My usual page flick of the latest issue of ‘Illustrators’ quickly revealed that it this isn’t a normal edition. If anything, it’s darn right cartoony.
Hardly surprising when the opener is ‘Mad’ caricature artist Mort Drucker. Over the years, you’ve probably seen his art but not put a name to his drew them. Drucker was self-taught but heavily practiced to get things like hands right. Even more remarkable, he doesn’t rely on a lot of photos to get what he needs, mostly because they don’t provide the poses he needed. I’ve done a little caricature myself and you really do have to work to capture what people most associate with recognising people, like shapes of noses, ears and so forth. Drucker takes it one step further with body language. Seeing the examples here, not to mention the detail of the background characters reveals just how much of an art this is.
By far the biggest section I’ve seen devoted to any artist in ‘Illustrators’ is to Mexican artist Ernesto García ‘El Chango’ Cabral (1890-1968). Then again, we see few Mexican artists and Cabral could turn his hand to anything from caricature to serious artist and simplify his lines to the limitations of printing. When you see how he drew the back of a knee with its tendons placed correctly to what was printed, you’ll know he knew his anatomy. A sharp reminder that artists need to be versatile and adaptable to those who employ them. There is an odd SF connection as he once did a caricature of HG Wells.
The look at the early Puffin Books covers turned out more interesting than I thought when up popped the seven volume covers of Narnia that I still own to this day. It is to editor Eleanor Graham that we owe for selecting them and getting Pauline Baynes, the interior artist, to paint them.
There’s also a look and brief interview with ‘Illustrators’ editor Peter Richardson and his day job. On top of this, we see some digital art by Katyuli Lloyd who uses a less colourful palate. Finally, a remembrance for artist John Watkiss, who at 55 dies and far too young.
In many respects, the art in this issue speaks for itself. If you aren’t looking at the art, then you’ll certainly be laughing at the gags associated with them. This might not be a typical issue of ‘Illustrators’ but I applaud them for doing something different.
(pub: The Book Palace. 98 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £18.00 (UK), $21.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-907081-40-8. ISSN: 2052-6520)
check out website: www.thebookpalace.com