Illustrators Special # 17: 10th Anniversary Special (magazine/book review)

The ‘Illustrators’ magazine has now been going for a decade and this seventeenth special reprints the features on eight artists. When you consider that a quarter of the 40 issues are sold and even some of the Specials, a compilation like this might be useful to some of you, even if you just want a particular artist. Although I’ve probably covered all of them over the years, I’ll give a recap here.

David Wright (1925-1967) came from an artistic family, learning a lot of the trade from them and then making a name for himself painting women for various magazine covers. He then created the newspaper strip ‘Carol Day’ for a regular income, relying on pen and ink to give the texture. The Book Palace has just release a complete but expensive volume of it if you’re swayed by the art from it here. He had a lot of people posing for him and was at home drawing and painting them as much as aircraft and cars.

art: Graham Coton
All contents (c) The Book Palace 2023

Graham Coton (1926-2003) got cornered into the war storybooks, mostly for his skill at depicting aircraft but his racing car illustrations in motion without speedlines is equally extraordinary relying on the shapes in the material to subliminally project is a lesson to learn from.

Patrick Nicole (1907-1995) had a speciality in drawing medieval armour and a book on the subject was remembered by the editors who employed him for that subject matter.

James McConnell (1901-1995) did cover work of detective and westerns conveying movement with limited colour choices available at the time and then bloomed when that was extended, bringing out mood and lighting. If nothing else from you buying this book, when old book covers come up on goggle searches, you’re going to start putting artists names to covers.

French artist Maurice Leloir (1853-1940) specialised in period historical illustrations although was also versed in watercolour and oils. Considering he also had some 200 costumes from that time also suggests a somewhat geek approach to me. He illustrated the second printing of ‘The Three Musketeers’ for Alexandra Dumas’ son and later went to Hollywood for 5 months to design 1929 silent film ‘The Man In The Iron Mask’ for Douglas Fairbanks.

art: Neal Adams
All contents (c) The Book Palace 2023

Probably the most recent inclusion here has to be of Neal Adams (1941-1922) but considering Illustrators # 16 is sold out does make sense if you want a paper copy. Re-reading the piece now, I still think there’s too much emphasis on his early DC work and less on his work at Marvel but do agree with writer Peter Stone that Adams’ work was and is everywhere. I didn’t realise there was some emphasis on his use of photographs but considering he could also work just as well without them gives emphasis to his ability. A much missed artist.

Arturo del Castillo (1925-1992) is another artist who drew ‘The Three Musketeers’, but this time as a comicstrip in the ‘Lion’ comic in the UK. Here we have a complete story taken from his original work and conveying the amount of work that brought out the period piece.

art: Alex Raymond
All contents (c) The Book Palace 2023

Finally, Alex Raymond (1909-1956), known primarily for his illustrative work on the newspaper strips ‘Flash Gordon’ and the detective ‘Rip Kirby’, showed skill with a brush and pen, switching between them in the later part of his career, cut short when he died in a car crash. Seeing his work here again shows why so many artists admire his technique.

If you want a sampler of what ‘Illustrators’ has to offer, you might want to get this book, their editorial staff sees them as books as opposed to magazines, first to see what you’re missing before a mass rush to get copies of their other issues

GF Willmetts

February 2023

(pub: The Book Palace, 2023. 186 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £36.00 (UK), $45.99 (US) via Bud Plant. ISBN: 978-1-913546-32-2. 100 copy limited edition with extras for £95.00 (UK))

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