Saturday, January 11, 2020


Different illustrators clipped different types of reference pictures, depending on their needs.

For example, some kept comprehensive files of children, or different kinds of animals; some fixated on watercolors in order to study painting technique. Some kept boxes of historical reference with pictures of great cities and empires.

But I never saw a collection which didn't keep a file of drawings.  No matter what their professional assignments might be, all artists seemed to appreciate the importance of good drawing.

Here's a selection from the files I inherited:


kev ferrara said...

This series is really great. The first two and last one in this set are, in my view, just masterful. The Fawcett is a very interesting bit of suggestion from him that seems to presage 1960s Bob Peak.

I don't know who did that last one, but it's somebody good. The way the technical details are simplified so effortless and plausibly reminds me of Sickles.

That Picasso, however, is contemptible. Lazy cartooning pretending to be deeply observed abstraction.

MORAN said...

That MacNelly elephant is awesome.

David Apatoff said...

Kev Ferrara-- I feared no one would "get" that last drawing-- a small spot illustration of a mundane industrial topic by an anonymous artist (I agree it looks like Sickles but couldn't find a signature). No visual pyrotechnics. But some artist long ago spotted this drawing in a magazine and had the good judgment to clip it out. I agree with you, it's damn good drawing, unpretentious but rock solid and well worth studying.

MORAN-- I agree, MacNelly is awesome. I'd urge people to take a look at that Weber drawing; he uses 5% of the lines that MqcNelly uses, but he is awesome too.

Richard said...

Hot damn that Bob Bugg piece is good. Line work, excellent. Pulling the horizon down, well played. Cutting the composition down the middle with the boys back, forcing you to see through his eyes to the disinterested parties, and feel the excitement of that letter in hand, virtuosic.

Richard said...


While you're working through this archive, do you have any interesting finds on the use of references?

Would love to see some posts on references for texture, buildings or landscapes, facial expressions, whatever!

Still an under-explored area of illustration history.