Friday, April 29, 2011

Brian Sanders: "... five decades in the illustrative arts"

Today, guest author Bryn Havord concludes his article on English illustrator Brian Sanders.

The early colour supplements produced in Britain gave illustrators excellent shop windows for their work.


This series, in the prestigious Sunday Times Magazine featured the best shots made by ten great tennis players. The art director was Michael Rand.


Michael Rand also commissioned Brian to paint a series of cars used in fiction. The Aston Martin used in Ian Fleming's James Bond book was an MK3, rather than the DB4 used in the film. Brian used his own Aston Martin DB3 for the illustration.


Artist/Illustrator Roger Coleman, an old friend of Brian’s – they shared a studio at Artist Partners – kindly portrayed Goldfinger for this illustration below.


The series led to Brian being commissioned to paint the illustration for the book cover shown below. I especially liked the way Brian used the windscreen to show Lord Montagu's house, Beaulieu Abbey, as a reflection.


Below, this painting of Cleopatra, together with a painting of Ophelia, were commissioned as Shakespeare for Schools posters, published by The Sunday Times,.


During World War Two Brian, together with thousands of other children living in London, was evacuated to the countryside to protect them from Hitler’s bombing campaign, and Brian was sent to Saffron Walden, a charming market town in north Essex, where he and Lizzie now live nearby in an Elizabethan house.

His most recently published book is: Evacuee: A Wartime Childhood, the first in a biographic trilogy. It quotes him as saying; “I always wanted to be an artist and I’m still trying”.


It is a brilliantly written and illustrated book, evoking the atmosphere of wartime Britain. I was also a child at the time, living in a different part of Essex from Brian, and his book brought back so many memories of a strange and threatening time, but also a time of great joy and fascination. The adult view at the time was that the American GIs were “Overpaid, oversexed and over here”, and indeed many of them were a source of interest to many of the young British females. They were definitely of interest to many of us young boys with their stories of life in America and in the US forces; their chewing gum and chocolate were pretty good as well!

* Evacuee: A Wartime Childhood is available from price £7.99, plus postage. Payment by PayPal.

* Many thanks to Brian and Bryn for an interesting and inspiring week! Bryn has promised to follow up in the next couple of months with a further look at Brian's work post-1970 ~ Leif


  1. The tennis illustrations are just wonderful! Thanks for sharing

  2. Brian Sanders1:21 PM

    Thank you all for your kind comments. I regret that there are no ready made prints of work shown, but Giclées could be arranged for some individual pieces. Yours Brian