Saturday, November 21, 2009

ONE LOVELY DRAWING, part 29

This is why your grandpa spoke with such reverence about the great Al Dorne.


1953 illustration from Colliers about six greedy, shiftless sons waiting for their father to die.

These overalls alone are an act of utter brilliance:



Notice how sharply Dorne observed the folds at the knee and the waist, and how he used such a descriptive line to convey them. You can also tell from the way he drew those haunches that he understood perfectly the anatomy beneath the overalls.

Dorne's knowledge of anatomy did not hobble his imagination in any way. Look at the liberty he took in redesigning the human skull, placing ferret-like heads on the bodies of lummoxes.


In addition to the seemingly dislocated jaw, note the loving attention Dorne paid to the furrowed brow, the curve of the eye and the interaction between cheekbone and nose. This is a master draftsman at work.





Other examples of that fabulous Dorne line include:





But it would be a mistake to look at this drawing as just the sum of its highlights. Look at the total architecture of the drawing. Dorne has carefully placed these sons, leaning forward like vultures, to focus all attention on the dying old man.



Although he is the centerpiece of the drawing, you never see the old man's face. In a further act of stagecraft combining color and line, the old man's red sleeve draws your eye right where Dorne wanted it. (Admittedly, these watercolors have faded with the years, but even in 1953, that sleeve stood out).

For me, this is a lovely drawing with the kind of complexity that you rarely see in illustrations designed for today's shorter attention spans. The artist Leonard Starr recounts an exchange between Dorne and famed pop artist Andy Warhol: Warhol claimed, "Art today has to go beyond mere drawing" to which Dorne responded, "Excuse me, Andy, but there's nothing fucking 'mere' about drawing."

81 Comments:

Blogger kev ferrara said...

This is one of my favorite Dorne pictures.. a classic... with his trademark super-expressive hands and faces. Its great to see that red sleeve, as I'd only seen this in black and white. The composition makes a lot more sense now.

I'm assuming from your post that you read Dorne's explanation of the creation of the picture in the Famous Artists Course.

11/21/2009 4:43 PM  
Blogger Piya said...

This is lovely indeed.

Why is it this kind of quality seems so rare these days? As an illustrator myself, this seems rather lugubrious. Are we, the new generation, a bunch of slackers? Did we miss something? Did we skip one too many life drawing classes? Is the technological revolution causing our lives to speed up and our ability to observe to deteriorate?

And if so, what can we do about it?

Will the 30s to 50s forever be the 'Golden Age' of illustration, never to return again in future generations?

11/21/2009 7:57 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Kev, I did not see that (or if I did, it was so long ago that I had forgotten about it) but you can bet I'll track it down now. This post was inspired by a recent acquisition from Illustration House gallery. It sounds from your comment like Dorne got the analysis right!

Piya, I'm sure you'll get a lot of reactions to your comment (including some denying any difference in quality) but from my perspective, the demands on illustration have changed. This image came from an era when people still looked to magazines (rather than TV or the internet) as a primary source of the stories and pictures in their lives. Magazines were thick with text because people read a lot of short stories and serialized fiction each month, and the accompanying illustrations were a full page and sometimes even bigger. People had time to study and think about the pictures. Today, those magazines are all gone. Readers flip through today's different types of magazine quickly. If the drawing doesn't move, readers don't seem to linger over it long enough to make this kind of attention to the image worthwhile. I think that's at least part of your answer. Another part is that Dorne was a genius.

11/21/2009 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Wynne Reynolds said...

Wonderful! I knew immediately what was going on without reading the caption. And I loved having the close ups to scrutinize.
It is indeed a shame not to have an equivalent of those magazines to stroll through on a lazy Sunday. But it is nice to have your blog to bring back the oldies.

11/22/2009 12:37 AM  
Blogger Francis Vallejo said...

Thanks for posting this Mr. Apatoff. I've long admired this piece, copying it a number of times.

To jump off of what Kev mentioned...the b&w boxer piece in the Famous Artists Course book is another favorite Dorne of mine. I haven't seen that piece anywhere else, unfortunately.

cheers!
-fv

11/22/2009 1:59 AM  
Blogger Jesse Hamm said...

This piece is more angular than the other Dornes I've seen -- I like it. Looks like he was maybe an influence on the great Alberto Breccia, especially Breccia's "Mort Cinder" work.

11/22/2009 3:50 AM  
Anonymous Chad Sterling said...

Dorne at his very best was a match for anyone.This is top-notch work.

