Illustrator of the Week: Walter Crane

The Cow Flew Over the Moon…

Walter Crane (15 August 1845 – 14 March 1915) was an English artist and book illustrator. He is considered to be the most influential, and among the most prolific, children’s book creators of his generation[1] and, along with Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway, one of the strongest contributors to the child’s nursery motif that the genre of English children’s illustrated literature would exhibit in its developmental stages in the latter 19th century.

He was a fluent follower of the newer art movements and he came to study and appreciate the detailed senses of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and was also a diligent student of the renowned artist and critic John Ruskin. A set of coloured page designs to illustrate Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott” gained the approval of wood-engraver William James Linton to whom Walter Crane was apprenticed for three years in 1859–62. As a wood-engraver he had abundant opportunity for the minute study of the contemporary artists whose work passed through his hands, of Pre-Raphaelites Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais, as well as Alice in Wonderland illustrator Sir John Tenniel and Frederick Sandys. He was a student who admired the masters of the Italian Renaissance, however he was more influenced by the Elgin marbles in the British Museum. A further and important element in the development of his talent was the study of Japanese colour-prints, the methods of which he imitated in a series of toy books, which started a new fashion.

Crane’s work featured some of the more colourful and detailed beginnings of the child-in-the-garden motifs that would characterize many nursery rhymes and children’s stories for decades to come. He was part of the Arts and Crafts movement and produced an array of paintings, illustrations, children’s books, ceramic tiles and other decorative arts. Crane is also remembered for his creation of a number of iconic images associated with the international Socialist movement.

Gallery

For more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Crane

~Cheers,
Chris

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Illustrator of the Week: Rene Bull

Sinbad!

René Bull was a British illustrator and photographer. He was born in Dublin on 11 December 1872 to a French mother and an English father. He went to Paris to study engineering, but embarked on an artistic career after meeting and taking drawing lessons from the French satirist and political cartoonist Caran d’Ache (Emmanuel Poiré) [1]. Bull returned to Ireland to contribute sketches and political cartoons to various publications, including the ‘Weekly Freeman’.

Moving to London in 1892, Bull drew for “Illustrated Brits” and created cartoons in the style of Caran d’Ache for ‘Pick-Me-Up’ from 1893. In 1896 Bull joined Black and White illustrated newspaper as a special artist and photographer. In 1898, he covered the Tirah Campaign in India and went on to Sudan for the campaign culminating in the Battle of Omdurman. He went to South Africa to record the Boer War until the relief of Ladysmith in March 1900. As he was wounded in 1900, Bull was invalided out.

He settled in England and drew cartoons for such magazines as BystanderChumsLondon OpinionLika Joko. In The Sketch Bull created cartoons of humorous inventions, predating those of William Heath Robinson. From 1905 he illustrated books, starting with an edition of Fontaine’s ‘Fables’. Other major titles he illustrated included The Arabian Nights (1912), Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1913), The Russian Ballet (1913), Carmen (1915), Andersen’s Fairy Tales. In 1914, Bull joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a lieutenant and was eventually transferred to the Royal Air Force where he reached the rank of Major. In World War II Bull joined the Air Ministry for technical duties. He died on 14 March 1942.

Books

  • Jean De La Fontaine – Fables (Nelson, 1905)
  • Frank A. Saville – Fate’s Intruder: A Novel (Heinemann, 1905)
  • Joel Chandler Harris – Uncle Remus (Nelson, 1906)
  • The Arabian Nights (Constable, 1912)
  • Alfred Edwin Johnson – The Russian Ballet (1913)
  • Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Hodder, 1913)
  • Prosper Mérimée (Trans. A. E. Johnson) – Carmen (Hutchinson, 1915)
  • Hubert Strang – The Old Man Of The Mountain (Hodder, 1916)
  • Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels (1928)
  • Rose Fyleman – A Garland of Roses: Collected Poems (Methuen, 1928)
  • Hans Christian Andersen – Fairy Tales (Clowes, c. 1928)
  • Joel Chandler Harris – Brer Rabbit Plays (Retold by Elizabeth Fleming) (Nelson, 1930)
  • Jean De La Fontaine – Fables: A Selection (Trans. Shirley Edward) (1935)
  • Zoo Friends (Blackie, 1939)
  • Various – The Children’s Golden Treasure Book of 1939

Gallery

For more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Bull

~Cheers
Chris

Illustrator of the Week: Alan Lee

Giants and Fairies!

