Monday, October 01, 2012
The Art of Denis McLoughlin
McLoughlin was a welcome guest at London book fairs, a short, energetic Lancastrian even in his seventies who cheerfully signed books for fans who sought out his illustrations for annuals and hardbacked books from fifty years past. He had a no-nonsense approach to his work; maintaining a 50-60 hour, six-day working week, which he only slowed down in the 1990s.
Denis's hardcore following cherished his work, discussed and dissected it in the pages of magazines in the UK and USA, where Tom Lesser championed his work; in more recent years Matthew Gore brought his work to the attention of a new generation on the internet via his much-visited web-site.
However, for most people, the centrepiece of the book will be the pages dedicated to Denis's days working for T. V. Boardman. Publisher of the Bloodhound Books line of crime novels, Denis would draw some 700 dustjackets, plus scores of paperback and magazine covers for Boardman between 1945 and 1967. Early books featured fully air-brushed art (around 1957, the colour was reduced to save money) and were mostly in coloured inks, poster colour and coloured pencils – a particularly effective mixture in annuals. Later books were pen and ink drawings, another cost-cutting decision, but McLoughlin was able to get the maximum potential from each medium.
One must not forget that Denis was also the artist of a series of Buffalo Bill annuals and comic strips; these, too, are covered in depth. There's even a complete early "Roy Carson" strip for you to marvel at.
The Art of Denis McLoughlin is a fine tribute to the man and his art.