Saturday, October 31, 2009


I was pleased that my last post about working with ink triggered a discussion in the comment section about the great Leonard Starr.

Regular readers know that I am a big admirer of Starr's brilliant draftsmanship in the comic strip On Stage. At regular intervals, I revisit On Stage just to renew my education. In view of the comments from readers, I thought it would be timely to share some inspiring examples of Starr's work with brush and ink.

Starr's no. 3 Winsor & Newton brush gave him more descriptive power than he could have obtained from a pen.

In the following panel, note Starr's elegant brushwork on the crouching figure, especially the brisk contoured shading of his left arm.

The next panel is a good example of the range of delicate applications for a brush in the hands of a talented artist: contrast the freedom of the curls in her hair with the lines of the folds in her nightgown sleeve, and contrast both with how effectively Starr sculpted those hands holding the phone:

Starr knew how to apply heavy inks for dramatic effect:

If anyone knows the whereabouts of the original of this daily strip, I'd love to hear from them.

But the heavy ink never gets out of control. The consummate craftsman, Starr maintains complete balance. In the following daily strip, only one face ever comes out of the shadows but the moonlight on that single dubious face works perfectly, both visually and as stagecraft.

Also, note the woman's upturned head as she offers her lips for a kiss (quite sexy, I thought). Starr gets the tilt just right, and delicately captures the effect of gravity on the back of her hair. You can tell when an artist is using silhouettes to avoid work, and when he really knows what he is doing.

For me, a bonus in Starr's artwork is that he is a master of facial expressions. Look at how he captures the emotion in the face of the loyal old soldier in the last panel...

Or the disappointed bemusement of the woman in the last panel here... not the simplest emotions to depict.

Starr seamlessly combined the strengths of the pen and the brush to create unified pictures of integrity and class.

For me, it defies the laws of physics that Starr was able to write and draw three such panels every day, six days a week, and three times that amount on Sundays.
Today, the medium of the comic strip has evolved and no longer has room for this type of craftsmanship.

The entire wonderful series of On Stage is being reprinted by
Classic Comics Press and I highly recommend it to you. The reprints have now reached the years where Starr really hit his stride. It is truly a pleasure to read.

Happy Halloween Space Bats

The Cassini team sends "bats wishes" for a happy, healthy and fun Halloween.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

Image Credit: NASA, NASA Copyright Notification: Photographs are not protected by copyright unless noted. If not copyrighted, photographs may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA.NASA makes every attempt to use media on our web pages (e.g., graphics, artwork, sounds), that is free for use or in the public domain.

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Happy Hallowe'en with 'Scary' Harry Borgman!

Happy Hallowe'en, Boils and Ghouls! Here's a tricky treat for everyone who loves to draw monsters ( or just loves drawings of monsters): a great little "How To..." booklet by 'Scary' Harry Borgman, long time TI list member and mid-century illustrator extraordinaire.

Harry created this cornucopia of cartoon creeps back in the early 1970s, around the same time he was drawing scary illustrations of Dracula in a more realistic style for a book entitled "Great Tales of Horror and Suspense".

This little book was Harry's first "How To..." book and paved the way for other larger art instruction books he did for Watson Guptill Publications.

Harry had already taught art "live and in person" at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit just a few years earlier - and that lead to an opportunity to contribute some 'sick' scribblings to Sick magazine.

These delightfully dreadful drawings show how Harry's moniker at Sick magazine, "The Professor" suited him perfectly!

Harry Borgman recently celebrated the 1st Anniversary of his blog, Harry Borgman Art Blog. There you'll find so much interesting information, so many astonishing anecdotes and such a wealth of amazing artwork that you'll want to cancel your plans for the day and stay glued to the computer. Harry has had so many interesting adventures in the illustration biz and at age 81, he's still going strong! Happy Hallowe'en - and Happy 1st Anniversary, Harry Borgman Art Blog - here's to many more!

* My Harry Borgman Flickr set.

Studio Saturday with Jennifer Heynen

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question to our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Last weeks winner is Wonderous Strange Congratulations! You have won one of Cindy's top secret beads. Send Cindy an e-mail and she will get it right out to you.

This week we are in the Jangles Studio with Jennifer Heynen

Hello everyone,

This week I got to take a fabulous workshop with Kaffe Fassett. It was a quilt workshop all about color. My first quilt book I ever bought was Gloious Patchwork by Kaffee Fassett. He lives in London and is a very busy artist so to get to take a workshop, in my hometown none the less, was very exciting.

So if you're thinking by now, "Jennifer this blog is suppossed to be about beads..." well here you go. The first thing out of Kaffe's mpouth at the workshop was this. He is a painter, a needleworker, a knitter, a designer, and a quilter. They are all ways of getting his passion out. It's color. Thta's what most artists are about is the color. We all choose one or two or more mediums to convery those colors we have in our head. That hit home for me, because that's exactly how I feel too. So even though I was laying out quilt blocks on Thursday, it could have just as easily been a piece of jewelry or a painting.

I work in many types of mediums but all of my work has the same colorful, folk arty, handmade feel. I am going to share with you today some of my other work as well as some of my jewelry.

Some of my finished jewelry

A painting of my dog, Otis

Mixed media painting of flowers

Holiday Ornament

So my question for the week is what other mediums, besides beads do you work in?

