Thursday, January 24, 2013

Illustrators #2: In review

Issue two of Illustrators is a warm welcome at this chilly time of year. This latest foray into the world of art—from its understated cover through 96 pages of stunning colour by some of the most talented artists in the world—is a delight.

Front and centre is David Wright, an artist whose work has been severely under-exposed for years. You might be forgiven for thinking that Wright is a closely guarded secret, revealed only to a handful of artists who cite him as an influence. Thankfully, the appearance of Carol Day on the internet in 2008 led to a widening of the small circle that knew about his talent. The website that promoted Wrights' famous Daily Mail strip was run by Roger Clark, who describes his discovery and devotion to the strip in this issue. The man behind the pen is the focus of a long and informative lead feature by Illustrators' editor Peter Richardson, compiled with the aid of Patrick and Paul Wright—David Wright's sons and both talented artists themselves. A third son, Nicky, was an occasional telephone pal of mine who would call up to chat about horror comics.

Wright was a major British pin-up artist of immense talent, so it is marvelous to see some of his earlier work displayed as well as rare sketches and roughs. News that there is a book focusing on his pin-up art in preparation is very welcome.

C. L. Doughty should need no introduction... but sadly he does. David Ashford romps through Doughty's years as an artist of swashbuckling comic strip and touches on his many years as an illustrator for Look and Learn. As the compiler of Pages From History, I'm well aware of Doughty's immense talents as an illustrator. Hopefully his appearance here will help spread the word wider that Doughty deserves to be better known.

Raymond Sheppard may be a recognised name but I have to admit that I knew very little about his background, a problem now fixed thanks to Norman Boyd's excellent biographical essay. From winning awards at the age of seven to turning freelance at 21, Sheppard's rise to stardom was accelerated by his talent for drawing animals. A meticulous researcher and a superb draughtsman, Sheppard died far too young, only 45 when he died in 1958.

The fourth and final feature is a look at the work on Renato Fratini. Although Italian, a lot of his work appeared in the UK, perhaps most famously on the film poster for From Russia With Love. Fratini was able to move effortlessly between posters, magazine illustrations and book covers, from bodice-rippers for Fontana Books to posters for Carry On movies. Fratini also died young, aged only 40.

John Watkiss describes how he approaches a colour sketch for The Walking Dead and there is a brief gallery of art by Jordi Penalva, plus reviews and letters. Another fine issue ... and we now have issue three to look forward to, with Fortunino Matania, Andy Virgil and Peter Maddocks in the line-up.

Illustrators #2 is available from Book Palace Books.


  1. When is Mr. Wright's pin up book coming out?

  2. Sirens: The Pin-Up Art of David Wright by Terry Parker is due for publication from Titan Books in August 2013.

  3. thanks, I'm definitely looking forward to getting it