Mr. Tarkan Paphiti is somewhat of a traveller but not in the traditional physical sense. He is more of a skilful internet explorer and surveyor of fine talents. Mr. Tarkan Paphiti is never happier than when he is dredging through the vast and complex alternate world that is the internet in pursuit of the next big curiosity.
Scanning the bookshelves in our offices for some inspiration on an artist to feature for today’s post, Book one of “The Walking Dead” by Robert Kirkman leaped out at me. I just can’t believe that we have yet to write up a feature for this great and current comic book.
(If you don’t already know) The Walking Dead is a huge franchise published by Image Comics and is one of the most successful comic series of our generation spanning a dedicated TV show (currently airing around the globe), toys & merchandise.
Robert Kirkman is also best known for “Invincible”, “Battle Pope” and his multitude of collaborations across Marvel and Image comics including “Marvel Zombies”, “Haunt” and “Ultimate X-Men”. Kirkman helped breathe new life into the fledgling comics book industry when he first broke on to the scene and has helped inspire and develop a new generation.
Before I get into this book review, I just want to make it clear that I have a personal interest in this book and the artist behind it, Mr Phillip Butah.
I have known Phillip for some time now in a professional and personal capacity. His work has always inspired me and I was all too happy and humbled to provide him with my opinions when he first opened the conversation about putting this book together. Also for our Blog readers, it’s worth noting that this book is not an out and out art book, it’s more of an illustrated book of autobiographical memoirs. I would therefore recommend it to both fans of Ed Sheeran’s music and fans of illustration and portraiture alike. Although much of the accompanying visuals are the work of artist Phillip Butah, there is also some varied and complimentary photography.
The Book Review:
The UK version of the book (to which I have kindly been gifted a first edition of by Phillip himself) is published by Cassell Illustrated a division of Octopus Publishing Group Ltd.
The hardback cover is a bright and striking luminous green wrapped in luxurious soft touch lamination. The cover contains a simple line illustration of Ed looking rather humble. This I felt was an excellent precursor to the overall flavour of the book which takes us on a journey through Ed’s more humble beginnings up until his latest’s album release. In fact humility is often an underlining feature within both Phillip Butah’s artistic portraits and Ed Sheeran’s music.
Phillip’s forward highlights this fact quite clearly when he talks about the need to put in at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become really good at any discipline. He also explains how even though both himself and Ed have made the necessary sacrifices to get to the level they are at, they both instinctively know and feel they can always do more and always do better. He also talks about this at the end of the book (which is dedicated to Phillip and the way in which he works) where he states that he is his “own worst critic”, with an eye for seeing his own work’s imperfections.
The book contains a variety of artistic styles and approaches however I find that its Phillip’s signature realism style that shines through. His images often look like he has deliberately peeled back some of the layers to reveal the inner workings and techniques used to create them. Leaving areas of the portraits only subtly rendered to create depth and interest. I personally like this idea as it creates a sense of imbalance or drama and can help draw your eye to what the artist finds interesting and what he wants to reveal about the person he is drawing.
Some of the styles in the book include inspiration from Czech artist Alphonse Mucha and even Soviet propaganda art. He treats us to a variety of mediums including, pencils, watercolour & pen, biro sketches, full blown pastel renders and graphite on paper chiaroscuro illustrations.
Ed Sheeran “a visual journey” is available to buy now. I think we will be seeing a lot more of Phillip Butah and his collaborations with Ed Sheeran.
Born in San Francisco, James Courtney founder of Naked Comix earned an BFA degree in Illustration at the Academy of Art College. As an Adobe Certified Expert in Adobe Illustrator 10 he uses a combination of photography and the Adobe Illustrator software to produce dazzling vector based artwork.
“Vector based art allows for the widest range of final options and usage for my work. I can create artwork without worrying that it may be too big or too small for whatever print usage I may want to do with it later. Also the smaller file sizes vector art allows for easier transfer of my work over the Internet to vendors and clients.”
Check out more of James’s work via the official Naked Comix website. Warning his work does contain some nudity.
Englishman Brian Bolland born on March 26th, 1951 has made a lasting impact as a comic book artist.
Although American comics didn’t actually appear in the UK until 1959, Bolland was instantly smitten by the medium. After starting out illustrating fanzines, Oz magazine and, the then-underground, London listings magazine Time Out, He landed his first comic work in 1972 on the comic titled Powerman. In 1977 Bolland snapped up a job at 2000AD working on various titles including Judge Dredd.
Due to the waves Bolland made on the comic book seen DC Comics gave him the opportunity to working on any of their characters. Choosing one of their flagship characters, Batman, he along with the poise penmanship of Alan Moore created a truly awesome piece of art, titled Batman:The Killing Joke. published in 1988 the book explores the Joker’s origin and is often held as the most controversial Batman story ever created. Bolland went on to collect a total of three Eisner awards and three Harvey awards.
After studying a copy of graphic novel The Killing Joke, Heath Ledger cited it as an influence on his Oscar-nominated portrayal of The Joker in the movie adaptation of BatmanThe Dark Knight.
Lairesse was one of the most celebrated Dutch painters following the death of the great Rembrandt. Lairesse worked as the key illustrator on one of the best anatomical books of the era Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams (1685) by Govert Bidloo. The illustrations were then engraved into copper plates for printing by Abraham Blooteling and Pieter van Gunst.
Interestingly Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams was not a commercial success at the time and the publisher sold 300 of the extra printed plates to William Cowper, a noted English anatomist.
Cowper published the plates with his own, English language text in Oxford in 1698 under the title, Anatomy of the humane bodies, without mentioning Bidloo or the artists of the original plates. Cowper went so far as to use Bidloo’s engraved allegorical title page, amended with an irregular piece of paper lettered: “The anatomy of the humane bodies …,” which fits over the Dutch title.
A number of vitriolic exchanges took place between Bidloo and Cowper, including several pamphlets published in each anatomist’s defence. Cowper claimed, without much evidence presented, that the plates were not Bidloo’s at all, but that they were commissioned by Jan Swammerdam (1637-1680) and that after his death Swammerdam’s widow had sold them to Bidloo.