Alan has illustrated dozens of fantasy books, including some nonfiction, and many more covers.[2] Several works by J.R.R. Tolkien are among his most notable interiors: the Tolkien centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings (1992), a 1999 edition of The Hobbit that has been boxed with it, and Narn i Chîn Húrin: The Children of Húrin(2007).[2][3] The latter, a first edition, is his work most widely held in WorldCat participating libraries.[4] Other books he has illustrated include Faeries (with Brian Froud), Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock (as well as the cover of an early print of this book), The Mabinogion (two versions), Castles and Tolkien’s Ring (both nonfiction by David Day), The Mirrorstone by Michael PalinThe Moon’s Revenge by Joan Aiken, and Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson.[2][3]

He has also illustrated retellings of classics for young people. Two were Rosemary Sutcliff‘s versions of the Iliadand the Odyssey—namely, Black Ships Before Troy (Oxford, 1993) and The Wanderings of Odysseus (Frances Lincoln, 1995). Another was Adrian Mitchell‘s version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses—namely, Shapeshifters (Frances Lincoln, 2009).[5]

Lee did cover paintings for the 1983 Penguin edition of Mervyn Peake‘s Gormenghast trilogy.[2][3] He also did the artwork for Alive!, a CD by the Dutch band Omnia, released on 3 August 2007 during the Castlefest festival.[3]

Watercolour painting and pencil sketches are two of Lee’s common media.[3]

Lee and John Howe were the lead concept artists of Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings films[6] and were recruited by director Guillermo del Toro in 2008 for continuity of design in the subsequent The Hobbit films,[6][7] before joining Jackson when he took over the Hobbit films project. Jackson has explained[8]how he originally recruited the reclusive Lee. By courier to Lee’s home in the south of England, he sent two of his previous films, Forgotten Silver and Heavenly Creatures, with a note from himself and Fran Walsh that piqued Lee’s interest enough to become involved. Lee went on to illustrate and even to help construct many of the scenarios for the movies, including objects and weapons for the actors. He also made two cameo appearances, in the opening sequence of The Fellowship as one of the nine kings of men who became the Nazgûl, and in The Two Towers as a Rohan soldier in the armory (over the shoulder of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Legolas talk in Elvish).[9]

Lee has also worked as a conceptual designer on the films LegendErik the VikingKing Kong and the television mini-series Merlin.[6] The art book Faeries, produced in collaboration with Brian Froud, was the basis of a 1981 animated feature of the same name.

Gallery

For more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Lee_(illustrator)

~Cheers,
Chris

Illustrator of the Week: John French Sloan

No Red Motif #1

John French Sloan (August 2, 1871 – September 7, 1951) was a twentieth-century painter and etcher and one of the founders of the Ashcan school of American art. He was also a member of the group known as The Eight. He is best known for his urban genre scenes and ability to capture the essence of neighborhood life in New York City, often observed through his Chelsea studio window. Sloan has been called “the premier artist of the Ashcan School who painted the inexhaustible energy and life of New York City during the first decades of the twentieth century”[1] and an “early twentieth-century realist painter who embraced the principles of Socialism and placed his artistic talents at the service of those beliefs.”

In 1913, Sloan painted a two-hundred-foot backdrop for the Paterson Strike Pageant, a controversial work of performance art and radical politics organized by activist John Reed and philanthropist Mabel Dodge. The play, a benefit staged for the striking silk mill workers of Paterson, New Jersey, took place in Madison Square Garden and incorporated over 1,000 participants.