11/22/2009 7:05 AM  
Blogger fklb said...

Many thanks this magnificent illustrations

11/22/2009 7:51 AM  
Blogger Don Cox said...

I think the modern equivalent of the 1950s magazines is graphic novels and comics. Obviously the standard varies widely, and draughtsmen as good as Dorne are rare in any century (including the Renaissance), but there is good artwork out there if you hunt for it. And there has been a big revival in interest in anatomy and perspective - look at the number of books on the market now, compared to 20 years ago.

11/22/2009 8:10 AM  
Blogger Arun Kumar said...

I think you're very right Mr.Apatoff.

11/22/2009 10:32 AM  
Blogger Chuck Pyle said...

I don't know how many times that I have shared this wonderful Dorne piece with my students. It is all that you mention, a masterful example of drawing with authority married to opinion and great design. Thank you, David, for showing the original art. The sensitivity of the inking is even more apparent in this.

11/22/2009 1:48 PM  
Blogger Don Cox said...

Yes, it is great to see original art from this project, especially as it is featured in the Famous Artists lesson. Many thanks for posting it.

11/22/2009 3:33 PM  
Blogger Kagan M. said...

Wow, this is one of my favourites from Dorne as well - very jealous of you! I visited the Illustration house last Friday and sadly no one answered the doorbell. I was really looking forward to seeing some of those Dorne originals up for auction if they were still around.
Tell me you don't own the original of the Western bar room scene with the guy knocked out on the floor???
I'm definitely much more inspired by Dorne's work in this style than the stuff he did without black line. Always keeping an eye out for it!
Thanks for the closeup!

11/22/2009 6:18 PM  
Blogger Diego Fernetti said...

Those hands! I had to draw some simple hand illos recently and I had a thought time to depict them more or less accurately... now this is simply stunning!

11/22/2009 6:47 PM  
Blogger James Gurney said...

My guess is that Dorne was the inspiration for the MAD magazine artists, especially Jack Davis and Mort Drucker. Is that right? It's interesting to see Dorne's brand of caricature in the service of a dramatic story picture rather than a satirical one.

As you so beautifully point out in your "One Lovely Drawing" posts, David, there's a ton of knowledge behind even the simplest line.

11/22/2009 8:25 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Awesome

kyle
www.ArtSavvy.com

11/22/2009 10:06 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

James Gurney: "It's interesting to see Dorne's brand of caricature in the service of a dramatic story picture rather than a satirical one."

How the heck is this illustration not satirical?

11/23/2009 3:29 AM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

sat⋅ire:

1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2. a composition in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.

11/23/2009 3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dorne's line is so brilliant, I would like to know how you think this compares to Lovely Drawing no. 28 (the childish drawings). I think the artists in that post are good but no match for Dorne.

11/23/2009 3:43 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Thanks, Wynne-- you can still have those "magazines to stroll through on a lazy Sunday" if you are willing to look at a stack of old magazines from the '40s and '50s. Unfortunately it is harder to find a lazy Sunday these days than to find the magazines.

Francis, it is interesting that you copied this drawing. Dorne learned by copying as well. He never had an art lesson in his life, but he learned to draw as a penniless little street urchin by going into the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which was free in those days) and copying every picture in the place. As you can see, he learned a great deal that way. I am sure he would be touched if he knew that the next generation of talented illustrators was in turn copying his work.

Jesse-- I went back to look at Breccia's work-- it had been a long time-- and I suspect you are right.

Chad and fklb-- agreed, thanks!

11/23/2009 4:36 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Don, I would be very interested in your views (and the views of others) on who among the current crop of graphic novel artists pays this kind of loving attention to linework. As you say, "the standard varies widely." I know some artists who are detailed and careful, but I'm not sure there are many graphic novel audiences looking for this kind of work.

Chuck, delighted to hear from you. I like the way you characterize this drawing and I'm glad you share my affection for it. You don't realize how primitive Collier's printing process was until you look at a drawing in the flesh.

Kagan and Diego-- thanks!

James Gurney-- I am sure you are correct about Jack Davis and Mort Drucker. Their work has Dorne all over it. And thanks too for your always inspirational blog-- it was after reading your recent post about Dorne that it occurred to me to post these images here.

11/23/2009 4:53 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Great picture David, my first thought when you zoomed in on the hand was, that is a Mort Drucker hand. Same vigor and confidence.

11/23/2009 10:15 PM  
Blogger Steve Fastner said...