Leave me an answer in the comments and you will be entered to win one of my Jangles Pendants.

Have a great day,

Friday, October 30, 2009

Walter Wyles: "...something out of the ordinary"

Guest author: Bryn Havord

George (Tiny) Watts the art director of Woman was keen to encourage Wally to push the boundaries and work in different styles for different assignments. This Elizabethan woman with her hands held in prayer was part of an eight or ten part period serial done for Woman around 1961.

Wally did these science fiction and fantasy covers in the mid 1970s.

He did about four in total and enjoyed doing them.

Throughout his career, clients could usually rely on Wally to do something out of the ordinary...

... sometimes we got more than we expected!

During his career he had been privileged to paint HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and other prominent members of the Royal Family...

... and he started to accept a growing number of portrait commissions.

He was also working as an easel painter producing landscapes in oil and watercolour.

However, a series of heart attacks resulted in an enforced period of convalescence and he drastically reduced his work commitments.

In 2004, his wife Margaret wrote a book using some of her late mother’s letters, featuring her early life as a young girl in a remote village in west Wales. Wyles was commissioned to produce the illustration for the cover. When it was published the Welsh Book Council made it their Book of the Month. (Love from Blodwen. By Margaret Wyles. Seren. ISBN 1-85411-359-3).

Wyles who is now eighty-four, continues to paint every day, and still accepts the occasional portrait commission.

* Many thanks to guest author Bryn Havord for this week's excellent presentation on Walter Wyles! In the late 50s and early 60s Bryn was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published in the UK. During that time he commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry Fancett. Walter Wyles remains his oldest and closest friend.

* Personal photographs © Peter Mullett.

* My Walter Wyles Flickr set.

Jangles - Sponsor Spotlight

What are your current inspirations?
Right now I am in love with folk art and mixed media. I moved to Georgia three years ago and fell in love with all of the self taught and folk artists we have here. I started collecting paintings, wall hangings... you name it. I am especially in love with anything made from wood that is painted in bright colors. Here's a picture of one of the walls in my family room. Look up in the top left hand corner and you will see my Ruby C Williams painting.

What is your favorite bead that you make?
I have two favorite types of beads to make. They are both very simple. They are the big ball beads, I call them Jangles Pearls and I like making pendants. The reason I like making these the most is they are a great blank surface for painting. The painting is what I love the most about making beads.

When you have to whip up a quick gift, what do you usually create?
For quick gifts, I try to think about the person I am giving the present to and give them something they would like the best. But you can never go wrong with a simple pendant or earrings.

Thanks to Jennifer for being one of our monthly sponsors, be sure to stop by to see what's new!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes: Halloween is a modern-day holiday originating in the Celtic pagan holiday of Samhain. The custom of wearing costumes and masks on Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, In Scotland the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.

Costumes became popular for Halloween in the US in the early 1900s, for adults as well as children. The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in stores in the 1930s when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in the United States.

Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

Walter Wyles: Across the Pond

Guest author: Bryn Havord

By the mid-’60s Bernie Fuchs, Herb Tauss and Lynn Buckham had replaced the earlier American stars, with Bernie Fuchs rapidly becoming the man to watch and emulate, but there was still plenty of work for the best of the English illustrators. At this time there were two English illustrators, Ken Dallison and Wilson McLean living and working in New York City, but Walter Wyles became the first English illustrator living and working in England to be commissioned to produce a painting for an American magazine when Bill Cadge, the art director of Redbook, asked him to illustrate a story.

Unfortunately that Redbook illustration was not to be found at this time, but Leif found a series of Wally's illustrations from the same period done for Reader's Digest Condensed Books.

Wyles had no direct dealings with Readers' Digest in the USA, it was all done through their London office: they contacted him. He can't remember what the fees were, certainly no way near as much as the American fees. He thinks it was around £150.00 per spread or illustration.

At that time there were US$2.40 to £1.00 Sterling. He was paid $1,250.00 for the Redbook illustration which was one page and not a spread. He retained the copyright and only sold them first rights.

We can't remember how work was sent back and forth across the pond before FedEx. Wally relied upon his agent who is long since dead, so we can't ask him.

Wally supplied the London office with roughs and was given about a month to complete the work once the roughs had been approved. He remembers one other job for American RD, although he did a fair number for the UK Readers' Digest.

In 1964, Wyles felt the need to return to his native Kent and he bought a neo-Georgian house at Birchington, near the north Kentish coast. However, in 1967 after furnishing the house with Georgian furniture and completing all the re-decoration, his wife Maggie found a derelict Jacobean farmhouse in a secluded setting four miles from Canterbury, which they decided to renovate and make their future and permanent home.

By the end of the ’60s the downturn in the American women’s magazine illustration market started to be reflected in England, as the interest in romantic fiction in women’s magazines declined. Wyles had built up a substantial following in the book jacket market,

... and with Scandinavian women’s magazines, and he had plenty of work well into the 1970s.

His sale of second rights material also continued to hold up well.

* In the late 50s and early 60s guest author Bryn Havord was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published in the UK. During that time he commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry Fancett. Walter Wyles remains his oldest and closest friend.

* My Walter Wyles Flickr set.

*ALSO* Be sure to visit Storyboard Central and Drawn! today for exciting news and some great artwork by TI list member Harry Borgman