Friday, February 4, 2011

Ward Brackett: How Far is Far (in an Artist's Evolution)?

Two or three years after yesterday's images from Reader's Digest Condensed Books, here are a group of Brackett illustrations for the same publisher.


Brackett's mid-'60s style is gorgeously sophisticated and sensitive in its observation and execution.


Some comments to yesterday's post suggested a similarity to Austin Briggs' work and here it seems even more apparent, doesn't it?



Some of what Brackett is doing at this point I would almost describe as being "exhilaratingly crude." I look at the piece below and I'm reminded of the work of Chicago artist, Carl Kock


Was this development the further influence of Reuben Tam?

During that same mid-'60s period Brackett illustrated several children's books in a style that reflects this same 'sophisticated crudeness'.

From 1964


From 1966




And from 1967


This sort of thing won't appeal to everyone - but I think its noteworthy that Brackett was effectively using this experimental technique in work directed at both child and adult audiences.

Lest you think Brackett completed his career cutting and pasting construction paper, take a look at this book, published in 1974 by McGraw-Hill.


Here is the work of matured artist who, after years as a student...


... now feels confident in his ability to become a teacher.




Finally, perhaps my favourite of all the Ward Brackett art we've looked at this week, three pieces sent to me long ago by our own Charlie Allen. No date on these, but they must surely be from the '60s or even the early '70s.


When he sent these, Charlie, never one to waste words, enclosed a note that simply said, "Ward Brackett, one of my many favorite illustrators."


I like that! Hope you've enjoyed this week's look at the work of Ward Brackett...


... one of my many favourite illustrators, too!

* My Ward Brackett Flickr set.

* Ward Brackett's obituary

* Many thanks to my pal Drazen Kozjan for sharing some of his scans today from "You Will Live Under the Sea". You can find several more from the book at Drazen's blog.

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