Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

Rassenfosse Book-Plate

Friday, 4 June 2010

A stereotype ex libris book-plate that I got to-day: woman, wearing sandals but otherwise nude, reading book while sitting on plinth, between the front paws of a sphinx This image is by Andre Louis Armand Rassenfosse (1862 – 1934). I've had an eye out for one of this particular design for quite a while.


Friday, 26 March 2010

This stereotype ex libris book-plate [image of woman, naked but for shoes and a hat, straddling a book] would probably not be of much interest to me except that it was designed by Karel Šimůnek (1869 – 1942), the very same artist who did this lithographic book-plate [image of young woman reading on couch, in an early 20th-Century undergarment, stockings, and one red shoe] a copy of which I acquired on 16 July.

I prefer the lithograph, in part because what the woman in the stereotype appears to be doing cannot be good for the book. And, while raised bands on the spine of a book might have peculiar užitečnost to a nemrava, they were an artefact of better-quality book-binding (though sometimes false bands are used to counterfeit such book-binding), and hence of what may be expected to be a more valuable volume.

Keep going! Keep going! Keep going!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

By way of an entry in Gaal's LJ, I was led to Eric, a story by Shaun Tan, as reproduced by the Guardian. On the strength of the story and of what I read in reviews, I ordered three of Tan's books:

And, after reading The Arrival and Tales from Outer Suburbia (The Red Tree came last), I ordered

[cover image of The Red Tree]The Red Tree (2001) doesn't tell a story. It is a sequence of metaphors for depression, concluding with the expression of a principle of hope. The focal character is a little red-headed girl, and the metaphors are written at a level that a depressive child should be able to understand. I don't believe the particular message of hope, and so I very much doubt that I would offer this book to a depressed child. But if one wants to offer the message that things will surely get better to a despondent child, then this book might be an appropriate device. Otherwise, adults can appreciate the quality of the pictures.

[cover image of The Arrival][cover image of Emigrantes]The Arrival (2006) is the most impressive of these five books, and one that I very strongly recommend for adults. It is the tale of a stranger come to a strange land — so strange to him that he cannot read the local script. To communicate that loss of communication, the story is told without words for the reader either; once past the title page, there are no words beyond the Roman numbering of chapters and whatever is said in that mysterious script. I'd far rather that you experienced the story as it was designed, so I will resist the temptation to reveal more to you. I will tell you that not only should this not be simply classified as a children's book, but that I think that a younger child should not go through this book for the first time without an adult beside him or her.

BTW, you can get this virtually wordless book as translated into Spanish if you wish. (And, apparently, there was some concern that El Llegado or somesuch would be too subtle a title.)

[cover image of Tales from Outer Suburbia][cover image of American edition of Tales from Outer Suburbia]

Tales from Outer Suburbia (2008) is a heavily illustrated anthology of short fiction — Eric is taken from it — such that the styles of the illustrations vary with the stories. The stories are not uniformly as marvelous as is The Arrival, but Outer Suburbia is still an outstanding book, which I again recommend. In my opinion, the best of the stories is the very last, night of the turtle rescue; it is very short but very powerful. Most of the stories are suitable for younger children, but it would concern me to have a younger child reading stick figures or wake on his or her own.

[cover image of The Haunted Playground]The Haunted Playground (1998) is essentially a ghost story for children reading at about third-grade level. I’d guess that it’s about 11000 words, with about ten pen-and-ink interior illustrations by Tan. (The cover is by David Pulmbo.)

The Lost Thing (2000), which arrived yester-day, seems to have slipped out-of-print since I ordered it.[1] [cover image of Tales from Outer Suburbia] In any case, is about the discovery of an enormous, lost creature by a boy, told from the perspective of that boy. Not only do most people not recognize the creature’s condition of being lost; they don’t even recognize the existence of the creature (in spite of its size) until someone directs their attention to it. When the boy does this with his parents, they can see it only long enough to insist that it be sent away. Although Tan has provided some interpretation of the story at his website, he actively resisted including any with the book itself.

While I cannot as strongly recommend The Lost Thing as I do The Arrival or Tales from Outer Suburbia, it can be appreciated both by adults and by children. And I don’t think that one need be right at the elbow of a younger child when he or she first reads it, as opposed to Arrival and to Outer Suburbia. The Lost Thing, BTW, is being made into a short, animated film.

[1 (2023:02/20)] On 8 April 2010, a paperback edition of Lost Thing was released.


Friday, 17 July 2009

Here's a lithographic ex libris book-plate that I got yester-day: [image of young woman reading on couch, in an early 20th-Century undergarment, stockings, and one red shoe] The artist is Karel Šimůnek (1869 – 1942), and the plate is from 1925. The image is about 106mm (4.2in) × 100mm (3.9in).

Erotic Masterpiece

Thursday, 2 July 2009

I got a print the other day of what I think will someday be regarded as a significant masterpiece of Twenty-First Century Erotica:

[mixed media work by Carolyn Weltman]
image used with kind permission of artist
He's All Mine by Carolyn Weltman

The print that I got is giclée;[1] the original is in graphite, gesso, watercolour crayon, and nail enamel. Intermediate between simple reproductions and the original, Weltman has also embellished some giclée reproductions; these can be found at Art @ Large and at Artbreak.

