Guest author Peter Richardson invites us to look at some pages of the newly launched illustrators, a quarterly magazine celebrating the greatest UK and European illustration of the past 150 years.
(Above: The cover of the first issue of illustrators - out now folks!)
The publication has been a long time in reaching fruition: the idea stemmed from a series of discussions I had with publisher Geoff West, the owner of Book Palace Books. I had produced a couple of art books with Geoff, which had been very well received, and we were brain-storming somewhat along the lines of, “wouldn’t it be great if we had the time and resources to produce great art books on all the illustrators we love”. We didn't have the time or resources to produce additional specialist books about individual illustrators, which is how the idea for the magazine originated.
(Above: A spread from our lead feature on the incredible ‘art noir’ illustration of Denis McLoughlin, which was penned by his friend and biographer David Ashford.)
We decided to produce a quality magazine, featuring four or five illustrators an issue, with the memories and stories of the artists, and how their work came into being, during what was the start of, and latterly, a renaissance for the printed image. Our intention is that the magazine should become the most comprehensive reference work on the world's greatest illustrators. It was Geoff who suggested a quarterly publication as being a really effective way to circumvent some of the hurdles, and very importantly, allowing us to share artist’s work which probably would never be examined in any other format.
We had seen what Dan Zimmer had achieved in his excellent Illustration quarterly, and knew that we could achieve similar results with our publication, which, in contrast to Dan’s, focuses on work from Europe and the UK. So we have a clearly defined editorial mission statement: To feature the greatest UK and European illustration of the last 150 years, as well as the occasional article showing some of the best of American illustration.
Our first issue leads with a feature on the work of Denis McLoughlin - whose illustrations you've been enjoying so far in this post. McLoughlin was one of the UK’s greatest purveyors of ‘noir-style’ book jackets. His work, in it’s handling of lighting and cityscapes, is reminiscent of Edward Hopper, but in addition, he was a consummate designer, whose dedication to his craft was such that he treated the lettering of all his covers as an integral part of the image, and as such his work retained a unity of purpose that none of his contemporaries could hope to achieve.
We also look at the work of Ian Kennedy, one of the UK’s foremost boy’s fiction cover artists.
Kennedy's love of aeronautics has informed so much of the work he has produced over the last sixty years.
(Wherever possible we try and access high quality scans of original artwork as this example above of a wrap around Commando cover by Kennedy demonstrates.)
We also have a feature article by David Roach on the fabulous 1960s romance art of Spanish illustrator Angel Badia Camps...
(Badia Camps was one of a group of incredibly talented Spanish artists, whose work was regularly featured in UK and US magazines throughout the 1960s and 1970s.)
... and going further back to the dawn of the last century, we look at the delightfully coy eroticism of the Parisian illustrator Cheri Herouard.
Bringing us back to the here and now, one of the UK’s highest profile illustrators; Mick Brownfield shares some studio secrets, when he reveals how he set about creating one of his most memorable Christmas covers for Radio Times covers.
Our first issue is now on sale, and I am pleased to say that the response has been far more positive than even our most optimistic projections had allowed for. However, we are by no means complacent: it is our intention that each issue of illustrators should be strong, distinctive and memorable, so that the reader’s’ expectations are not only met, but exceeded. To this end, we are trying to avoid the pitfalls of becoming too closely identified with any particular genre of illustration, and hopefully this will become apparent as illustrators gets into it’s stride.
You can order illustrators magazine at illustratorsquarterly.com