I always get a happy gleam in my eye when I recognise a particular cardboard envelope through the letterbox. Two on the same day just feels even luckier although I will be discussing the two magazines separately.
The first is Illustrators # 17 and its look at Mort Kűntsler’s staggering amount of paintings over the years. You might not recognise his name but if you’re of a particular age then you would have seen his work in American men’s magazines, MAD covers and cinema posters. He paints incredibly fast with gouache and later with oils with a speciality in historical American scenes with attention to detail. Looking at his work is an education in itself.
As Diego Cordoba tells us about Filipino artist/writer Francisco V. ‘Koko’ Coching (1919-1998), he confirms he’s an artist not known outside of his own country but created 60 illustrated comicbook series and all but the most fantastic, because of lack of technology and expense at the time, were made into films. You can see the Hal Foster and Alex Raymond influences and although Cordoba only describes it, Koko looks like he also did the American ‘Famous Artists’ course. His diversity of style and technique will have you wondering why you’ve never come across him before.
French artist Gustave Doré (1832-1883) has been in ‘Illustrators’ before but this time the look at his work is more intense. Although he saw himself as a painter who could also draw, his proficiency with etching, an early form of lithography, that could be printed off metal sheet is truly mesmerising for its texturing. Doré was really prolific in his 51 year life showing a desire to research all his subjects in biblical, legend, book illustrator and real life, over conveying their emotional state. I haven’t seen any of his London illustrations before but the one included here showing just how confining they were in the 19th century will make you think. If you fall for his art here, then you will want to pursue them in the books that are out there.
Lastly, there is an interview with Zac Retz and his computer graphics. He explains how he found it hard to master from painting but can’t do without it now as he also works for animation studios and always learning his trade.
There is a lot of art in this issue and more than enough to have your jaw dropping at their skill in different sections of the illustrating world.
(pub: The Book Palace. 98 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £18.00 (UK), $21.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-907081-39-2. ISSN: 2052-6520)
check out website: www.thebookpalace.com