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, June 29, 2011

S. R. Boldero

Stephen Richard Boldero was born Stephen Richard Hamel-Wedekind in Caterham, Surrey, on 3 April 1898, the son of merchant Richard Christian Benedictus Hamel-Wedekind and his wife Tempe Stanley Browne, the youngest daughter of Camillo di Montebello Drew, an officer in the Ceylon police, who married in 1897.

Richad Hamel-Wedekind died whilst his son was still an infant and S. R. Hamel-Wedekind was raised by his mother in Hammersmith and Battle, Sussex. By 1911, Tempe had dropped her married name and was now called Boldero, her mother's maiden name and that of her uncle and aunt who had raised her following her mother's death.

Educated at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate (1914-15), the now Stephen Richard Boldero trained at the Royal Military Academy and joined the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1916 before transferring on a short service commission to the Royal Air Force, making Pilot Officer in 1921 and Flying Officer in 1922. He served part of his time in India, from whence he returned in 1924, relinquishing his commission in April 1925 due to ill-health. By then he seems to have been twice married, firstly to Nellie P. Woodley in 2Q 1916 in Steyning, Sussex, with whom he had a son, Alistair J. Boldero, in 1917, and secondly to Eleanor Winifred Wise in 4Q 1926 in Chelsea, Middlesex. The latter marriage ended in divorce in 1934.

Whether he had an artistic bent earlier in life is unknown, but he certainly turned to painting in the 1930s. The earliest trace of his artistic talents I have been able to find relates to the introduction of mobile recruiting offices, via which the R.A.F. hoped to recruit 31,000 men ahead of the (increasingly inevitable) war. A report in The Times (15 July 1938) describes them thus:
The outside decoration of the new type of van has been carried out in two contrasting shades of blue, with the R.A.F. concardes of red, white and blue in the lower panelling on either side of the body. Two chromium-plated show windows display, in colour, representations of life in the R.A.F. at home and abroad. They have been carried out, in cut-out form, by Mr. S. R. Boldero, who has served with the R.A.F. The inside of the van is equipped as an office.
Boldero's cover artwork appeared regularly in the 1950s and 1960s, published by most of the leading paperback firms (Corgi, Digit, Arrow, Pan, Panther, Four Square, Consul). He also had a long association with Souvenir Press, producing numerous dust jackets.

Stephen Richard Boldero lived for many years (at least from 1957-82) at 39 Ranelagh Gardens, London W.6. He died in London in the summer of 1987, aged 89.

S. R. Boldero artwork for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Harold Copping

Harold Copping was a British artist, born in Camden Town on 25 August 1863, the second son of Edward Copping (a journalist) and Rose Heathilla (nee Prout), the daughter of J. S. Prout, the water-colour artist.His brother, Arthur E. Copping, became a noted author, journalist and traveller.

Copping grew up in St. Pancras. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools and won a Landseer Scholarship to study in Paris. He was a successful painter and illustrator, living in Croydon and Hornsey during the early years of his career.

According to James Thorpe, in English Illustration: the Nineties: “Harold Copping’s work, capable and honest as it was, does not inspire any great enthusiasm; there are so many artists doing illustrations equally satisfactory in literal translation and equally lacking in strong personal individuality.”

Nevertheless, Copping was a notable illustrator of Biblical scenes and in order to achieve some authenticity in his work, notably an illustrated edition of The Bible published in 1910, he travelled to Palestine and Egypt. This version was a best-seller and led to many more commissions for Copping.

A trip to Canada inspired the collection of watercolour sketches Canadian Pictures. Amongst the many books he illustrated were The Gospel of the Old Testament, Scenes in the Life of Our Lord, Scripture Picture Books, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Tales from Shakespeare, Character Sketches from Dickens, Longfellow and others.

Copping was married to Violet Amy Prout in 1888, and had children Ernest Noel (1889- ), Romney (1891-1910) and Violet (1891-1892). Following his wife’s death in 1894 (aged only 29), Copping was married a second time, to Edith Louise Mothersill, in 1897 and had children Joyce (1901-1934) and John Clarence (1914-1977).

Copping lived for many years at The Studio, Shoreham, near Sevenoaks, Kent. He died at home on 1 July 1932, aged 68, after some years of ill-health and a Memorial Fund was set up in his name to provide for his widow and children, raising over £500.

