'bodger' rather than run the risk of damaging the machinery that turned the artwork into four-colour separations.

De Gaspari was a busy chidlren's book illustrator in Italy for publishers Valladri, Agostoni, Lucchi and Fabbri as well as contributing illustrations to Arianna. Amongst the many titles he illustrated in the 1940s and 1950s were editions of Pinocchio, Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, Moby Dick, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and various fairy tale books.

De Gaspari's first cover in the UK appeared on the Sexton Blake Library in February 1958, gracing Peter Saxon's 'The Sea Tigers'; his second (and last) cover showed his talent for variety, illustrating 'Collapse of Stout Party' by Jack Trevor Story.

De Gaspari thereafter turned his talents to provinding covers for Fleetway's many pocket libraries, including Cowboy Picture Library (30 covers, 1958-60), Thriller Picture Library (39 covers, 1958-60) and Super Detective Library (4 covers, 1960). 

However, it was with his work for War Picture Library that he is mainly known in the UK. Beginning with the very first issue in September 1958, De Gaspari produced 32 of the first 48 covers (1958-60); his painting began to appear less frequently after that but were still appearing regularly until 1961, during which period (1960-61) he also contributed 12 covers to Air Ace Picture Library and the debut number of Battle Picture Library (1961). A brief resurgence in 1966 marked the end of De Gaspari's original appearances in the UK, although his work continued to appear, albeit infrequently, on book covers and in Reader's Digest Condensed Books.


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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leslie Bowyer

Leslie Bowyer was an occasional contributor to Eagle, illustrating a short story in 1951 and a feature on the Queen's post-Coronation tour of 1954.

He also produced advertising designs and watercolours and contributed to Children's Own Wonder Book (1947).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

George Bowe




George Bowe is a bit of a mystery. His career began at least as early as 1948 when he illustrated two books by Enid Blyton and continued until at least 1974 when he drew 'At the End of the Rainbow' in Bonnie.In between he contributed illustrations to Boy's Own Paper, Pony Club Annual, Robin Annual, Girl Annual and Swift Annual in the 1950s and 1960s.

For an artist with a career spanning at least 26 years, it is surprising that nothing else is known.


George Bowe artwork for sale at The Illustration Art Gallery.



Illustrations
Let's Have a Story by Enid Blyton. London, H. A. & W. Pitkin, 1948.
We Want a Story by Enid Blyton. London, H. A. & W. Pitkin, 1948.
The Bard's Cloak by Percy G. Griggs. London, H. A. & W. Pitkin, 1950.
Tiger Hawk by George E. Rochester. London, H. A. & W. Pitkin, 1956.
Ten-Week Stables by Sylvia Scott White. London, Lutterworth Press, 1960.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

S. R. Boldero

Stephen Richard Boldero was born Stephen Richard Hamel-Wedekind in Caterham, Surrey, on 3 April 1898, the son of merchant Richard Christian Benedictus Hamel-Wedekind and his wife Tempe Stanley Browne, the youngest daughter of Camillo di Montebello Drew, an officer in the Ceylon police, who married in 1897.

Richad Hamel-Wedekind died whilst his son was still an infant and S. R. Hamel-Wedekind was raised by his mother in Hammersmith and Battle, Sussex. By 1911, Tempe had dropped her married name and was now called Boldero, her mother's maiden name and that of her uncle and aunt who had raised her following her mother's death.


Educated at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate (1914-15), the now Stephen Richard Boldero trained at the Royal Military Academy and joined the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1916 before transferring on a short service commission to the Royal Air Force, making Pilot Officer in 1921 and Flying Officer in 1922. He served part of his time in India, from whence he returned in 1924, relinquishing his commission in April 1925 due to ill-health. By then he seems to have been twice married, firstly to Nellie P. Woodley in 2Q 1916 in Steyning, Sussex, with whom he had a son, Alistair J. Boldero, in 1917, and secondly to Eleanor Winifred Wise in 4Q 1926 in Chelsea, Middlesex. The latter marriage ended in divorce in 1934.

Whether he had an artistic bent earlier in life is unknown, but he certainly turned to painting in the 1930s. The earliest trace of his artistic talents I have been able to find relates to the introduction of mobile recruiting offices, via which the R.A.F. hoped to recruit 31,000 men ahead of the (increasingly inevitable) war. A report in The Times (15 July 1938) describes them thus:
The outside decoration of the new type of van has been carried out in two contrasting shades of blue, with the R.A.F. concardes of red, white and blue in the lower panelling on either side of the body. Two chromium-plated show windows display, in colour, representations of life in the R.A.F. at home and abroad. They have been carried out, in cut-out form, by Mr. S. R. Boldero, who has served with the R.A.F. The inside of the van is equipped as an office.
Boldero's cover artwork appeared regularly in the 1950s and 1960s, published by most of the leading paperback firms (Corgi, Digit, Arrow, Pan, Panther, Four Square, Consul). He also had a long association with Souvenir Press, producing numerous dust jackets.

Stephen Richard Boldero lived for many years (at least from 1957-82) at 39 Ranelagh Gardens, London W.6. He died in London in the summer of 1987, aged 89.

S. R. Boldero artwork for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.