Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gerry Dolan

With Doctor Who back on our TV screens for the next few weeks, it seems apt to take a look at the work of a Doctor Who artist.

Gerry Dolan worked only briefly for Dr Who Magazine, providing illustrations for the short story 'The Infinity Season' (#151, August 1989), written by Dan Abnett, and the strip 'Stairway to Heaven' (#156, January 1990) scripted by John Freeman from a story by Paul Cornell and inked by Rex Ward.

Both featured Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and were noted for Dolan's detailed rendition of the character. The strip's appearance in Doctor Who Magazine coincided with the final episode of the Sylvester McCoy era of the TV show (December 1989) and a gap of seven years before the TV movie and sixteen before the series was revived.

Dolan also contributed to The Worm, an exercise in record breaking that took place 1991 at London's Trocadero. From an outline by Alan Moore, 125 creators gathered to draw and letter a 250-foot long comic strip, recognised as the longest comic strip in the world.

Since those brief appearances, Dolan seems to have disappeared from the world of comics.

Examples of Gerry Dolan's artwork can be found for sale here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty notes on his intriguingly named Not a Proper Person blog that he is not to be confused with the famous singer bloke. "I'm the much less well known comic book illustrator." Within the comic book industry, however, he is well known—as a regular artist for 2000AD's 'Judge Dredd' and chronicler of the early life of Death in Judge Dredd Megazine, or as an artist who has tackled Grendel, Superman, Batman and Catwoman, or as a colourist for Geof Darrow's surreal Shaolin Cowboy.

At a time when Britain's comics were beginning a love affair with fully painted art in the wake of Simon Bisley's 'Slaine: The Horned God', Doherty preferred treating colour as an enhancement to his line art. "The few bits I actually painted were a bit of a disaster," he would later say. "Mostly I coloured my line drawings—I'd ink on watercolour paper with waterproof ink then use transparent media like coloured inks, watercolours and thinned acrylics so the line showed through, and finally finish off with solid colour over the top."

Doherty was taking an applied physics degree at university when he decided that his career should take a different direction. He had taken life classes at art school and held down a Saturday job at Odyssey 7, a comic shop in Leeds, which brought him into contact with Duncan Fegrado, then working on 'The New Statesman' for Crisis with writer John Smith. Smith's friend Chris Standley was also trying to get into comics and he and Doherty collaborated on a five-page story "about an unemployed bloke, something we knew a lot about back then."

After meeting Steve MacManus at a Glasgow comics' convention, the story was sold to Crisis ('Felicity', Crisis 47, 1990), with Doherty also providing that issue's cover. He was immediately offered 'Young Death', the origin story of the popular character from the 'Judge Dredd' strip, written (under the pen-name Brian Skuter) by Dredd co-creator John Wagner for the debut issues of a new 2000AD spin-off, the Judge Dredd Megazine. Doherty's first professional assignment couldn't have had a higher profile.

It's dark humour proved a hit with readers and Doherty soon became a regular on the Dredd strip in 2000AD, drawing episodes of the epic 'Judgement Day' storyline and a memorable one-shot, 'Bury My Knee at Wounded Heart', often cited as being one of the best Dredd stories ever. He also drew 'Mechanismo Returns' for the Judge Dredd Megazine (1993) and a one-off tale of 'Armitage' (1994).

Doherty soon found himself working for the US market, drawing the 6-issue Grendel Tales: The Devil May Care (1995-96) and 'Carson of Venus' (Dark Horse Presents, 1998) for Dark Horse and pencilling a 3-part series for Vertigo's The Dreaming written by Bryan Talbot ('Weird Romance', 1997). Further work on The Dreaming, Superman 80-Page Giant, Batman and Superman: World's Finest and Catwoman followed from DC Comics over the next few years.

In 2001 Doherty (then a relative newcomer to computers and computer colouring) found himself working full-time for a computer games company. Over the years he has also worked as an illustrator, storyboard artist and designer but has always returned to comics when the opportunity allows.

The 2005 2000AD strip 'Breathing Space' (set in Luna 1, a moonbase in the Dredd universe) was begun by Doherty, but a lengthy illness meant the strip had to be reassigned after two issues; Doherty coloured the remaining seven episodes (pencilled and inked by Laurence Campbell & Lee Townsend).

Doherty has subsequently worked mostly as a colourist—on the 3-issue mini-series Seaguy (2004) and the 7-issue Geof Darrow series Shaolin Cowboy, which he also lettered and designed. The latter was nominated for five Eisner Awards in 2005.

Over the past five years, Doherty has appeared regularly in the Judge Dredd Megazine, drawing episodes of 'Devlin Waugh' (2007) and the lead Dredd strip as well as colouring 'Bato Loco' (2009). His recent work has included colouring the Dredd episode 'The Convert' in 2000AD (2010) and a DCU Legacies back-up, 'Revelation!', drawn by Frank Quitely (2011).

