Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fine Lines and Solid black, Vol. IV, A History Lesson

Bump in the road, but I'm here now.

A few things on the list, but it's been quite a while since I posted a Fine Lines, so I'm going to go there today. It's also good because a Dover book I've been waiting for (to mention here) is now available, so should you thirst for more, 'tis but a few clicks away.

Last Fall when I was putting together a syllabus for my History of Animation and Illustration class, I came to an area for required reading. All of the books I'd like to require for such a class, are out of print. I recommended a few, but I couldn't require any. But next Fall, I have one for the list.

500 Years of Illustration: From Albrecht Durer to Rockwell Kent, by Howard Simon. Originally published in 1942 (That's important, because when Simon speaks of modern work, he's talking about the late '30s and early '40's.)

A tome full of great line art and graphics, this lengthy history starts with Albrecht Durer's woodcut prints, hits William Hogarth, William Blake, and mid-nineteenth century masters, meanders through Victorian era early-illustrators, and wraps up with an international tour of some of the best line illustrators from the early 20th century. If you like your illustration art with a more graphic quality—where it's about the drawing—this is your book.

While it contains no color, the drawings and prints it contains (over 400!) and the range of the artists that it samples—make it a great add to the shelf, both as reference and for inspiration. Some of the pieces and styles to get lost in—character designs by W. Heath Robinson, up top, followed by Walter Crane designing pages for William Morris, Edmund J. Sullivan's image from
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam... the source of all of
those Grateful Dead stickers.  Harry Clarke,
fantastically creepy as always, and Franklin Booth,
getting more value out of ink line than anyone else.
Cover image is by Aubrey Beardsley.