Showing posts from March, 2013


"To live is to war with trolls." --Ibsen
While researching the upcoming book on illustrator Bernie Fuchs, I was amused by the imitators who seemed to encircle his ankles wherever he went.

Fuchs' illustration for Cointreau...

... was copied by illustrators as far away as Korea:

The thefts became so blatant that Advertising Age magazine sponsored a competition challenging readers to send in ads that copied the Cointreau ad.  Fuchs never did anything about it, just moved on to a different approach.

He got a lot of attention with this bold new illustration for McCalls in 1964: 

Among the artists "influenced" by Fuchs' picture was Aldo Luongo, who painted the following version and sold it as a limited edition print,  advertised heavily in fine art magazines:

When Fuchs changed directions, painting with a series of thin acrylic washes...

...illustrations by others in the same style began popping up a few months later:

I suspect the imitators who hurt the most were the c…


In 1704, the great Isaac Newton wrote the first scientific treatise on color theory (the physics of color interaction).  Newton's color wheel began the transformation of color from the unsupported intuitions of artists to the science that it has become today.

Today we recognize that our sensory impressions of ideal colors were unreliable.  Instead, we measure vibrational frequencies and map spectrum space, defining quality in quantitative terms.   The science of colorimetry and organizations such as the International Commission on Illumination to help us achieve the miracles that digital color accomplish today.

As Galileo said, "The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics."

Many great scientists have made valuable contributions to this growing body of knowledge.  But the most important and useful color theorist remains Elizabeth Barret Browning:
"Yes," I answered you last night;
"No," this morning, sir, I say.
Colors seen by candlelight

PIB Desert Location

A team effort with production designer Guillaume Aretos.

From The Legend of Puss in Boots




James Gallagher takes a few meaningless scraps of paper and combines them in strong visual statements.

Such materials would be disastrous in less capable hands:  blank pages from books and magazines in a dozen muted shades of tapioca.  Random stains or wrinkles, and an occasional stray bit of text.  Fragments of old photos clipped from anonymous publications.  Yet, Gallagher glues them together in a way that creates powerful compositions:  

He even manages to imbue these primitive materials with meaning, significance and mystery:

Gallagher says:
I collect my source materials from such places as recycled vintage books, sex manuals, clothing catalogs and anything else that can be folded into my world. With a combination of calculated moves, and unrehearsed accidents, my scraps find each other and solidify....  This spontaneous process often generates raw, emotional images that I feel excited and personally moved by. Ultimately I hope to capture something that feels natural (o…



"To live is to war with trolls"  --Henrik Ibsen

In my view, there was no better draftsman in 20th century illustration than the great Robert Fawcett.

Some might look at this drawing for Good Housekeeping and dismiss it as "typical boring 1950's photo referenced illustration."  (Oh, don't deny it-- you know who you are).

But let's take a closer look:

Up close, the drawing reveals an extraordinary array of marks on paper, from drybrush swirls to bold, virile stripes.  Who could squeeze more character into brushwork than Fawcett?

And did you notice Fawcett's trees, like exploding constellations?

Always, design was paramount for Fawcett.  Compare his trees above with the following "fine art" painting by the famous Adolph Gottlieb: 

Here are a few more trees in the background of Fawcett's drawing, each one crackling with its own distinctive energy:

And it ain't just trees; Fawcett's opinionated brush aggressively sought out the rhythm an…

Jungle Falls