There was another illustrator named Floyd Davis,who also did pictures of comical hillbilly characters that have a Mad magazine feel to them.

Has anybody read that magazine story?It could be comic,tragic,or a mix of both.

11/24/2009 12:40 AM  
Blogger Lucas Ferreyra said...

FANTASTIC!

11/24/2009 5:50 AM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

Did You purchase the illustration?
Is your house/apt filled with artwork? Mainly I checked in (hoping to see some neat illustration in addition) to wish Happy Thanksgiving!
Beth
re: your question on paying attention... is ...unclear to me

11/24/2009 12:50 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

I love the broken thumb, and the use of one model for it all.

11/24/2009 2:24 PM  
Blogger kenmeyerjr said...

God, what example of the toppermost of the poppermost in illustration...the hands alone are worth the price of admission.

11/24/2009 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Carnifex said...

yeah,my first thought was "goddamn,look at those hands!"
one lovely drawing indeed.

11/24/2009 7:40 PM  
Blogger अर्जुन said...

>>and the use of one model for it all.<<

They are inbred hillbillies, or maybe the male version of the Dionne Quintuplets +1!

11/24/2009 8:54 PM  
Blogger Mansilla said...

this is an amazing drawing!!!

11/24/2009 9:38 PM  
Anonymous A Real Black Person said...

Why is it this kind of quality seems so rare these days? As an illustrator myself, this seems rather lugubrious. Are we, the new generation, a bunch of slackers? Did we miss something? Did we skip one too many life drawing classes? Is the technological revolution causing our lives to speed up and our ability to observe to deteriorate?




It's mostly like due to thechanges in Art Education, primarily after modernist teaching took hold. Disipline and rigor disappeared from many art education. Art didn't become learning about visually representing the physical world, which is much more complex than abstraction, but it it became about "expressing one's self". Forty years later, in Illustration programs everywhere, students are told to look up to artists like Gary Basman. or Art Brut.
Sure, art was always an academic subject but it subsequently became subject to the notion that "nothing is bad, except for what Art Crtics don't like. Art critics ONLY can judge art".This made the job of art instructors easier since they didn't see themselves being measured by the skills their students mastered. Good art is art with no effort. but I think that is only half true. Art instruction isn't universally entrenched in this ideolgy. It's just that an American artist will need to go to Russia or maybe Asia to get the kind of training that Dorne probably received (if he wasn't born as a child prodigy.
Which brings me to another point. A lot of art educators don't believe that drawing correctly can be taught. they believe it's something pre-determined at birth.It's part of the genius phenomenom that many upper middle class people tend to believe of their children. ).
Because art education to Art directors abhor the kind of drawing Dorne displayed in the blog for a few reasons. It's not modern art. It's not some pretentious 'emo political statement', the kind of of thing Art Buyers go for. It doesn't showcase an exotic group of people who they pretend to care about. We know for a fact that art buyers don't know anything about art other than what art salespeople told them buy . A lot of people who bought expensive contemporary art for the last twenty years were people who worked in Finance. Some of them have realized that their collections of self-expression are mostly shit since the recession. They found out when they tried to unload their collections of self-expression and discovered that no one wanted to buy.

Lastly, Dorne's work would only be appreciated at a large size. The general trend is that visuals in newspapers and periodicals are shrinking in size. Ads rarely use illustration, because drawings do little to sell watches, expensive cars, smartphones, you name it. Illustration is is a fetish. It only appeals to a small but affluent demographic of educated hipsters. Illustration is the New Yorker and it's nothing else.


The short answer is that America has been lowering its "technical" standards to a point that people who know a trade or any skill VERY WELL are rare. Art can sometimes fall into the technical catagory.

Technology is part of it...but it's America's attitude towards hard work. We try to do little as possible or little that has any insintric meaning and think we're entitled to a decent income or any income at all. Hubris.

11/24/2009 11:17 PM  
Blogger AG said...

Thank you for introducing me to yet another master illustrator Mr Apatoff, and the great scans of close-up details.

You truly do us "illustrators of the new generation" a great service in posting up these scans together with your insights and comments.

Thank you!

11/25/2009 3:21 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

A real, I with you...

I was over in the back room where I get my paintings shot the other day, marveling with another artist over some Bob Peak Tear sheets they had when another artist/ whatever walked in. I asked him if he liked old illustration, he said reluctantly, "It has its place." His obvious pre disposed intolerance made me instantly categorize him as an artist I never needed to know or see his art. I'm as bad as him.

