Saturday, June 30, 2012

A mini-interview with David Ashford

David Ashford's book The Art of Denis McLoughlin is due to arrive back from the printers in July, so we're taking this opportunity to have a quick word with him about this amazing compilation of Denis's artwork.

When did you first become aware of Denis McLoughlin's work and how did it compare to the other artists you were seeing in comics at the time? Did you have any particular favourites from your childhood reading? 

I must have been about seven or eight when I first came across those delightful orange and green photogravure comics in Woolworths. My favourite was Roy Carson because he was completely drawn by someone called 'd.mcloughlin' (said so on the cover) – I also liked the Buffalo Bill issues but, unfortunately, only the cover was drawn by that artist. Imagine my delight when at school a boy brought in a copy of the first Buffalo Bill Annual – I couldn't believe it! All of it was drawn - and painted - by this man, McLoughlin! I didn't manage to get hold of a copy of that first annual until many years later, but the second one i made sure I was given as a birthday present and, from then on, I picked them up one way or another every year until it came to an end. I loved that annual, not only because it was so superbly designed but also because it was imbued with such an obvious love for the historical American West.

When did you first contact McLoughlin and how? When did you first meet him?

I first met Denis at Denis Gifford's first British Comicon in 1978  and we immediately got on and became great friends. I detail in the book and, particularly, in the first issue of Illustrators, our friendship and the way that it affected my life in a most positive way.

There was an explosion of interest in Denis's work in the early 1990s and a slew of little books appeared . . . How does the new book differ from those in its approach to McLoughlin?

This book, The Art of Denis McLoughlin, is, thanks to the work of designer/editor Peter Richardson, the ultimate tribute to the work of Denis McLoughlin. The book is a large size hardback of 272 pages. We have managed to secure absolutely stunning cover reproductions, many of which have only been seen by a very few collectors and all of them reproduced in full glowing colour! We were fortunate to obtain the involvement of a member of the McLoughlin family who had managed to rescue priceless photographs and original art (from a dilapidated garden shed!), which, in the case of the Woolwich Barracks mural drawings, have never been seen before. There are some fabulous images from the Buffalo Bill Annuals taken from actual artwork as well as colour roughs for two Western annual covers that never saw publication.

There are exhaustive indexes which attempt correctly to identify cover art by McLoughlin and point out those which have been erroneously ascribed to the Master. All the covers for the TVB hard-boiled paperbacks are reproduced - many from perfect printer's proofs which were held in the artist's collection. Scores of covers of McLoughlin's legendary Bloodhounds are reproduced, all of superb quality. McLoughlin's favourite Roy Carson strip is reproduced in it's entirety from proof sheets supplied by the artist himself as well as examples of his roughs and correspondence to the writer.

I think I can say without fear of contradiction that this must be the most exciting, the most colourful and the most comprehensive book ever published on a single British illustrator. 

What more do I need to say apart from this: order your copy today because there's only going to be 950 of 'em!

Order your copy directly from Book Palace Books. Denis McLoughlin is also featured in Illustrators #1.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our Next Project

With both the first issue of Illustrators and our Art of Denis McLoughlin book currently being printed we thought it was time to give readers a sneak preview of our next major project. As some of you will know we have wanted to publish Frank Bellamy's work on Heros the Spartan for some time. This classic strip from the pages of the legendary Eagle comic stands equal to the best comics art from around the world. To do justice to the quality of the material we are aiming for very high production values. If by chance you have never seen the late great Frank Bellamy's work on Heros here are a few panels, the large battle scene at the bottom is taken from a page of original art which is a wonder to behold. There will be more to follow, keep watching these pages.

Best Regards, Dave.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Coming Atcha!!!

As visitors to the Cloud 109 blog are only too aware, your old Blogmeister has been conspicuous by his absence of late. Impervious to pangs of conscience, his keyboard has remained out of action at least as regards the cybernetic activity required to satiate the desires of some of his most loyal readers.

Has this man got no conscience?

Well actually he has and I have been feeling varying degrees of guilt but I comfort myself with the thought that it's all for a good cause.

And the good cause is nearly upon us as Illustrators Issue 1 along with The Art of Denis McLoughlin are currently being printed and bound and will be hitting these shores come August.

So here as a taster is the cover to The Art of Denis McLoughlin, plus the cover and some interior spreads from issue 1 of Illustrators.

And I think those of you who want to try this first issue out will agree (well I am hoping fervently that you will agree) Illustrators is going to be an ever better substitute for a daily blog - not to mention The Art of Denis McLoughlin, which finally does this amazing artist the justice he so richly deserves by providing a definitive collection of his work with accompanying text by the late artist along with a wonderful memoire and critical appreciation by his friend and biographer David Ashford.

The book also includes check lists of all those killer diller Bloodhound hardboiled fiction covers along with glowing reproductions of scores of covers most of which have not been seen by more then a few of his most devoted fans. Whilst his Buffalo Bill Annuals might well be reasonably familiar to a lot of collectors, there are few who have seen all his TVB noir paperback covers. Within the pages of this book you will see all of the TVB Paperback covers painted by McLoughlin, along with some really early Bloodhounds. There is discussion of his techniques and reproductions including full size details of some truly stunning originals.

McLoughlin is also the lead feature in the debut issue of Illustrators along with an interview with Ian Kennedy looking back on his over half century of working as one of this country's premier illustrators and comic strip artists, with features on the Spanish artist and doyen of romantic illustration Angel Badia Camps and Parisian artist Cheri Herouard adding further luster to the proceedings. A beautifully instructive essay by Mick Brownfield takes you behind the scenes of one of the artist's most iconic Radio Times Christmas covers.

We have got the most fantastic team of contributors on board and over coming months you can look forward to features by the artist and writer David Roach, writers David Ashford Norman Boyd and Gary Lovisi, ex Fleet Street Art Editor Bryn Havord, the writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley and host of the amazing Carol Day website and David Wright specialist Roger Clark to name but a few.

All in all perhaps not such a bad trade off after all.

We hope you will join us for the ride.

We will be giving you a sneak preview of issue 2 shortly.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Art of Denis McLoughlin 
Illustrators #1 Ready To Print

I hope everyone enjoyed the recent Diamond Jubilee holiday weekend. As much as I enjoyed waving my plastic Union Jack it was great to find that on getting back to the Batcave, er, sorry I mean the office, I found that the digital proofs of David Ashford's marvellous The Art of Denis McLoughlin and Illustrators issue one had arrived from the printers. Editor Peter Richardson has spent the last 72 hours giving the material a final tweak before sending them back to Honk Kong with a green light to start printing.

Just as a reminder here's the new improved cover for illustrators 1. We decided  to go with this image as we felt it encapsulated the noir feel McLoughlin strove got in his T.V. Boardman crime work.

I would be remiss if I didn't try and further whet your appetite for Illustrators 1 by mentioning the feature on Angel Badia Camps by our friend David A. Roach.

 What McLoughlin did for Hard Boiled detectives and Ian Kennedy for air warfare, Camps did for Romance and Fashion with his deliciously hip (and now chic retro) styling.

 Mind you he could turn his hand to the gothic

 and draw a good "Sam Spade"

as these sneak previews readily show.
David's article is packed with hitherto little known information on this Spanish great.
Your support on these two projects is greatly appreciated Illustrators 1 is available for pre-order here with an option for a four issue subscription saving postage in the UK and The Art of Denis McLoughlin here.
Check back soon for more updates on the progress of these two publications and perhaps a sneak preview of Illustrators issue 2 which is almost completed as I type.
Have a great weekend, Regards, Dave