As we journey past the quarter mark of the alphabet some of you may have noticed a slight itching in the back of your eyes. Maybe you’ve felt hunger pains, not in your belly, but at the midpoint of your head. That’s where your visual cortex is found and that hunger signals the beginning stages of art addiction. Other symptoms include: a compulsive need to discover all the names of teachers and friends of a particular well known artist, exploding bookcases due to the weight of too many art books, a deep knowledge of auction houses and their scheduled public viewings. Lastly, hives.
Don’t worry, the addiction is relatively benign and plenty of support groups exist. Just remember, it’s a scavenger hunt which has no list and never ends.
European comics are generally defined by much more elaborate and refined art styles. A shining example is Mathieu Lauffray, a contemporary French illustrator whose flowing ink lines and mastery of dynamic figure drawing makes him a personal favorite.
Influenced by the fairy tale illustrators of the turn of the century, Alan Lee is a watercolorist of the highest order. Originally gaining notoriety for the famous Faeries book that he created in collaboration with Brian Froud, he later went on to produce what some consider the definitive illustrations for the works of J.R.R. Tolkein. He was one of two illustrators tapped by Peter Jackson to help on his seminal Lord of the Rings films.
Known primarily for his fantastic pen and ink caricatures for the The New York Times Book Review. He was also a brilliant oil painter and watercolorist. HIs blotchy style of watercolor painting has disseminated through the illustration community and influenced countless painters from George Pratt to Burt Silverman.
Sublime might be the best word to describe the paintings of Levitan. Expansive space and the absence of figures are a staple of his canvases, which helped transform the Russian countryside into places of poetry.
Norman Rockwell’s hero and biggest influence, Leyendecker is a god amongst illustrators. His beautiful and distinct chiseled brushstrokes and iconic imagery made him the highest paid illustrator of the time. He was a master of design and arguably the inventor of the modern magazine cover.
A book and magazine illustrator who worked through the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. He’s become immortalized as having written the most comprehensive illustration instruction books ever. Figure Drawing for all it’s Worth, Creative Illustration, and Successful Drawing should form the cornerstones to any art students library.
C O L O P H O N
Type this week is by Herb Lubalin and Zuzana Licko. Graphic designer and typographer Lubalin designed the well-known Avant Garde Magazine logo in the late 1960s; it is still the best use of the full typeface based upon it. Uppercase L is from the popular and beautiful Mrs Eaves, designed in 1996 by Licko, co-founder of Émigré magazine and foundry.
We are Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon. We live in a pocket-sized apartment in Brooklyn where we collect neat, weird things. Our home is abundant with books, old furniture, mismatching tea cups, and a cat named Cipher. We both illustrate stuff for money so we can continue to invent stories, buy shoelaces, watch puppet shows, and eat sandwiches.