Friday, May 18, 2012

WIlliam Meade Prince: A Word or Two About the Technique

By Guest Author Tony Gleeson

A word or two about my interest in those toned paper drawings: this was a technique that was popularly taught by several of the old-school instructors at Art Center College of Design when I attended in the early 70s.


We would use charcoal pencil and white Prismacolor pencil on toned paper to work from models. It was a good technique to teach the study of tonal values and to develop judgment of spotting lights and darks against a middle tone.


Some of those instructors could create mind-boggling examples on the spot to demonstrate as they lectured. I suppose it was considered an outdated technique mostly good for student studies, and may have been regarded as such for many decades earlier.


It might also have been considered problematic for early reproduction processes-- I'm not sure.


Prince certainly used it to maximum effect in the 1930s and '40s.


William Meade Prince published a memoir of his youth, entitled The Southern Part of Heaven, in 1950, and was married to stage actress Lillian Hughes Prince.


The University of North Carolina apparently possesses an extensive archive of papers and correspondence from both of them.


WIlliam Meade Prince died in 1951.

Addendum: Curtis Publishing gives a nice overview of WM Prince's traditional Rockwellian covers on their SEP blog.

* Tony Gleeson is a freelance illustrator. Since 1974 he has created finished art for the book, editorial and advertising industries as well as character design and concept art for gaming, film, television and theme parks. He lives in Southern California.

* The reddish-toned scan in today's post is courtesy of Eric Bowman.

* The original art scan (and details) at the end of today's post are courtesy of Heritage Auctions


  1. What great work! These drawings would stand up just fine against those of Rembrandt, etc.

    Marvelous! Thanks for reminding me once again why this is the ONLY blog I subscribe to.

  2. Tony Gleeson12:40 PM

    Just one example of how far back goes the toned-paper with heightened lights, there's Dürer's famous praying hands:

  3. Where the light hits!

    Just bright drawing power! What a toned exactness in tracing all those contours of life.

    Three dimensions on a two-dimensioned paper board.

  4. Thanks for a great series, Tony! And for the insight. Awesome job this week.

  5. Tony Gleeson12:38 AM

    Steven, thanks for the kind comment. I was delighted to come on board with Leif this week, and share our mutual enthusiasm (that goes for all of you!)

  6. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Eric Kennington is another artist who regularly used this technique.


  7. has a wonderful illustration congratulations

  8. i like.. really cool

    best regards from NY

  9. Hi, your artworks are wonderful!