Beautiful, inspiring drawings are all around us, often escaping notice because we don't take the time to really look.
I discovered these wonderful ink line drawings by Frank Lacano in a bunch of science booklets for sale at a local thrift store. I paid 25 cents a piece for the booklets - but the work by Lacano is invaluable. They reveal so much about good design, composition and technique... and Lacano teaches as much by what he chose to leave out as by what he chose to put into each illustration.
Because these booklets are from 1971, I might be pushing the parameters of the vintage era Today's Inspiration covers (afterall, I was a kid in 1971 and I'm hardly vintage... am I? Oh no...)
But Lacano had long been a master of the ink line drawing-with-spot-colour style of illustration by the time he did these pieces. He had done similar work two and three decades earlier for the likes of Reader's Digest and Coronet magazine.
I have a special fondness for this type of work... its an approach to illustration that was popular with pulp and digest magazines in the 40's and 50's -- publications that used poorer printing methods and cheaper paper. Its a shame that its not used more today because, as you can see here, the effect can be quite striking. In many ways, more striking than full colour.
Lacano makes it look easy -- but the artist must decide which elements will be line and which will be shape - and how the combination will most effectively create an entire picture that not only defines its elements but also creates the illusion of mood and lighting - and without the benefit of local colour. Its a fun challenge, but anyone who's tried it will tell you how difficult it is to do really successfully.
As though that weren't enough, Lacano embues his inking style with an exciting character and energy - well worth examining at closer range. Why not do so... take a look at the largest size versions of these images in my Frank Lacano Flickr set.