11/25/2009 1:48 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>I asked him if he liked old illustration, he said reluctantly, "It has its place." <<<

So you finally met Kev, in person.

11/25/2009 2:59 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11/25/2009 2:59 PM  
Blogger Lefteris C. said...

This is fantastic. I love how Dorne used his imagination to go beyond strict realism, it really adds to the expressiveness of the work. One can see from the end result, the care and class of the artist who made it. Thanks for sharing.

11/26/2009 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

It's a fact that the art world now considers drawing to be a somewhat outdated and irrelevant skill. The idea or concept is everything and with any number of more cutting-edge media easier to master and readily available,drawing has become a skill more suited to 'lowbrow' artforms such as animation,computer games etc.Having spent years trying to master the craft it seems a very gloomy future awaits us and to be brutally honest,if I were at art school these days it would be tempting to take the easy route via computers.I take no joy in saying this, sorry to be so negative.

11/26/2009 8:57 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>It's a fact that the art world now considers drawing to be a somewhat outdated and irrelevant skill. <<<

Which art world? I'd like to read something other than this sentence before I accept it as "a fact." Where did you come up with all of this research? Which art world do you speak of?

11/26/2009 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Wow, detail detail detail! That's my problem, I can never focus on the little details... It's an area I need to improve in.

My illustration: http://mlmoutsidethebox.com/lullafly/

11/27/2009 9:40 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

ps nice lead in with that carpet.

11/28/2009 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

QUOTE:
>>"As you say, "the standard varies widely." I know some artists who are detailed and careful, but I'm not sure there are many graphic novel audiences looking for this kind of work">>.

David, I know this is blog dedicated mostly to American scene. Yet, in regard to your statement, I have to say that in Europe (despite recession and everything) there were and are rather large audience for this kind of work. Particularly in France, Spain and Italy.
I could drop a lot of names (of European artists) as well, but I am not sure if it is warranted.

p.s. thank you for this exquisite piece.

11/29/2009 11:46 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Thank you for posting these- the lines and characterizations are just wonderful.

11/30/2009 8:31 AM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

Good illustration takes time, and time is money these days it seems, meaning less time for "this kind of loving attention to linework." Even the Wall St Journal used to have really neat little drawings of people in the news, now its more rare (there is one of Mohamed ElBaradei in today's opinion ~head of the IAEA~ are these even done by a person? sure kind of looks like a photograph which is sketched over.) Surely such a newspaper would have the funds to pay a good illustrator. Doesn't bode well for the skill. Individuals like David keep the love of good illustration alive:-) Yup! love the hillbillies!!
gE

11/30/2009 1:36 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Tom, Carnifex, Bill Wray and Kenmeyerjr-- I'm glad you picked up on Dorne's hands. You can tell he had a great deal of fun with them. Look at any Dorne illustration and odds are you will see hands loaded with personality--fingers splayed, curled and clenched in extreme and imaginative positions. This was Dorne's trademark (before Drucker and Davis came along).

Steve Fastner-- welcome, it's always nice to have another practicing artist chime in on these issues. I know and admire the Floyd Davis work you describe. Amos Sewell was another talented illustrator who had a specialty in humorous drawings of Tobacco Road squalor. I guess that was pretty big back then.

11/30/2009 3:06 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Lucas Ferreyra, Kyle, Mansilla, AG, Jen, Lefteris, Nick and Tom-- thanks for writing. It warms my heart that people can still see the value in these kinds of drawings. They may no longer be in vogue, but they obviously still resonate with people who have eyes to see.

अर्जुन-- you don't want to think about what the fruits of the Octomom will grow into. We are in a losing battle.

Real Black Person-- it's interesting that you put such an emphasis on art education steering people down the wrong path. As mentioned above, Dorne never took an art lesson. He taught himself to draw.

11/30/2009 3:20 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Valentino-- "I could drop a lot of names (of European artists) as well, but I am not sure if it is warranted."

Not only is it warranted, it is actively desired. How else are we going to learn? I know the work of about a dozen European graphic novelist types, and have written about a few of them here, but I have a lot to learn. I love being exposed to new artists and styles and would welcome hearing about anyone you think is good.

11/30/2009 3:25 PM  
Blogger frank gressie said...

albert dorne, he's a big example for me.
his work alone was the reason to study the famous artist course, which i luckily bought cheap, and the translucent 'centerfold' from him is breathtaking! I stared at it for hours and hours!

