Despite the free and spontaneous look to his drawings, Briggs' sketches and preliminary drawings show that he was a disciplined and skilled draftsman. He drew numerous preparatory sketches...
...sometimes with great precision (especially earlier in his career, when his style was tighter):
To plan his more complex illustrations, Briggs would do numerous preliminary sketches:
Briggs wrote a note to an art director in the margin of one of these sketches, saying "If you don't like this one, I've got a dozen others on the floor of my studio."
The following drawing is not a sketch, but a finished, published illustration.
|Drawing with corrective patch|
However, the original version was never published:
|Drawing without corrective patch|
We forget today that Briggs was at the forefront of artists introducing a more realistic informality into illustration. Previous illustrators focused on the one key moment or reaction shot, where the subject's eyes were widest or their expression was the broadest or their leap was at its height.
Today's illustrators should be grateful to Briggs as a bold and principled pioneer who left the field with more artistic freedom than it had when he began.