Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Briggs for Readers to Digest

More mid-50's illustrations by Austin Briggs, courtesy of TI list member Tonci Zonjic, from an old Readers Digest Condensed Book:

TI list member Randy Ranson sent an interesting "visual comment" on yesterday's post. Randy writes:

"Here are a few visual comments on Austin Briggs illustrations as you have shown us today. I couldn't put them in the comments section, so I thought I may as well email them back to you."

"It's not that he did this exactly, but it is instructive food for thought."

Thanks to Randy for that interesting analysis. And many thanks to Tonci Zonjic for this week's great Sickles and Briggs scans -- be sure to visit his blog and check out Tonci's excellent work! The last four scans from this series will appear tomorrow.


  1. You are highlighting one of my all time favorite draftsman. Though he might have liked some to believe that he drew from life instead of photo reference, it is his mastery as draftsman that allows him to interpret what he sees with such strength, confidence and knowledge. The fashion might be dated, but this kind of hand never goes out of style.

  2. Thanks memi for that excellent point - hopefully this blog's many younger readers will take that to heart (and from the impressive work I see on so many blogs and on Flickr, I know they do). Among my circle of seasoned pro friends and acquaintences Briggs has our utmost respect - he is truly an inspiration to us all. :^)

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  4. Great stuff. Was Readers Digest still the same small size back in the 50's?

    Does anyone know how Briggs did those drawings? Did he draw them direct or did he some how piece them together? I know you can't erase charcoal or grease pencil (or whatever he was using).

  5. Does anyone know how Briggs did those drawings? Did he draw them direct or did he some how piece them together?

    He used an opaque projector to draw from reference, probably on tracing paper to put together his composition. Then this would go back in the projector to project on the surface used for the finished art.

  6. Thank you for the answer Harald.

    It's intersting that he was able to keep a spontaneous line using that process.

  7. Al Green5:08 PM

    Thanks for posting these. Austin Briggs compositions always catch the eye. The line is beautifully fluid and never overstated. Does anybody know which type of pencil he uses ? It looks like a chinagraph litho pen to me, but if anyone knows his technique better I'd be interested to know. I agree with Memi, you can tell he uses photographic reference, but what comes out the other side are very spontanious drawings which look part documentary & part drama.

  8. In picture number 5 surely its the black guy at the bar that is at the compositional pivot least as far as I can see.