Also in 1913, Sloan participated in the legendary Armory Show. He served as a member of the organizing committee and also exhibited two paintings and five etchings.[18] In that same year, the important collector Albert C. Barnes purchased one of Sloan’s paintings; this was only the fourth sale of a painting for Sloan (although it has often erroneously been counted as his first).[19] For Sloan, exposure to the European modernist works on view in the Armory Show initiated a gradual move away from the realist urban themes he had been painting for the previous ten years.[20] In 1914–15, during summers spent in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he painted landscapes en plein air in a new, more fluid and colorful style influenced by Van Gogh and the Fauves.[21]

Beginning in 1914, Sloan taught at the Art Students League, where for the next eighteen years he became a charismatic if eccentric teacher. Sloan also taught briefly at the George Luks Art School. His students respected him for his practical knowledge and integrity, but feared his caustic tongue; as a well-known painter who had nonetheless sold very few paintings, he advised his students, “I have nothing to teach you that will help you to make a living.”[22] He disdained careerism among artists and urged his pupils to find joy in the creative process alone.

The summer of 1918 was the last he spent in Gloucester. For the next thirty years, he spent four months each summer in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the desert landscape inspired a new concentration on the rendering of form. Still, the majority of his works were completed in New York.[23] As a result of his time in the Southwest, he and Dolly developed a strong interest in Native American arts and ceremonies and, back in New York, became advocates of Indian artists.[24] In 1922 he organized an exhibition of work by Native American artists at the Society of Independent Artists in New York.[25] He also championed the work of Diego Rivera, whom he called “the one artist on this continent who is in the class of the old masters.”[26] The Society of Independent Artists, which Sloan had co-founded in 1916, gave Rivera and José Clemente Orozco their first showing in the United States in 1920.

Gallery

For more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_French_Sloan

~Cheers,
Chris

Illustrator of the Week: Rockwell Kent

Be Careful by that Cliff…

Rockwell Kent was born in Tarrytown, New York, the same year as fellow American artists George Bellows and Edward Hopper. Kent was of English descent.[2][3] He lived much of his early life in and around New York City, where he attended the Horace Mann School. In his mid-40s he moved to an Adirondack farmstead that he called Asgaard where he lived and painted until his death. Kent studied with several influential painters and theorists of his day. He studied composition and design with Arthur Wesley Dow at the Art Students League in the fall of 1900, and he studied painting with William Merritt Chase each of the three summers between 1900 and 1902, after which he entered in the fall of 1902 Robert Henri‘s class at the New York School of Art, which Chase had founded. During the summer of 1903 in Dublin, New Hampshire, Kent was apprenticed to painter and naturalist Abbott Handerson Thayer. An undergraduate background in architecture at Columbia University prepared Kent for occasional work in the 1900s and 1910s as an architectural renderer and carpenter. At the Art Students League he would meet and befriend the artists Wilhelmina Weber Furlong and Thomas Furlong.[4][5]

Kent’s early paintings of Mount Monadnock and New Hampshire were first shown at the Society of American Artists in New York in 1904, when Dublin Pond was purchased by Smith College. In 1905 Kent ventured to Monhegan Island, Maine, and found its rugged and primordial beauty a source of inspiration for the next five years. His first series of paintings of Monhegan were shown to wide critical acclaim in 1907 at Clausen Galleries in New York. These works form the foundation of his lasting reputation as an early American modernist, and can be seen in museums across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of ArtSeattle Art MuseumNew Britain Museum of American Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Among those critics lauding Kent was James Huneker of the Sun, who praised Kent’s athletic brushwork and daring color dissonances.[6] (It was Huneker who deemed the paintings of The Eight as “decidedly reactionary”.)[7] In 1910, Kent helped organize the Exhibition of Independent Artists, and in 1911 together with Arthur B. Davies he organized An Independent Exhibition of the Paintings and Drawings of Twelve Men, referred to as “The Twelve” and “Kent’s Tent”. Painters Marsden HartleyJohn Marin, and Max Weber (but not John Sloan, Robert Henri, or George Bellows) participated in the 1911 exhibition.