11/30/2009 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

Presumably Mr Howard spends so long gazing up thru his rectory he is unaware of an 'art world' beyond his narrow parochial world of low brow 'commemorative plate' workaday 'illustration'.Ho Hum.

11/30/2009 8:29 PM  
Blogger mark morris said...

Oh, Dmitri, you took the bait!

12/03/2009 7:15 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

The "bait" is this...back up your grand pronunciamentos about the "art world." Instead we get the usual argumentum ad hominem attacking the honest question. Dmitri is emulating the scientists at CRU and East Anglia who also find their words painted them into corners.

It is obvious that Art and illustration have never been Dmitri's primary focus of education, for if they were he would never utter such unsupportable statements about an Art World of which he is clearly on the periphery.

Now let's get back to supporting the statement rather than trying ti insult the honest questioner.

12/04/2009 4:05 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

"...if I were at art school these days it would be tempting to take the easy route via computers"


you can't simply SKIP drawing, go straight to the computer and start producing brilliant work. knowledge of anatomy/layout/chiaroscuro/framing etc etc comes from drawing. without years of drawing practice no amount of computer programme expertise will hide the weaknesses of the finished work. i see lots of bad CGI animation all the time and the reason is almost always lack of basic drawing skills.

12/04/2009 9:02 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

I agree, Laurence. The truly sad thing is that, of all the aspects of studying art, drawing is, by far, the easiest to master. Yet the vast majority of students bumble past mastering that yo get onto the areas they consider to e more fun....playing with the pretty colors and the sexy new tools. As long as art is taught as a hobby, art schools and universities will continue to produce a woefully low percentage of competent artists (meanwhile, collecting huge fees and tuition in the process).

12/05/2009 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

Seriously,your lack of knowledge about the world of contemporary illustration is frightening.I can't even educate you because your opinions are wrong on so many levels it would be a waste of time. Suffice to say both of you prefer the illustration of yesteryear because it speaks in an easy language you can both understand ie technical skill.Thus contemporary art, that concentrates on ideas not technical skill, will always be regarded by backward-looking people such as you as rubbish.It was ever thus.

12/05/2009 4:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Actually Dimitri, a lot of the illustration i see nowadays is only about the technical skill. Sometimes the technique is just about making it look as realistic as possible. Sometimes the technique is about making it look as naive or rough as possible. But it is all just technique, and often quite empty. The type of rubbish being pushed by overly trendy and boring magazines like Juxtapose.

And the above opinion is mine, not as far as i know shared by David or Rob. David himself has remarked that he shows these older illustrations so that they will not be forgotten, and i have not heard him comment negatively about the contemporary illustration scene

12/06/2009 12:28 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/06/2009 6:28 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

"Seriously,your lack of knowledge about the world of contemporary illustration is frightening.I can't even educate you because your opinions are wrong on so many levels it would be a waste of time"


how on earth do you have any knowledge of my interest in contemporary illustration ? read the comment i made about bad CGI and then please educate me why it is wrong on so many levels. i can't wait to be EDUCATED by you Dimitri.


"Thus contemporary art, that concentrates on ideas not technical skill, will always be regarded by backward-looking people such as you as rubbish.It was ever thus"

no Dimitri,

only contemporary art that concentrates on weak ideas and lazy/poor technical skill will be regarded as rubbish.

12/06/2009 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

"Seriously,your lack of knowledge about the world of contemporary illustration is frightening.I can't even educate you because your opinions are wrong on so many levels it would be a waste of time

Laurence:
You see even here you betray your total lack of knowledge by confusing CGI with illustration. The two are as far apart as it is possible to be.

Matthew:
Clearly you dont care for the look or content of today's illustration and you therefore take solace in a kind of obvious work that looks like what it's meant to be.So maybe you go around in plaid shirts, Chinos and a duck hunter's cap because you prefer the clothes of yesteryear, when of course the intellectual content of illustration was far higher than today.Ho Ho.

Actually none of my critique was directed at David, who strikes me as an urbane, well-informed individual unlike...

12/06/2009 9:41 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

Dimitri, i'll ignore your rude tone and press on...

yes i mentioned CGI but the principles i was talking about still apply to computer-based illustration.
you have yet to describe how skipping drawing ( i presume drawing to you means only pencil on paper) and going straight to the 'easy route' of computers will produce quality imagery. are you saying that computer-produced imagery has its own aesthetic that is exempt from the traditional standards by which we judge an 'old fashioned' illustration ?

