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?
Posts Tagged ‘symbolism’
When I decided to do a Vallejo picture here I asked my Facebook friends list what kind of cheese they thought best represented his art. Answers were generally high-end or gourmet: Raclette, Manchego, Pont-l’Évêque, Gouda. Someone threw out “processed cheese food,” but I think I’d have to go with Havarti. I like Havarti. And the cheese enthusiast in me likes Vallejo. He’s the first artist I learned to identify based on style alone.
Unfortunately I can’t find a link, but I once saw a cartoon with a woman in a +5 chain mail bikini. She had half a dozen arrows stuck in the chinks on her bosom, and she was saying how glad she was she wore her armor. (I think it was in a Dragon magazine.) Anyway, Vallejo epitomizes that barely-there style of fantasy clothing. It failed in providing warmth or protection, but it would allow publishers to put naked babes and guys on book covers without being sued. I also think it dovetailed with Vallejo’s love of painting the ideal human form. This painting, Snake Women, is from his book Mirage. Here he dispenses with the chain mail bikini level entirely to create fantasy erotica.
Note: The image is Not Safe For Work.
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.
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.
This is the last page of a 3 page article published in Look magazine in 1942 called “The Creator of Flash Gordon Envisions the World’s End.” Until just a few years prior to this Alex Raymond had worked mostly in comics with ink and line. He’d begun working in color, though, and delved into it in full force during World War II. A year or so after this image he joined the Marines and produced a number of works for them. This image, though, shows a blend of both his comics experience and an illustration style influenced by the likes of J. C. Leyendecker.
To understand this picture we need to know a few things about it. First, it’s a two-page spread in a comic. Second, the story at this point is about a schism in Promethea. Promethea herself used to be a young girl, but she was taken into the lands of imagination where she became, essentially, a spirit of imagination and story. Over the centuries, she could manifest through physical people and become a super hero of sorts. In this story, she has unknowingly begun manifesting through two people, one on each side of the Crusades.