Friday, October 30, 2009

Walter Wyles: "...something out of the ordinary"

Guest author: Bryn Havord

George (Tiny) Watts the art director of Woman was keen to encourage Wally to push the boundaries and work in different styles for different assignments. This Elizabethan woman with her hands held in prayer was part of an eight or ten part period serial done for Woman around 1961.

Wally did these science fiction and fantasy covers in the mid 1970s.

He did about four in total and enjoyed doing them.

Throughout his career, clients could usually rely on Wally to do something out of the ordinary...

... sometimes we got more than we expected!

During his career he had been privileged to paint HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and other prominent members of the Royal Family...

... and he started to accept a growing number of portrait commissions.

He was also working as an easel painter producing landscapes in oil and watercolour.

However, a series of heart attacks resulted in an enforced period of convalescence and he drastically reduced his work commitments.

In 2004, his wife Margaret wrote a book using some of her late mother’s letters, featuring her early life as a young girl in a remote village in west Wales. Wyles was commissioned to produce the illustration for the cover. When it was published the Welsh Book Council made it their Book of the Month. (Love from Blodwen. By Margaret Wyles. Seren. ISBN 1-85411-359-3).

Wyles who is now eighty-four, continues to paint every day, and still accepts the occasional portrait commission.

* Many thanks to guest author Bryn Havord for this week's excellent presentation on Walter Wyles! In the late 50s and early 60s Bryn was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published in the UK. During that time he commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry Fancett. Walter Wyles remains his oldest and closest friend.

* Personal photographs © Peter Mullett.

* My Walter Wyles Flickr set.


  1. These are just gorgeous!!!! What incredible versatility!!!

  2. I guess Wyles' illos and paintings might look dated and academic to the pop culture avant-garde crowd, but I second Joe Jusko's comment.. and add that "gorgeous" is ageless. The English spartan art school training that Robert Fawcett and others that I have read about, comes through in Wyles strong draftsmanship and craftsmanship. My first illustration teacher told us students, "If you learn to draw and paint the human head well, you can draw and paint anything well".. Wyles is another great example of that. Innovation and creativity is only as good as the academic skill behind it.

    Tom Watson

  3. What a fabulous week of art. My favourite was the watercolour of the characters in the pub - spectacular !
    Thanks so much for the introduction to this amazing illustrator.

  4. Lovely work!The women's faces are exquisite.His range of styles and color is fun also. It's a lively assortment of paintings,and the story of Wyle's career through the decades was very interesting.

  5. Walter Wyles - another great illustrator.

    The watercolor of the characters in the pub is my very favourite too. Just look at W.W's mastery of grey-umber-and-what-not-tones. That would be! But beyond that, the design, the white spaces and all. Wow once more.

    He even had the honour of portraying the Royal Family. Prince Charles seems to be part of it.

  6. Hi,
    Nice collection of pictures. I like it.Thanks for posting...