12/06/2009 10:00 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Hi David

I have always admired Mort Drucker since I was a little kid. He even wrote me a letter about drawing when i was about 10 years old. It is nice to know ones artistic heros also had artistic heros.

I also like the horizontal red arm, the only splash of color, in the Drone drawing along with every head pointing to the unseen father, just like a constellation, the father the sun, and the planets,his children. everything held in place by gravity. Even the mirror reflects us back into the picture.

12/06/2009 10:20 AM  
Blogger etc, etc said...

Sure would love the opportunity to marvel and be astonied over Dimitri's work.

12/06/2009 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

David: >Not only is it warranted, it is actively desired. How else are we going to learn?<

Sorry for delay, I haven't been online this week. Here are several names in no particular order, as they came to my mind: André Franquin, Benoit Springer, Mathieu Lauffray, Zarko Beker, François Schuiten, Olivier Vatin,
Dino Battaglia, Victor de la Fuente, Ferdinando Tacconi, Alberto Breccia, Antonio Hernandez Palacios, Claire Wendling, Alberto Varanda,
Yslaire (Bernard Hislaire), Alfonso Font, Sergio Toppi, André Juillard, Jules Radilovic, Didier Cromwell, Gine (Christian Martinez), Albert Uderzo, Fabrice Meddour , Régis Loisel, Juanjo Guarnido, Hermann, Georges Bess, Mario Alberti, Pepe Gonzales...

They're all extraordinary artists, and well worth checking out. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but right now I don't have enough time to make a more comprehensive list.

12/06/2009 11:51 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

Valentino, that is a veritable battalion of strong talent. We Yanks tend to be rather parochial in our appreciation of how much talent exists outside of U.S. borders.

12/06/2009 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

are you saying that computer-produced imagery has its own aesthetic that is exempt from the traditional standards by which we judge an 'old fashioned' illustration?

Self-evidently,yes.In the same way the birth of photography freed artists to investigate new forms of non-representational art,so computers have opened the way for a new visual language that does not rely on traditional ideas.Degas' use of radical cropping questioned long-held beliefs in composition, why do you find it so strange that a new aesthetic can't arise with new forms of expression?

This is what I mean by an ill-informed, predjudiced view of contemporary work.You really need to question your assumptions.

12/06/2009 5:44 PM  
Anonymous A Real Black Person said...

The horrible thing, is that there are no "ideas" in contemporary art.
It has no cultural significance .


Its stance is that it thinks it's intelligent instead of merely being incomprehensible and meaningless.

Are we suppose to be lead to believe that abstract expressionism says something deep and significant about the human condition because people with a lot of money (art dealers and people in academia) say it does?

(I know the answer: yes.)

12/06/2009 8:39 PM  
Anonymous A Real Black Person said...

Dimitri, one last thing, are these ...developments in illustration...these ideas that illustration is imbued with now... that make it concerned more with ideas (wait, isn't that what graphic designers deal with, ideas? ) leading to more of them being commissioned? Is it what the marketplace, not trendy art galleries, demanding ?

Go ahead, tell me about how profitable anarchist art is and how there are ten movies in development based around its significance to people worldwide and how it shook up deeply held beliefs about human civilization as we know it. I'm waiting.

12/06/2009 9:40 PM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

Dimitri, please forgive my ill informed point of view if you can.

so you are saying that computer-created art has opened up a new visual language (i'll assume you're talking about illustration rather than 'fine' art although you still haven't clarified which 'art world' you meant exactly)

please then share the names of some modern illustrators who use the much easier to master 'cutting edge media' (and have little or no basic drawing ability ... this is important since your point hinges around the fact that drawing is 'irrelevant') and who you think
are producing groundbreaking work. i'm genuinely interested to see who you're referring to.

12/07/2009 2:05 AM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

Boy, are you two fellows mixed up!

"Are we suppose to be lead to believe that abstract expressionism says something deep and significant about the human condition because people with a lot of money (art dealers and people in academia) say it does?"

No,we are supposed to be moved by the visual experience created by a talented artist who uses something other than literal representation to stir something within you.Maybe you lack the sensitivity to be moved by such things.
You also seem to doubt that illustrators deal with 'ideas',well, that is the whole point of an 'illustration' isnt it, to represent an idea or concept in visual form. I thought a graphic designer's job was to arrange and order information for communication.Paul Rand was able to cross over but they are separate disciplines.

As for contemporary illustrators who are not reliant on traditional drawing , I would suggest someone like Ulla Puggaard,from what I have seen, who creates very striking images using the computer and ,I imagine, photographically sourced images which are then re-worked.I'm not sure what you mean by 'ground-breaking, but I see them as absolutely contemporary.