Examples of Peter Doherty's artwork can be found for sale here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Serge Drigin

Serge Drigin, sometimes spelled Sergie, Sergey or Serge R. Drigin, was a Russian artist, born on 8 October 1894, who, without formal training, became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s. Formerly a sailor, he illustrated at least one book in his native Russia, Skazka o rybakie i rybkie by E. Venskii, in 1919 before beginning a prolific output for British magazines such as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He produced many startling covers for various titles published by George Newnes in the 1930s, including Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others. In around 1941, he was working for War Artists & Illustrators, based in central London, who supplied material to War Illustrated and Sphere amongst others.

In around 1934-35, he briefly turned to comics and drew varioius episodes for Film Picture Stories and the serial 'The Flying Fish' in Sparkler. He returned after the war, when paper shortages meant that illustrators were finding work thin on the ground. He produced numerous one-off strips in 1947-48, mostly for Scion Ltd. In 1948, Drigin began drawing strips for Manchester-based J. B. Allen, producing a number of series for Allen's Comet, Sun and Merry-Go-Round comics until 1949.

In the 1950s, he was still very active, contributing features and artwork to various annuals, including Swift and Eagle, but seems to have grown inactive around the mid-1950s.

Drigin was married three times, firstly to Ruth Evelene Baker at Totnes, Devon, in 1923, with whom he had a daughter Shirley N., born 1927 (who later became a veterinary assistant in South Africa). The Drigins separated soon after and Ruth Drigin remarried in 1929.

Serge Drigin was subsequently married at Lambeth in 1931 to Eva Walker (1905-1993) and, at Fulham in 1954, to Joan Octavia A. Nicholle (1916-1992).

Drigin, who was naturalised in 1932, died in Lambeth, his death registered in 2Q 1977 under the name Sergie Drigin.

Examples of Serge Drigin's artwork can be found for sale here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don Lawrence

Don Lawrence ranks amongst the most widely known of British comic strip artists, his fan base spread widely across Europe, thanks to translations of his epic science fiction strip ‘The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire’, which he drew from 1965 to 1976. His work was especially appreciated in Holland, where the series Storm was created for the Dutch comic Eppo in 1977. In celebration of the artist’s 75th birthday in 2003, Queen Beatrix gave permission for Lawrence to be made a Knight in the order of Oranje-Nassau.

Donald Southam Lawrence was born in East Sheen, London, on 17 November 1928, the third child of Herbert and Nellie Lawrence. He was educated at St. Paul’s boarding school in Hammersmith, where he took refuge from academic studies by doing art. After National Service with the Army, he used his gratuity to study at Borough Polytechnic, where he met his wife-to-be, Julia Wilson.

With a child soon on the way, there was an urgent need for steady employment, which Lawrence found with Mick Anglo’s studio, an agency which packaged Western and superhero comics, notably Marvelman and Marvelman Family, for distributor Len Miller. Lawrence worked for the Gower Street studio for four years before arguments over pay led him to find work elsewhere.

After drawing Westerns for Zip, Swift, Sun and Lion for two years, Lawrence found his niche in historical adventures strips, drawing ‘Olac the Gladiator’ (Tiger), ‘Karl the Viking’ (Lion), ‘Maroc the Mighty’ (Lion) in 1959-65. Memorable as these were, it was in fully painted colour that Lawrence was to find his forte. Colour strips for Lion Annual and Bible Story, including the life of 'Herod the Great' in the latter, led to him being offered ‘The Trigan Empire’, which debuted in the short-lived Ranger in September 1965 before finding a regular home in the educational weekly Look and Learn from June 1966. Lawrence was to draw the strip for 11 years in all.

Quitting in 1976, he was immediately offered work in Holland, co-creating the character of Storm, a spaceman hurled into the distant future and then to the far reaches of the universe when the series was revamped in 1982. Storm debuted in the Dutch weekly Eppo in 1977 but struggled to find a writer, the first nine series being written by five different authors, including Lawrence himself. With the tenth album, which relocated the series from future Earth to Pandarve, the strips were written by Storm's co-creator Martin Lodewijk. A further ten volumes appeared between 1982 and 1990.

Although the strip was little known in his native country, Lawrence’s achievements continued to be recognised by his peers, winning the Society of Strip Illustration’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1980. He won multiple awards in Europe, including the prestigious Pantera di Lucca Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.

Lawrence's eyesight began to fail, which forced him to slow his pace. Two further albums in a trilogy of Storm stories which would complete a cycle of the story appeared in 1993 and 1995. Following the latter, Lawrence submitted to eye surgery but lost the sight in one eye. He continued to work, but at a far reduced pace and the third volume of the trilogy was completed by Liam Sharp, a former assistant, in 2001.

A heavy smoker, Lawrence was hospitalised with pneumonia and died on 29 December 2003, survived by his second wife and children.

In 1989, the founder of the Don Lawrence Fan Club in Holland, Rob Van Bavel, began publishing collections of Lawrence's work in hardcover. After 10 volumes of The Don Lawrence Collection (in Dutch), he began an ambitious project to reprint some of Lawrence's best strip work in collector's editions in both Dutch and English. Titles published to date include the 12-volume Storm: The Collection, the 12-volume Trigan Empire: The Collection and a 4-volume reprinting of 'Karl the Viking'.

Examples of Lawrence's artwork can be found for sale here.