Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1001 Riddles by George Carlson

I wrote about 1001 Riddles for Children in one of my studio tour entries, noting that it was one of my favorite books from childhood -- and in searching through my storage boxes, I discovered I had an extra copy -- so I'll be letting one of them go -- but not before sharing some of the illustrations with you.

I'd guess that most comics fans first heard of George Carlson from Harlan Ellison's essay about him and his Jingle Jangle Comics in All in Color for a Dime -- but I knew of Carlson from the beat-up crayon-marked copy of this book that was part of my childhood library. That particular copy is long gone -- but it seems I replaced it in my collection twice! This copy does have a dust jacket -- but the art on that is not by Carlson -- so never mind about that.

It seems Carlson's best known work is the spot illustration for the original dust jacket of Gone With the Wind (yes, that Gone With the Wind) -- but for me, he'll always be the guy who drew the dozens of illos for this fun children's book. What's shown here is just a sampling -- there are multiple illos on nearly every page!

As for the riddles -- well, they're not as memorable as the drawings, but I do like this one: What does an artist like to draw most? Answer: His salary!

So on that note, here are a whole bunch of illustrations by the wacky and wonderful George Carlson. I do so love that laughing parrot! Enjoy!

"Everlasting Health and Strength" by Charles Atlas

Despite divesting myself of pretty much a room full of stuff before making the move from the Twin Cities to our new digs in the Kansas City area, the general consensus here is that I still have too much stuff! My studio shelves are as packed full as they can be -- and the back room in the basement has shelf after shelf of my unbuilt (or half-built!) model kits -- and too many boxes of stuff that is just stored away.

So -- I'm going through all this material and pulling things to sell (most will likely go on eBay), and as I do, I'm finding some things that I think would be fun to share on my blog. One of those items is this 1954 Charles Atlas booklet. If you are of a certain age and grew up reading comic books, you no doubt recall the comic strip "Insult that made a man out of Mac" ad for Atlas' body building course that seemed to run in just about every comic book published. It's seen here as the back cover of this little booklet -- but with an alternate title.

No matter how many times I saw that ad, I never sent away for more info -- but if you did contact Atlas back in '54, I guess this is what you'd have received in return. I suppose plenty of kids reading the adventures of their favorite super-heroes dreamed about being built like those heroes. I just wanted to learn how to draw them.

Anyhow -- enjoy reading this remarkable little booklet (click on the pics for larger versions) -- and if, when you're done, you want to try out Atlas' methods for yourself, the company is still in business! You can order the classic Charles Atlas "Dynamic Tension" bodybuilding course at Hey -- it only takes 15 minutes a day!

Assorted original artwork

I'm sorting through my art files, looking for pieces to include in a "sketchbook" I'm putting together -- and also to sell on eBay. Here's a batch I've just put up for grabs (seller ID: beattylee) -- and I thought I'd share them here on my blog as well.

The first three pieces were done at a Twin Cities Dr. Sketchy's session. The first two drawn rather quickly, as these were short poses -- but I think they turned out nicely -- and the whole roller derby fight thing is amusing. The third in this set is a more finished piece in pencil and ink -- and is one of two drawings from this session done in that method (the other not shown here). The loose ink line here was the inspiration for the "sketchy" drawing style I later used in drawing the Return to Perdition graphic novel (now set for publication in November of this year).

As always, you can click on the pics for a larger view.

Also from Dr. Sketchy's is this series of quick poses of a belly dancer model. I enjoy capturing the gesture/pose quickly in these sessions -- and often am quite pleased with how the multiple images work together on one piece of paper.
Here's a page of preliminary pencil sketches for the Monsterwax Shock Stories trading cards. I drew these prelims at print size and enlarged them for inking. Of these nine cards, three saw considerable changes before print. The others are very close to the final images.

This is the pencil prelim for the miniature sideshow banner print that was included with my boxed sets of resin "Freaks and Oddities" figures. Again, this was done print size, and then enlarged for the final painted version. I'd wanted to do a second (and maybe third) set of these, but have not had enough of a response to justify the hefty investment of time, work and money -- darn it. I do still have a few boxed sets and some individual figures, should anyone want them.

Vampirella was supposed to be a commission -- but the buyer had to back out before finalizing the purchase. I usually take the money up front before beginning the work -- but for some reason, I'd pencilled this before getting payment. I recently inked and colored the piece, as I just couldn't leave it unfinished.

In the early 1980's, I drew several dozen covers for Alan Light's weekly fanzine, The Buyers Guide for Comic Fandom. Most of those originals were sold long ago -- but I'd held on to these three as they were particular favorites. But the time has come to let them go -- and in fact, the Halloween cover is already sold.

The 3D cover was done the old-fashioned way -- just as 3D comics were done in the 1950's. There are four layers of inked art on acetate, with the back of the images whited out with paint. The deepest level, the background, is on standard bristol board. Each of these layers were shifted a bit to the right -- or left -- to create the red and green plates needed for print. The print version turned out quite well -- though it wouldn't have, had I not supervised the printing myself -- as the printers had not trusted my notes, and were set to use a deep blue ink, instead of the blue/green that works much better for 3D.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this little look through my art files. I'll be posting more eventually, so please do come back soon!