Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Neil Boyle's "Hansel & Gretel"

Thanks to everyone yesterday for sharing anecdotes, information and links to - and about - James Neil Boyle. I've never had such a fast and thorough response to any illustrator I've showcased. Its great to know that Boyle has had such a positive impact on so many illustrators who studied under him - or who simply appreciate his work.

Most of the Neil Boyle artwork I've found over the last few years has been album cover art. Today, a really remarkable thrift store treasure: not only did Boyle illustrate the cover of Disney Productions 1969 children's album, "Hansel & Gretel", he also did all the artwork for a read-along storybook stapled inside. Below, the entire series of images, from start to finish.


* My James Neil Boyle Flickr set


  1. I met Neil after he had gone into gallery painting. He was quite a character all right, a throw back from the frontier days of the old west, and that was his chosen subject matter.. bar rooms, brothels and dance hall girls. Of course, I knew of his outstanding illustrations, even back when I left art school. He was an inspiration, a West Coast illustrator that was making a strong showing in the national market, by 1963. The illustration for "Boys & Girls Together" from yesterday's post, was one of my favorites.. so loose, yet accurate drawing, and the tilted point of view gives a dynamic energy to the composition. I would venture to say that Fuchs and Peak had considerable influence over his work, and why not. On the other hand, I think he gave it his personal touch, and found his own direction.

    He could have taught at any of the big name art schools, but didn't agree with their approach in teaching illustration. Neil was never at a loss in expressing his feelings and opinions. And, what he had to say was humorous and clever and intertaining, but also intelligent.

    An interesting choice this week, Leif.

    Tom Watson

  2. This isn't an anomaly-- there were lots of albums my dad illustrated using a storybook format--Treasure Island, Island at The Top of the World--The Great Presidents, The Parent Trap, In Search of the Castaways--heck, I can't remember them all. Many were for Disney. I and a friend modeled for a lot of them. Great fun.

    One of your commentators said Dad lacked something in the draftsmanship department. He'd have been glad to hear that--didn't hold much truck with draftsmen in art.