This is a beautiful book I just saw up for bid over at Heritage Auctions, published in 1940. I'm sure it's entirely wishful thinking on my part, but I have this crazy idea that the cover could maybe have been illustrated by . . . wait for it . . . Walt Kelly.
It's just the kind of parade of characters he would do; he worked on Fantasia, the film, especially that roly-poly god of the grape there in the middle; the cherubs and fauns are somewhat of his style—and what isn't in his style (such as the Fred Moore centaurette) may just have been his emulating the rest of the film's characters; and Kelly has made mention that he was an illustrator-for-hire before doing comic books. It was published by Simon and Shuster, Kelly's publisher for all his "three foot shelf of books".
Aaa, if you know differently, please let me know. It's really a nice cover, isn't it?
Fantasia's pastoral conceptual artists developed a sense of mythological mystery and beauty and decadence that was scrubbed clean in production. I understand somewhat, because of the times and the intended audience, that caution had to be exercised. But still, to think of what might have been created in some alternate universe where maturity of theme is tolerated and appreciated by the masses.
I'm just gonna dive right in (so to speak), with no particular order, to pull up some of the pre-production art for various segments of Disney's Fantasia that I find amazing and inspirational.
The Pastoral Symphony sequence, based on Beethoven's masterpiece, was/is my favorite. With its mythological subjects and locale, its a time and a land I would like to visit—but even more so if the film had been more loyal to the prep drawings such as the one above.
When I was a young collector of images (yes, before Tumblr, before the internet, even before computers [can you imagine such a time]), I would come across various stills from Disney's 1940 Fantasia and I would be mesmerized, haunted by the desire to see this film. Remember too, this was before DVDs or even videos, I mean this was the stone age.
Then it was re-released in '69, and when I first saw it in the big theater by myself, I was electrified by the uniqueness of its concepts. I enjoyed it so much I went back half a dozen more times, each time taking a different date, gauging how much I liked the girl by how much she liked the film. The last segment, the Ave Maria scene, always put me to sleep. But so much of the rest was watchable again and again.
Now, years later, I have the DVD and have watched it a couple of times and have seen the flaws and it's all grown a bit stale. But now we all have access to so much of the pre-production material, and how exciting that stuff is. If only the film had followed the concept artists' visions more closely, it would have been an immortal masterpiece, instead of a dated so-so masterpiece.
But STILL. What an accomplishment for that day and age.
The Pastoral Symphony sequence caught my fancy over all the others, and the pre-production art is fascinating. Over the next number of posts I'm going to show some of those, one at a time, as they have been a source of inspiration for me, and may be for some of you who have not yet seen them.
In France, for two centuries now, the revolution of 1789 and its goals of liberty, equality and fraternity have been summed up in one woman's name: Marianne, the mythical heroine who carried the flag at the storming of the Bastille.
But a 20th/21st century woman of France also embodies ideals of the nation: BB: Brigitte Bardot.
Put the two together and voilà! A nation's favorite bust!
Last July, I posted some Stephen Fabian artwork, and realized then that I had lost or misplaced some tearsheets of his work. Well I found some that had been misfiled. Below are a few and I'll post a few more, maybe next post.
I had a bad habit (and to some degree, I still do) of clipping images from books and magazines for the morgue, but not always labeling the source or any kind of caption. So please pardon that I have incomplete info for these terrific Fabian works.
Mike Deodato is an excellent contemporary panel artist who revitalized a couple of female characters back in the 90s, Wonder Woman and Elektra. Below is a cool Marvel mini-poster of Elektra that I scored at a convention. But I compared it to the original art, and besides dropping Deodato's signature, it looks like the head has been modified slightly larger (seemingly more proportional). Wonder if that's something the artist did, or Marvel's promotional department. Anyway, a *sizzling* piece of art, from my point of view.
As a young man, I saw this print of a jeune fille by Rolf Armstrong, and it singlehandedly inspired me to become a portrait artist. I was most intrigued by the balance of tight rendering and loose strokes, as well as the boldness of color and gaze.
Further intrigue results from the similarity to the magazine cover that was part of my first serious image collection as a boy. Yet, you can see the decided differences and why one might inspire me more than the other.
A lovely little print by Stephen Fabian, entitled Bellerophon.
The original painting is in full color, the print is monotone.
The comment this picture received from oeconomist nicely described its quality, so I quote here with appreciation:
"So much of the time, as here, Fabian's work looks to me perfectly graceful. Whatever struggle may have gone into its production, nothing that remains seems in any way awkward. The horse and the woman convey an impression of proper occupation of space; the horse flies but, given that, its body and that of its rider distribute their mass plausibly in response to the pull of gravity. The buildings are abstracted enough not to draw undue attention, but tell the viewer of a whole city."
Before the holidays I began a series of posting Warwick Goble illustrations from a beautiful 1912 edition of The Complete Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Here are five more of the illustrations, not the best of the book, but worthy of completists, as I'm showing them in the order they appear as you would read the works.
I am posting these images with a non-profit and educational 'fair use' motive, regarding respective copyrights. Anyone downloading and using these images for any commercial use would be in violation of respective copyrights, and does not have my approval for such use.
My name is Thom Buchanan.
I'm an artist and photographer.
People are my favorite subjects to portray in art and photos. My wife (and studio partner) has called that my 'people skills', as I've been passionately creating portrait studies for many years.
I refer to myself as a pictorialist, a combination of image-making and journalist. Images are my life.