12/07/2009 5:06 PM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

oh, i thought you were talking about something far more ambitious when you said 'a new visual language'. Ulla's work is nice... it looks like screen printing even though it's probably done in photoshop. there's a lot of that kind of thing about. it has more to do with design than drawing. 3x3 magazine is full of that sort of thing. it doesn't really excite me. so when you said this...

"Having spent years trying to master the craft it seems a very gloomy future awaits us and to be brutally honest,if I were at art school these days it would be tempting to take the easy route via computers."

...you were saying that now you'd choose a simpler more graphic style rather than spend years becoming a draughtsman only to be out of fashion ?
if that's the case i agree. you're far more likely to find work if you produce stuff that looks more like Ulla's. if you're happy to do that, then what's the beef... you just bitter ?



thanks Dimitri, it's been enlightening.

12/08/2009 2:55 AM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

David, I can send you some scans of the artists I mentioned, if you're interested. Just drop me a note at
studio@valentinoradman.com

12/08/2009 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

That is just totally disrespectful to Ulla's work and I knew that any example I gave you,you would have to try to diminish in some way.
Ulla produces colourful, expressive, exciting images and all you can say is that they are 'nice'. I wonder what I would find if I clicked on your name and checked on the quality of your stuff,something impressive I hope as you set youself up as a critic.
Ok, let's quickly review my comments.

"It's a fact that the art world now considers drawing to be a somewhat outdated and irrelevant skill."
Are you going to dispute that?Representational illustration has been on the slide since the mid 60's,Or maybe you're still subscribing to the Saturday Evening Post.Whatever.

"The idea or concept is everything and with any number of more cutting-edge media easier to master and readily available,drawing has become a skill more suited to 'lowbrow' artforms such as animation,computer games etc."

The expression of the idea, ie for an illustration, can be achieved on computers (cutting-edge media) by way of Photoshop,Illustrator or Painter,which are easier to learn than the craft of drawing and painting.And now the main outlets for people with drawing talent are storyboards, game development etc.Regarded in the business as less prestigious outlets than Editorial illustration.Which part of that is difficult to understand, Laurence?

"Having spent years trying to master the craft it seems a very gloomy future awaits us and to be brutally honest,if I were at art school these days it would be tempting to take the easy route via computers.I take no joy in saying this, sorry to be so negative."
This all seems straight forward.Having spent 20 years trying to master pencil and paint,I would be tempted,if I were at college today, to focus my efforts more on the new technologies realising that very average talent and a good idea can be parlayed into a great final image through the above mentioned software.

"you said 'a new visual language'. Ulla's work is nice... it looks like screen printing even though it's probably done in photoshop. there's a lot of that kind of thing about. it has more to do with design than drawing. 3x3 magazine is full of that sort of thing. it doesn't really excite me."

So there it is,right underneath your nose.The new visual language.It's not about looking like Al Dorne,Sickles or Parker.It's about design,far less than drawing.
Which is exactly where I came in.I'm sorry if you don't like it Laurence, but it's there,
"it doesn't really excite me"
Well isn't that a shame.

One final thing.
You should apologise to Ulla.

12/08/2009 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Dimitri said...

Ok,I see you are VERY retro in outlook.That explains a lot.My earlier comment about a duck-hunter's cap ...spooky.

12/08/2009 10:14 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

sorry, but i think Ulla's work is nice. i don't think that is being disrespectful. if you think it's exciting i'm very happy for you.

"It's about design,far less than drawing"

there's lots of it about i agree. it looks good on book covers and t-shirts and is trendy. i thought you were referring to something else entirely with the 'new visual language' produced by computers thing, but never mind.

if you look at illustration mundo's most favourites page...

http://www.illustrationmundo.com/illustrators.php?str_date=mf

... you'll see that the top 2 illustrators (after the guy who built the site) are both highly competent draughtsmen. just a coincidence ?




(by the way my taste in clothes bares no relation with my taste in illustration)

12/08/2009 10:33 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Valentino, I have been slowly making my way through the list of names you provided, thank you very much. I have had no problem finding plentiful images on the internet.

I have admired several of these artists for years. For example, I love the work of Regis Loisel and have been trying to acquire his original art for a long time. Unfortunately, it never seems to make it over to the US. (I would be most grateful to anyone who can help connect me with a source for his art). I also like the work of Yslaire. And of course artists such as Toppi are already well known in the US.

