Thursday, June 25, 2009

Get Your Little People in Line

This week I have a new book that hit the Dover Site. This is a CD-ROM and Book collection; called Imps, Elves, Fairies and Goblins. For those of you unfamiliar with what exactly this is, I'll give you a short explanation—Dover publishes hundreds of books, that have an accompanying CD in the inside back cover. These "CD-ROM- Books" contain royalty-free images, everything from vintage fruit crate labels, to Victorian fashion photography, to, well, Imps, Elves, Fairies and Goblins. An average disc might contain 200 or more images, for use on whatever you can think of. The book gives you easy reference, and the disc gives you the convenience of having a digital file without having to scan the clip-art. Most of the work in this line of books comes from the public-domain, meaning that original copyrights have expired, leaving these images free to whoever wants to reproduce them.

The V I E W interest in this title is that the images in Imps, Elves, Fairies and Goblins are all from books from as early as Daniel Maclise's pieces, probably from the 1850's, and on through children's stories, folk, and fairy tales for the next half century and then some. This collection is all black and white line work, but there are some great drawings and characterizations here that may lead you elsewhere. Here are a few of my favorites:

Reginald (1879-1950)and Horace Knowles- from their edition of Norse Fairy Tales, 1910
H. J. Ford (1860-1940) -He did so much terrific line work—this scene is jammed with great characters—that goblin on the turtle looks as if it could have come straight from a modern fantasy role-playing book—
Walter Crane (1845-1915)-The animation of these figures and the clever design of this chapter head are a real statement to the depth this artist had to offer, far different from the often static scenes he is known for. From his adaptation of Grimm.
Laurence Housman, (1865-1959)— I cannot put my finger on what makes this guys work so compelling- something about the flow of his compositions—really outstanding stuff. It has been documented that he gave up illustration due to failing eyesight, understandable when you study his line work... These works are from his rendition of Rossetti's Goblin Market, which Dover published for years, though sadly, no more.

In illustration today-
I wanted to comment that though I look deep into illustration's past here, I am an active and practicing illustrator currently— and thought I would share this with others of similar situation-
longtime friend and fellow illustrator Jeremy McHugh and his buddies at have put together an informative and entertaining podcast on the trials and tribulations of the profession today- with special regard to the fantasy and sci-fi markets, they cover everything from references to techniques; dealing with contracts, and book reviews. It has become weekly listening both in studio and on occaisional commutes.

See ya next week. Jeff

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