The Art Of Ron Embleton: An Illustrators Special (magazine review).

June 28, 2019 | By | Reply More

I first came across Ron Embleton’s art when young and reading ‘TV Century 21’ comic when he was illustrating ‘Stingray’ and created its logo way back in the 1960s when I was young. He later went on to illustrating ‘Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons’ and, later on, a run on ‘The Trigan Empire’. Peter Richardson points out that Embleton didn’t have a fondness for Science Fiction, although you would be hard pressed to realise that if you own the original issues or softcover reprints.

Ron, like his younger brother Gerry, was trained in traditional art and got employment in 1948 illustrating British comics. Throughout his career, he didn’t depend on models posing for him, but drawing directly. The samples shown here shows he could do detailed drawing or just enough to paint directly on layout. He used watercolours or water soluble colouring pencils to startling results.

All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2019

Much of his work was in the likes of ‘Look And Learn’, an educational comic in the 1960s, although looking at this bibliography at the back of the book reveals he was in demand everywhere prior to going colour. His expertise in historical period pieces was second to none. Even more remarkable was seeing his work for ‘Penthouse Magazine’ on ‘Wicked Wanda’, which has been reprinted, and ‘Sweet Chastity’, which surprisingly hasn’t where seeing his caricatures of celebrities in a humorous way transcended the magazine. The fact he didn’t use models makes it even more remarkable. There is so much work showcased here, so it’s hardly surprising that ‘Stingray’ only gets 3 pages in case this is all you’re buying this book for.

All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2019

Seeing all the work here, it’s a remarkable legacy. In some respects, reading the end articles about working long hours, usually into the early hours, contributed to his early death of 57 in 1988.

Objectively, the pro-artist in me looking at the art collectively, did go into analysis mode. Collectively, Embleton uses a bright palate. Contemplating, I did wonder with the nature of watercolours if he was neglecting secondary shadows because blending them can be messy but there are examples where he doesn’t as well. I think primarily, his colouring had its own style that became ever more distinctive over the years. You couldn’t mistake a Ron Embleton painting for anyone else, although because his brother Gerry worked with him on the outset of his own career does show similar traits.

All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2019

The Book Palace says it’s already likely to sell out. The book is a gorgeous find of art and I look forward to seeing more of this nature. Ron Embleton was a class act and sorely missed and as this book shows, he’s unlikely to be forgotten.

GF Willmetts

June 2019

(pub: The Book Palace, 2019. 98 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-907081-58-3. ISSN: 2052-6520)

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Category: Illustration, Magazines

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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