Monday, April 30, 2012

Drama! Action! Adventure!

Speaking of historical reconstructive art — long before Roy Krenkel, long before Hal Foster, long before Donn Crane, long before so many others, there was an illustrator who was a master of drama, action, adventure!

Hermann Vogel, a German illustrator of the 1800s created beautifully detailed fairy tale renderings as well as historically accurate images of battles and campaigns of long ago, such as this amazing view of a pillaging of Rome.

Hermann Vogel — Pillage of Rome

And a detail scan to show the intricate engraving line work:

Hermann Vogel — Pillage of Rome — detail

Montezuma's Last Days

Speaking of Earth societies as other-worldly, the Aztec and Mayan cultures were on their own track of development until the collision of 'new and old' worlds. Here, Charles Ricketts, an illustrator and designer, designed a stage set and costumes for a play that he had written as a dramatic telling of Montezuma's last days. It was never produced, but as a theatrical project it could have been quite a feast for the eyes.

Charles Ricketts — Stage set for Montezuma — ca 1920

Charles Ricketts — Costume design for Montezuma — ca 1920

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Even when Roy Krenkel drew reconstructions of historical eras of Earth, they looked other-worldly, as out of a dream.

Roy Krenkel — The Golden Age of Pâtaliputra of the Gupta Empire

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Madame Olympia Desvall's New Novel Act

Man, man, man, I'd PAY to see a show like this . . .

Barnum & Bailey —Greatest Show On Earth

Wild Thyme

More lovely rendering by Wallace Tripp, as always dedicating my Tripp posts to Pat Ann and Larry (who I owe emails and stuff to).

Wallace Tripp — 1970s

Under Siege

For anybody keeping track (my agent, for instance) I'm still under siege of deadlines — the hardest period of my life. Still, I have to poke my nose up into the sunlight (or moonlight) once or twice a day to eat, so I quick-like post up images that I scanned long ago. It's my one pleasure during this time. It's gonna be this way for some time to come, assuming I survive that long.

Anybody I owe emails or sideline art to, please bear with me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

La Vie Parisienne

Georges Barbier — La Vie Parisienne — 1918
interior illustration

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Way Earlier

A Merbaby from way earlier than the Disney version.

Flora White — Merfolk — 1913


'Nuff said.

Disney Studio — Merbabies poster — 1938

Once Upon a Time

I love the controlled looseness of portraits by Bob Peak, this cover coming from once upon a Time, when covers were enlivened with artistic talent.

Bob Peak — Time — January 6, 1975

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April Cover

What a lovely April cover. And not a blurb in sight!

John O'Hara Cosgrave II — Fortune — April 1938

The 27,000 Year Old Young Lady

Sculpture as science or art? Does it matter?

Reconstructed head of a girl thought to be 27,000 years old.


Okay, here's some information and a video link that sheds a little more light on this young lady of (yes) 27 Thousand Years Ago.

Quoting from this video post, these would be the remains of a Gravettian Cro-Magnon of Sungir/Russia. As an upper-paleolithic person, she was part of the base of the Cro-Magnoid element in the later Finno-Ugrians.

In this video you will see several individuals recreated, and even a full-color rendering of what this particular girl might have looked like in the flesh.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

High or Low?

These are sculptures created with poly-resin something or other. They are delightful, but are they high art or low art? Does it matter?

Frank Gallo — Primavera — 1988

Frank Gallo — Awakening Beauty — 1987

Marco Polo

Norman Rockwell — Gary Cooper
The Adventures of Marco Polo —1938

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Love

My love of the exotic, my love of the '30s, my love of cinema, my love of beauty, my love of photography—all find a place of happiness in this image. Oh yes, and my love of Myrna Loy.

photograph by Clarence Sinclair Bull — 1932
Myrna Loy as Fah Lo Suee in The Mask of Fu Manchu

Grim Knight

It's been 20 years since Jim Lee started turning his artistic attention toward the DC universe. This is one of his earlier renditions of the grim knight.

Jim Lee — The Dark Knight — 1992

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Old Hall

Holy cow, these faeries seem sinister . . .

John Anster Fitzgerald — The Old Hall & Faeries by Moonlight

Broadway Manners

Here it is, late Sunday morn. How many of you are dealing with a

Hangover — 1929

I'm sorry to say that my only hangover is that I worked till 4 in the morning and then had to get up at 8 to let the dog out, have some breakfast and now it's back to work. Hi Ho!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Character Development

There are some really great character development visualizers that have worked and are working on various animated films, but few people could deny that Peter de Sève is a crown prince among them, case in point:

Peter de Sève — character development of Shan-Yu for Disney's Mulan

Friday, April 20, 2012

Visionary Artists

I greatly admire the talents of those visionary artists who create visual development sketches for films—inventing characters, settings, mood and whatever the story needs to find its voice.

