Monday, February 09, 2009
Austin Briggs: "The discovery of self"
Austin Briggs is up in the first ranks of the illustration army. He didn't arrive with any dazzling rain of fireworks; his technique is not spectacular; he has no particular tricks of display, but his fellow illustrators look at his pictures with great respect and predict a steady expansion of his abilities.
And the reading public has a solid regard for his work, a regard that is not an overnight enthusiasm but one that has grown slowly but with certainty over a span of years.
Behind the Briggs pictures are more than two decades of hard work and constant striving for improvement. They are the result of much patient building and some rebuilding. They sum up a long accumulation of experience, a gradual sharpening of technique and a dogged pursuit of self. Briggs spent a good many years looking for himself and, once the search was rewarded, he became the illustrator we know today.
He was in the big magazines as far back as 1927, but he was not certain of his own viewpoint. He thought too little of his own personal approach and too much of other personalities in the field.
The discovery of self took time, but the story of it carries a message to those who are embarked on the same search.
Excerpted from the October 1950 issue of American Artist magazine, written by Henry C. Pitz
* My Austin Briggs Flickr set.