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, 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.