Illustrators Special #6: Brian Bolland (book review)
You cannot have been brought up on comicbooks from the late 1970s on without seeing the art of Brian Bolland. Principally known for his work on ‘Judge Dredd’, ‘Camelot 2000’ and ‘The Killing Joke’, Bolland admits he is not the fastest artist and predominately did far more covers than interiors.
I met Brian briefly around the late 70s and I was certainly on his radar when my new dentist a few years back said he knew him from playing squash and that I lived here when he came to my town to work. A unique coincidence and I didn’t realise I was still on his radar.
It’s hardly surprising that The Book Palace would devote a book to Brian Bolland’s work and there is a lot of it here. About the only crazy thing is how his interview gets scattered throughout the pages and a couple other articles so keep a few bookmarks in place if you want to read sequential or go back to the art later.
There is a lot of art, including some comicbook stories. You really do get a clear picture of his work which covers not only comicbooks but advertising, although I can understand his frustration at some of their demands.
It’s also very easy to recognise the Bolland art style. Although he uses a lot of fine lines and hatch, his art is also a very clean style. By that I mean he uses cchiaroscuro, the contrast between black and white spaces, within his design in an effortless way that it commands the page and directs the eye to what you need to pay attention to. Some people are natural designer and Brian Bolland is amongst the best.
Reading about how he adapted to using a computer, I do wonder what version of Photoshop that he is still using. If it’s anything like Paintshop then there is a command there to rotate the picture as well as flipping it horizontally or vertically. I can understand why he changed though as the number of times to re-ink and such must have been a pain.
Having said, he no longer has a single original piece of art at the end of the day or how long he takes to make it.
You get to see a lot of his pencil and ink work and then turned into colour so seeing what a difference each stage makes.
Bolland points out that his success was dependent on being in the right place at the right time many times over but you still have to have a lot of talent to back it up in my opinion.
As you can tell I’m still a fan and making notes on various books I ought to check out, although some are clearly not available or been collected. Brian Bolland does have a big following so I won’t be surprised if this ‘Illustrators Special’ won’t rapidly sell out. Now just what did the actress say to the bishop?
(pub: The Book Palace, 2019. 144 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-907081-84-2. ISSN: 2052-6520)
check out website: www.bookpalace.com