I’ve been wanting to do a Frank Frazetta analysis for quite a while, and finally it’s time. He was amazingly fast and produced many, many paintings. I thought about doing the iconic Death Dealer image, but picked this one instead because of its simplicity. I’ve been trying to learn more about silhouettes and values against a background, and this image makes good use of both concepts.
Posts Tagged ‘character’
As I recently said on Facebook, “How have I not been aware of Donato Giancola before now?” This one stopped me as I was going through Spectrum 16, and I’ve kept coming back to it. The Archer of the Rose is the cover for Kathleen Bryan’s The Last Paladin by Tor books. We’ll look at the picture’s development and its use as a cover. Giancola likes to start with strong abstract compositions as the base and then work toward strong realism. We’ll look at the abstract patterns he uses and how they guide the eye, and we’ll also look at some of his finely detailed rendering. Finally, we’ll look at the thought and research that went into the narrative and characterization. For example, Persian manuscript covers inspired the patterns on the shields, yet the armor styles are more western European. What does this tell us about the events in the scene, and how does it contribute to mood and theme?
What a difficult choice! There are a lot of great illustrations in the Dover book, and it was hard to decide which one to look at for an analysis. If you’re a fan of golden age illustration, you should definitely check this one out. I chose this one in the end for a few reasons. For one, we get a clear sense of character – to me this seems like more than just your generic old woman. She’s been through a lot. Also, Rackham gives us lots of texture and line work that is fun to get lost in. The recent analysis of Dürer was an example of highly precise, controlled linework. This drawing, though, shows linework that is loose and flowing, yet still controlled. Rackham’s picture has clearly separated foreground, midground, and background elements, and it also has an effective silhouette and composition.
On November 14, 1960 federal marshals escorted Ruby Hall to her first day of kindergarten. She was the only black child to attend the school, and after entering the building she and her mother went to the principal’s office while the white parents entered the school and took their children out. Thereafter she was the only student in her class. You can read more about the story at her entry in Wikipedia.
Norman Rockwell painted this picture for Look magazine. Though J. C. Leyendecker did more covers for the Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell is best known for his long run with them. Their art direction and editorial guidelines constrained his work, however, and after his last painting for them in 1963 he moved in a more socially outspoken direction, and Look was buying. In this analysis I’ll go over what makes this very simple painting so powerful.
Aly Fell (aka Poshspice) is a long-time participant in the Character of the Week activities and is one of the current moderators. This is the painting he did for the activity, and in addition to capturing the brief I think it’s a fine example of the classic pinup. For this analysis, I’ll look at several things, including what makes something a pinup, composition and rhythm, and the role of details in creating a finished piece.
Brian Bolland was one of a wave of artists from the U.K. who crossed the pond and made a name for himself in the comics industry. He’s best known (to me) for his work on Judge Dredd, creating several iconic characters including Judge Death. I picked up his book The Art of Brian Bolland recently, and of all the great artwork in there this was the piece that jumped out at me. I’m not even a particular fan of Prince’s music, but this is just one cool portrait. It’s in a comic style, but a quite realistic and detailed one compared to most superhero rags. For this analysis I’ll focus on the composition of the portrait, the colors and values, and the linework.
These days we share a defined idea of what a genie looks like. The visual language is fairly set. During the golden age of American illustration though they didn’t necessarily have those preconceptions. Below we’ll look at how Will and Frances Brundage, René Bull, Edmund Dulac, Charles Folkard, H.J. Ford, and Maxfield Parrish conceived of and presented the same scene from the Arabian Nights.
All they really had to work with was the text of the stories, and possibly the knowledge that according to Islam God created genies (djinn) from fire as he similarly created humans from the clay of the earth.
This illustration is for a story in McClure’s magazine in 1906 called “The Hanging of Mary Dyer.” There was an actual Mary Dyer who was an early Quaker martyr. She was executed for repeatedly returning to Massachusetts to preach Quakerism after having been banned from the colony. Pyle himself was Quaker, so the illustrations for this story likely had an extra dimension for him. Also, though it may not be apparent from the picture, this is the very act that led to Mary Dyer’s execution, so it’s a key moment of the story.
Yigit Koroglu, an artist from Turkey, posted this painting just a few weeks ago. (Click here for a larger version.) I’d been planning to pick something from his gallery when he posted it, and one of the first things I noticed was the way he’d used textures to really sell the realism on a fundamentally bizarre creature. There’s also nice stuff going on with depth and composition, so I’ll touch on all of that in looking at how this picture works.
This is a personal painting by Henning Ludvigsen. You can see a larger version of it here, as well as a step-by-step of its development at his web site. For this analysis I’ll talk about several things, including composition, eye guidance, values, process, and texture. The first question to ask about it, though, is what’s going on? What is the point of the illustration? While there is certainly information about character and hints at a story, my take is that the painting is most about setting a mood and presenting a concept: that of a bleeding wall.