Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Al Parker Step-by-Step

The January 1952 issue of American Artist magazine contains "a demonstration presented courtesy of the Famous Artists Course, Westport, Connecticut." The accompanying commentary is provided by Henry C. Pitz:

"Al Parker is a great popular illustrator who deserves his success. He is one of a very small and elect company -- those who are applauded by both the huge American magazine audience and their fellow artists."


"The illustrations reproduced on the following pages show variations on a detail of a picture for Good Housekeeping magazine. They record the kind of orderly thinking and working which underlies all of Parker's illustrations."


"The halftones (below) do not represent actual painting procedures. They were made as a part of a demonstration for his students."

"Importance of silhouette is suggested in the first step. Even in Parker's most complicated pictures we can see how the figures and props have been designed so as to form a dramatic and pleasing silhouette pattern."


"The second step demonstrates the basic lighting treatment in simple flat areas that assure maximum form legibility. Naturally, these flat forms are broken up somewhat in the finished work by variations of color and the accidental play of light, but not sufficiently so as to impair the easy "reading" of the forms."


"In the third step we note yet another simple statement of texture analysis which, of course, has to be integrated with the light and shade aspect of the rendering."


"It will be noted, in studying the other procedure steps, how this analysis of form representation is applied in actual rendering with the brush and - in the final drawing - how the interpretative studies of silhouette, light and shadow, and texture have contributed to the realization of a unified and legible expression."


Continued tomorrow...

* the Modern Graphic History Library at Washington University in St. Louis is currently hosting an Al Parker exhibit, Double Exposure: Al Parker’s Illustrations, from Model to Magazine. which "explores the art-making process of magazine illustrator Al Parker. The display features original artwork and tear sheets from popular magazines published in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. The illustrations are presented alongside photographic studies taken by Parker, depicting women, men, and children from various viewpoints and poses. Through the juxtaposition of these images, we catch a glimpse of Parker's creative process, from his compositions captured in photos to his interpretations realized in print."

The exhibit runs from July 6th to September 29th, 2009 at the Olin Library, Washington University in St. Louis

* My Al Parker Flickr set.

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