transcendentalist and mystic in the tradition of Thoreau and Emerson, whose works he read, Kent found inspiration in the austerity and stark beauty of wilderness. After Monhegan, he lived for extended periods of time in Winona, Minnesota (1912–1913), Newfoundland (1914–15), Alaska (1918–19), Vermont (1919–1925), Tierra del Fuego (1922–23), Ireland (1926), and Greenland (1929; 1931–32; 1934–35). His series of land and seascapes from these often forbidding locales convey the Symbolist spirit evoking the mysteries and cosmic wonders of the natural world. “I don’t want petty self-expression”, Kent wrote, “I want the elemental, infinite thing; I want to paint the rhythm of eternity.”

Gallery

For more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockwell_Kent

~Cheers,
Chris

Illustrator of the Week: Frank Earle Schoonover

The Last of the Mohicans!

Born in Oxford, New Jersey, Schoonover studied under Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia and became part of what would be known as the Brandywine School. A prolific contributor to books and magazines during the early twentieth century, the so-called “Golden Age of Illustration”, he illustrated stories as diverse as Clarence Mulford’s Hopalong Cassidy stories and Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s A Princess of Mars. In 1918 and 1919, he produced a series of paintings along with Gayle Porter Hoskins illustrating the American forces in the First World War for a series of souvenir prints published in the Ladies Home Journal. Schoonover helped to organize what is now the Delaware Art Museum and was chairman of the fundraising committee charged with acquiring works by Howard Pyle. In his later years he restored paintings including some by Pyle and turned to easel paintings of the Brandywine and Delaware landscapes. He also gave art lessons, established a small art school in his studio, designed stain glass windows, and dabbled in science fiction art (illustrating Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars), he was known locally as the “Dean of Delaware Artists.” Schoonover died at 94, leaving behind more than two thousand illustrations.

Schoonover’s name received national attention in 2011 when his painting of World War I hero Alvin C. York was returned to York’s home state of Tennessee. Businessman and philanthropist Allan Jones of Cleveland, Tennessee purchased the painting on Veteran’s Day from the Blakeslee Gallery in Wellington, Florida.

Jones said, “When I learned that Mr. Blakeslee would consider selling the painting to the right buyer, I felt it was essential to bring this piece back to its rightful home in Tennessee and have the painting here on Veterans Day 11-11-11.”

Prior to being acquired by Jones, the painting was on loan to the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum.

Gallery

For more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Schoonover

 

~Cheers,
Chris

Illustrator of the Week: Trina Schart Hyman

Fairytales!

Hyman won the annual Caldecott Medal from the American Library Association, recognizing the year’s best-illustrated U.S. children’s picture book, for Saint George and the Dragon, published by Little, Brown in 1984. Margaret Hodges wrote the text, retelling Edmund Spenser‘s version of the Saint George legend.[1] She also won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for picture books, recognizing King Stork (Little, Brown, 1973), text by Howard Pyle (1853–1911).

She was a Caldecott runner-up three times, for her own retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in 1984, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel in 1990, and A Child’s Calendar by John Updike in 2000.[1] And she was a Boston Globe–Horn Book picture book runner-up twice, for All in Free but Janey by Elizabeth Johnson in 1968 and On to Widecombe Fair by Patricia Gauch in 1978.

She is also considered one of the first white American illustrators (after Ezra Jack Keats) to incorporate black characters into her illustrations regularly, as a matter of principle, in large part triggered by her daughter’s marriage to a man from Cameroon. Her grandchildren appear in several of her books.

Gallery

For more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trina_Schart_Hyman

~Cheers,
Chris