Monday, October 06, 2014

Illustrators #8 (Sept. 2014)

The latest issue of Illustrators has landed and the 96 full-colour-pages are as beautifully presented as you would by now expect from editor and designer Peter Richardson. The contents cover a broad spectrum, linked only by the quality of the work on display and the talents of the people behind the brushes and pens.

Johnny Mains interviews Les Edwards, who talks about (amongst other things) his influences, including Frank Bellamy's work on "Heros the Spartan" and Bruce Pennington. I'd forgotten that Edwards is himself a comic strip artist, having painted two graphic novels based on stories by Clive Barker: Son of Celluloid and Rawhead Rex. Edwards was pigeon-holed by some art directors as a horror artist in the 1990s, forcing him to reinvent himself as Edward Miller, who could paint pastoral landscapes without a single trickle of blood showing.

The selection of illustrations here is particularly interesting as many are private commissions undertaken by Edwards without deadline pressure or art director interference.

American illustrator Bart Forbes is the subject of the late Bryn Havord's latest contribution to the magazine. As was always the case, Bryn's insight into the world of magazine illustration makes the article shine. Forbes had set himself up in a small studio in Dallas, Texas, isolating himself from other US illustrators; it helped him develop an individual style which he used to dramatic effect in magazines in the 1980s and 1990s. He has been especially associated with Sports Illustrated and the PGA Tour but has also illustrated books, magazines, posters and prints.

Next up is David Stuart Davies, who reveals that there was more to artist Sidney Paget than his famous illustrations of Sherlock Holmes. Best known for giving Holmes his iconic Inverness cape and deerstalker hat, Paget was hired in error, having picked up a commission intended for his brother, Walter. However, the pairing of Doyle's detective yarns and Paget's illustrations is probably all that is remembered of The Strand magazine these days, thanks to a number of books reprinting the stories in book form as they originally appeared in the magazine.

Walter's contribution was to be his brother's model for the detective—something that Doyle confirmed but which Walter himself denied.

Wrapping up the issue, Peter Richardson briefly introduces John Haslam, whose cartoons are hugely popular with advertisers; Bryn Havord revisits Bernie Fuchs (who featured in issue 7); and Richardson visits the studio of Zelda Devon in Brooklyn.

For more information about Illustrators and back issues, visit the Book Palace website where you can also take a peek at the next issue featuring Bruce Pennington and Eric Parker.

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