Friday, January 12, 2007

The Many Techniques of James R. Bingham

Some illustrators, like Jon Whitcomb, build successful careers by doing the same thing really well over and over again. Others, like Al Parker, rarely seem to use the same approach twice - inspiring the entire industry with their fearless experimentation.

James R. Bingham wasn't a Whitcomb - but he wasn't a Parker either. On Monday I talked about how I got the sense that within the range of his style, Bingham was not afraid to try something new. Take a look at the tremendous variety of approaches shown here:

Whether it was his best known painting style...

or this scrubby, topic-appropriate painting (or is it pencil crayon?) technique,

whether it was one of his many different approaches to line art...

...or this startlingly loose, experimental painting technique,

James R. Bingham never failed to evoke a sense of freshness and fun, often surprising the viewer with yet another variation on the theme.

If you have yet to do so, today is the day to take a few moments to go through my James R. Bingham Flickr set and enjoy this top-notch versatile illustrator's range of styles.


  1. Killer post! The drawing & rendering on these pieces is top notch. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Leif:

    Not only have you expored the work of an illustrator in superb depth; you've also placed him in context -- & I think you got Bingham just right.

    The fact that you could find fantastic work like this in a weekly magazine makes me long for the days when people actually took the time to appreciate the unfolding of a story in print. Bingham's B&W work is so beautifully designed, but not at the expense of accurate draughtsmanship.

    His depiction of Perry Mason is fascinating, too -- in the story dated 1958, Mason appears younger & somewhat leaner than the Raymond Burr influenced figure shown in the stories dated after 1960.

    Fantastic post, Leif!

  3. Hey - thanks so much, guys!


    Its so true - those must have been very gratifying times to be an illustrator. Not only was the pay great, but the status was undoubtedly quite a nice ego boost.

    Bingham is one of those artists I think has slipped under the radar - but the reaction to this week's posts tells me I was correct in showcasing him.

  4. great post Leif!