Ms Weltman mailed the print, well packaged, to me on the same morning that I'd ordered it.

Weltman's work has been featured or otherwise exhibited in various museums and art shows, and anthologized in collections such as World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today v 2. She's provided illustrations for magazines articles and books, including The Mammoth Book of Kama Sutra by Maxim Jakubowski.[2]

Weltman's own site is sophi's grand empire She also has a presence on

[1] Giclée /ʒiːˈkleɪ/ reproduces an image, from digitized form, using a high-quality ink-jet printer and archival inks.

[2] I just have to hope that this book does not concern the sexual congress of furry elephants.

The Batman

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

In 1992, Tim Burton made a movie, Batman Returns, in which his alleged Batman sees a woman fall from a ledge on a building. The supposed Batman waddles to the edge, looks over, and watches her fall to her death.

If the actual Batman sees a woman tossed from a building ['Moon of the Wolf' pg3 panel 3] then he immediately jumps after her ['Moon of the Wolf' pg3 panel 4] pushes off something because she's been accelerating under gravity ['Moon of the Wolf' pg3 panels 5 and 6] and figures-out what he'll do on the way down ['Moon of the Wolf' pg3 panel 6] because he's the g_dd_mn'd Batman, when there's no hope…

…except him.

Moon of the Wolf, by Len Wein, Neal Adams, and Dick Giordano, from Batman #255 (April 1974), is reproduced at a Grantbridge Street entry for 18 May.

For he is the Man of the Hidden Face!!!

Monday, 20 April 2009

While I'm trying to get readers to visit the Pictorial Arts I'd like to point to a specific pair of entries, The Great Comic Book Heroes part 1 and part 2, from 9 February.

It was in Jules Feiffer's book, The Great Comic Book Heroes, that Buchanan and later I first encountered an untitled story by Will Eisner earlier published in the spring of 1941. Buchanan writes It showed me what comics could be. My reäction had been much the same. I'd seen some awfully good comic book art before I saw this story — Steranko's three issues of Captain America come immediately to-mind — but I'd just never seen anything like this. My sense of what a comic book could be was deeply changed.

(Later, I found more stories by Eisner, and discovered to my great dismay that Eisner had given the character of the Spirit a black side-kick who was depicted in a profoundly racist manner. I'm glad that that side-kick didn't appear in this story, so that my first exposure to work of such quality wasn't blighted.)

The Pictorial Arts

Monday, 20 April 2009

Last year, I posted a 'blog entry recommending that my readers visit Golden Age Comic Book Stories, where are found not just golden age comic book stories, but more generally a great many wonderful examples of the art of illustration.

By way of Golden Age Comic Book Stories, I've been led to another 'blog, the Pictorial Arts, to which I also want to give a strong recommendation. Like Golden Age Comic Book Stories, the Pictorial Arts features many examples of outstanding illustration. The Pictorial Arts differs in various respects. Most strikingly, its owner, Thomas Haller Buchanan, writes something of what the illustrations (and often the illustrators themselves) have meant to him, the rôle that they have played in his life.

Buchanan is himself a professional artist of superior ability; one gets to see some of his work

[portrait in chalk by THB]
image used with kind permission of artist
at another of his 'blogs, People Skills. At the Pictorial Arts he says little about that ability or about that work, but instead writes about work of other artists that he has found compelling, from the time that he was a small child up to the present. One may see not what he can produce, but that he could and can see as an illustrator would, and what he saw and sees that made him aspire to become an artist himself.

One of the things that I respect about Buchanan is that he posts about the work that he appreciates, regardless of its social standing. But what has me actually following his the Pictorial Arts is that I like so much of the work to which he directs attention. Some of it is by artists whom I have long admired; in some cases it is work that I too first encountered as a child and which made a strong impression on me. In other cases, I'd not seen it at all before I found it in his 'blog.

Lost Worlds, and Caspar Milquetoast

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Its name notwithstanding, Golden Age Comic Book Stories has been about a lot more than comic books (of any age). It has been simply awash in terrific illustration for pulp magazines and especially for fantasy work of the same genre. I encourage my readers to set aside a little time for a visit there.

Meanwhile, over at Hairy Green Eyeball, Mr Green posted some scans of the Timid Soul from The Best of H.T. Webster. I'd first encountered Caspar Milquetoast, the Timid Soul, back when, in high school, I discovered books on the history of the comic strip. In what I saw, Mr Milquetoast was cleverly presented as the most yielding of men. (Though I don't enjoy the cases where he is confronted by a genuine bully.)

I hadn't known or had forgot about The Best of H.T. Webster, first published in 1953 and reprinted at least twice. I was prompted by Mr Green's entry to look for a copy on I found a first printing of the first edition, with the dust jacket in less-than-good condition, but the rest of the book in fine condition, at Lorrin Wong Books (his own site doesn't seem very functional, but he can be reached by way of Biblio and at in Los Angeles for just $7 (plus $3.50 s&h). I ordered it early in the morning of 16 December, Mr Wong got it in the mails that same day, and it arrived on the next.