This beautiful drawing by Paul Felix was for Disney's Tarzan animated film, and you might think it was a nod to Frazetta's way of the jungle, but really, jungles are jungles—in the mind or on a map—and mists and dripping moss belong to no one person.

Paul Felix — Tarzan — visual development for Disney Studio

The Sad-Eyed Princess

Burne Hogarth had a propensity for overdoing his comic panels, with too much clutter and details. Yet the technique had its charm . . .

Burne Hogarth — Tarzan Sees the Sad-Eyed Princess Leecia

Thursday, April 19, 2012


And the utterly iconic Parisienne of the Atomic Age . . .

Jours de France — January 1984 — Brigitte Bardot


How utterly iconic of Parisian painting in the Jazz Age . . .

Marcel Gromaire — Seated Nude — 1929

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Artists and photographers, look to the future for new creation, but look to the past for great inspiration.

Baron De Meyer — Satin Dress —early 1930s

Distill the Essence

The old engravings are a great resource for students and professionals to examine and study composition, human anatomy, architectural details and fabric drapery folds. Usually engraved after paintings, these monochromatic works distill the essence of those studies.

after Alex Cabanel — Portia and the Caskets

after Alex Cabanel — The Sulamite

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

That Ain't Cleopatra

Neysa McMein created a shipload of portrait covers for McCall's, and this is a nice one, even though y'know darn well that ain't Cleopatra, nowhere near the right ethnicity, just one of McMein's socialite friends, posing for a lark.

Neysa McMein — McCall's — January, 1926

Worth Preserving

Much of the old stuff is worth preserving even when it's been damaged, as is this water-soaked cover, and is still worth studying for its qualities. Plus this cover shows how unpredictable April weather is, then and now.

Neysa McMein — McCall's — April 1929


Good golly, I love Rebecca Guay's artwork. She too is a modern master of the illustrative arts. Go forth, seek out her works.

Rebecca Guay — Angel of First Love

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cataclysmic Event

This is an image of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant — a composite of images in infrared, visible and x-ray wavelengths.

Cassiopeia A supernova remnant
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Oliver Krause (Steward Observatory)

To think that such a cataclysmic event could be so beautiful, especially if you were from a planet where your eyes took in all wavelengths of the light spectrum, but hopefully not too near the scene of the crime of this exploded star.

I don't know, if your eyes could see all wavelengths, would you be blinded by the brilliance, or would natural selection cleverly protect you as your species evolved?

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Speaking of Bruce Jones, this is a set of pages called 'Interlude' that ran as a Flash Gordon story, but really it seems to be more about a regular ol' space cowboy between roundups.

Bruce Jones — Interlude

The Other Jones

Bruce Jones


What with the resurfacing of the Titanic movie, and all things salvageable, this seems like a good time to let this photo resurface from the ol' image morgue—a stunning portrait of Kate Winslet.

Annie Leibovitz — Kate Winslet — 1998

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Jeffrey Jones

Didn't Do Justice

Speaking of the late Rowland Wilson, this is a promotional page for him that didn't do justice to his great talent.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just a Little Idea

Speaking of Leonardo, that Vinci guy, here he be paintin' the saint.

Rowland B. Wilson — Playboy cartoon
'70s/'80s, somewhere in there

Fraught with Symbology

Ignatio Matus F. — Mujer en la Playa — 1955

To my way of thinking, the painting directly above, Woman at the Beach, is also of a spiritual nature. Note the mysterious hand gesture pointing to the heavens, utilized by Leonardo da Vinci and others, as if to mean 'as it is below, so it is above' (possibly referring to heavenly bodies).

The painting is fraught with other symbology, not unlike the paintings of Leonardo. If you can zoom in, note that the champagne bottle is fairly tiny in scale, but also if you look really closely, you can see that another bottle has been painted out (without removing its shadow), as well as an array of drinking glasses. My oh my, I could study the symbology of this painting all day.

Below, a reminder of that hand gesture by Leonardo that I refer to.

Leonardo — St John the Baptist

Mystically Minded

Cenotes are sinkholes, basically connections to subterranean bodies of water. They can be mysterious places, hence sacred to the mystically minded. This is a nice visualization of that spirituality.

Charles Frizzell — Sacred Cenote

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Savage Celtic Queen

The Pagan Queen

Learning Weird and Disturbing Things

Now here's an interesting contemporary illustrator worth paying attention to. Fun, intelligent — and a good drawer besides.

© Peter Arkle

© Peter Arkle

home page

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mee-o My-o

Mee-o my-o my-o—why did I ever leave Ohio, what's going on here?

Erté — Ermyntrude & Esmeralda