But several of the names on your list are new to me and I am enjoying getting acquainted with them. As a general matter I enjoy the artists who draw more simply but with style or opinon (for example, Vatineor Loisel) than the artists who work very tightly and squeeze a lot of intense detail into a panel.

Thanks again.

12/08/2009 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

Quote: >As a general matter I enjoy the artists who draw more simply but with style or opinon<

Then by all means check Claire Wendling. She is my favorite in the new generation of french artist.
One can notice influences that range from Kley, Schiele and Klimt to Frazetta but her drawings definitely have a charm of their own.
I purchased all of her books available on french Amazon. Stuart NG has those, as well in addition to some sketchbooks unavailable elsewhere:
http://www.stuartngbooks.com/wendling.html
Compare his prices with those on french Amazon since you may shop cheaper there.
As for Loisel originals, you may google for european (french and belgian in particular) comic shops, for instance this one:
http://www.graphicnovelart.com/page.asp?docid=18625
He does not sell the originals featured on that page, but I guess you can ask him where to look for the art you are interested in.
As for Loisel, he is amazing artist with recognizable style, I agree. I have his graphic novels "The Quest for the Timebird" and "Peter Pan".
You may check this site
for sketches and original art. I browsed for Loisel:
http://www.comicartfans.com/SearchResult.asp
Admittedly, it is a fan site with mostly NFS tags, but occasionally some for-sale pieces pop up.

12/08/2009 2:52 PM  
Anonymous A Real Black Person said...

Ulla Puggaard?
I saw her Larkworthy portfolio.
Striking?
You have got to be freakin' kidding. It's not unique. There are people who can do that urban style thing she'strying for much thoroughly. It's not illustration. It's not even design because there's no conscious thought behind it. But I see a lot of over-conceptualizing It's certainly not about communication. That's for sure. You're right in that it's it's "contemporary" in the sense that her pieces consist of a bunch of semi-spontaneous elements quickly arranged on a page.Contemporary illustration means to me illustrators that show little to no drawing or truely visual conceptualization (engineers and game artists do that their work is rarely seen or considered illustration) and whose work is only seen in hipster and socialite circles.

12/16/2009 1:26 AM  
Anonymous A Real Black Person said...

I want to make one obvious correction. Some of you may have already figured it out. I apologize.

By overconceptualizing I mean she makes it looks like she's got a concept in one or more of her samples but the elements that make up them are vague and cryptic. They remind me of when when office drones try to "look busy" when their boss is watching them.

I didn't mean to sugggest that there was any sucessful visualization of any concept throughout her portfolio.

12/16/2009 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

David, here is a blog dedicated to great french comic artist of the older generation Paul Gillon:
http://comic-historietas.blogspot.com/search?q=gillon
I think you'll like him.

12/19/2009 3:08 PM  
Blogger Bong Redila said...

Brilliant!

12/22/2009 11:45 PM  
Blogger Chuy Rodriguez said...

FANTASTIC!

1/17/2010 7:43 PM  
Blogger Marcos Mateu said...

Amazing, such gracious use of pencil line. Love the expressions, the dynamics, the freshness of it all.

1/17/2010 8:56 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh, David, I am so excited to see this illustration... I was just looking for the drawings of a famous French draughtsman and I stumbled onto this image...

I am in a very well-known but very quiet school called the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where we are devoted to developing the kind of skills that you and the commentors are talking about: painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking in the Academic Tradition (ie the Royal Academy in England, the Royal Academy for Painting and Sculpture in France, and the Academy and Company for Arts and Drawing in Italy), regardless of what is fashionable (not that there is anything at all wrong with that, we just prefer more traditional aesthetic aims and goals).

What excites me (and why I am so pleased to see these things on your website) is that as I am looking for Master Draughtsman peices to copy and get inspiration and ideas from, I am still (despite finding many master's drawings) seeking a kind of action and dynamic animation with figures, within space, that this very artist that you are featuring possesses and shows.

I love Norman Rockwell, and many of the artists that illustrated for the Saturday Evening Post (some of whom went to our school, too, like Maxfield Parrish), and I keep stumbling over more and more illustrators like Robert Myers and James R. Bingham, etc.

Maybe I am looking for a little more of the expressiveness, the grace, the profoundity, and the wisdom that I see in the world around me right now, that these artists who used their gifts for illustration seemed to represent so well.

Thanks so much for your posting!

1/24/2010 1:25 PM  

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