Harold Copping artwork for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mike White

Mike White has had a career in comics that has lasted almost forty years. Interested in drawing comics, he began sending samples off to companies before moving to London and visiting agencies. His earliest work appeared from Micron in around 1963/64 in their schoolgirls' libraries. As White recalls, the company would accept artwork from artists who were still learning their craft and he is not especially proud of these early efforts.

White first major strip was 'Jackaroo Joe' for Valiant in 1965-66 and his talents for adopting the styles of other artists led him to working in the style of Mike Western in Champion where he took over the artwork for 'School for Spacemen'. Other strips for Fleetway in the late 1960s/early 1970s include 'The Lords of Lilliput Island', 'Cannonball Craig', 'The Team Terry Kept in a Box', 'Whiz-Along Wheeler', 'The Test Match Terrors'; at the same time he was working for D. C. Thomson, usually working on one-off strips rather than series.

White was a regular on Action in 1976, filling in on 'The Running Man' before taking on the series 'Hell's Highway'. In the revised Action - which was removed from the shelves for some months for retooling - he drew 'Hellman of Hammer Force'.

He then found regular work in 2000AD, drawing many episodes of 'Tharg's Future Shocks', 'Ro-Jaws Robo Tales' and 'Tharg's Time Twisters'. He notably drew the Abelard Snazz strories written by Alan Moore and stories by Steve Moore and Grant Morrison. He dew a run of 'The Mean Arena' in 1981-82, written by Tom Tully. He teamed up with Tully again to draw 'Sintek' in Tiger in 1982-84.

He continued to draw for D. C. Thomson, his strips including 'Deep Sea Danny's Iron Fish' and 'Roul the Warrior' in Buddy and 'We Are United' in Champ. The latter began a run of football strips that would run for around a decade. He convinced one editor that he knew quite a lot about football but actually knew almost nothing and had to read up about the game to understand even the off-side rule.

After drawing 'Dexter's Dozen' for Roy of the Rovers, he took over the lead strip and drew 'Roy' for six years, updating the look of the strip and introducing a number of new players - he took over the strip shortly after a devastating terrorist attack left 8 members of the team dead. In his first few months, White helped Roy to victory in the Littlewoods Cup Final and the Championship Trophy, missing out only on the F.A. Cup. (which Melchester went on to win in 1990). During White's tenure, Roy also broke the record for the most goals scored in league and cup games when, in May 1992, he scored his 436th goal.

White was convinced that comics were not going to last and began requesting that his agents find him illustration work; by the time the boys' adventure comic ground to an end, White was already established. In recent years he has drawn illustrations for historical educational books published by various firms, amongst them Thalamus, Templar and Miles Kelley Publishing.

He continues to draw comics, most recently for Commando, having drawn his first cover in 1997 and his first interior artwork in 2003. His latest story appeared in March 2011.

Mike White artwork for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stefan Barany

Stefan Barany has proved to be a particularly elusive artist. Best known for his cover artwork for the Sexton Blake Library, he seems to have appeared almost nowhere else, although the above piece of cover art from a 1962 issue of Princess Picture Library has been offered by the Illustration Art Gallery.

Barany's first Blake cover appeared on issue 482, Desmond Reid's  Murder By Moonlight, in August 1961. Over the next few months he was the main Blake cover artist; a number of titles involved Barany combining images with other artists' work, including one image by Bruno Elettori, but primarily with Angel Badia Camps. His last cover was Lotus Leaves and Larceny, issue 521, April 1963.

Stefan Barany artwork for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Don Forrest

Donald A. Forrest is a wildlife artist noted for his illustration of birds. One of his most notable books is The Birdwatcher's Key which is an illustrated guide to 382 different species to be found in the British Isles and North-Western Europe.

Forrest's career may date back to at least as early as 1949 and the publication of a children's book entitled Binkie Beacon and His Friends.

Illustrated Books
Animals of Southern Asia by Michael Tweedie. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
What Comes Out of an Egg? by Patricia Gray. London, F. Watts, 1973.
Creatures That Help Each Other by Patricia Gray. London, F. Watts, 1975.
The Birdwatcher's Key. A guide to identification in the field by Bob Scott. London, Frederick Warne, 1976.
Creatures That Look Alike by Patricia Gray. London, F. Watts, 1977.

Artwork by Don Forrest can be found for sale here.