An inductee of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, Earl Oliver Hurst’s work is unmistakeable. Born in 1898 New York, Mr. Hurst’s career was exceptionally successful, of course, not without a difficulty. He chopped and changed his path and titles quite a few times but worked with a host of clients along the way. Some of his well known magazine work includes Collier’s, American Weekly, True, Pictorial Review, McCalls, and Home Magazine. Also doing numerous advertising illustrations for the likes of Nabisco, Royal Crown Cola, General Electric, Sanka, Jantzen Swim Suits, and Swan Soap.
A decidedly wonderful book of his work was published by Hermes Press in 2005 called, The Art Of Earl Oliver Hurst. If you are luck enough to find it at a reasonable price, it’s definitely worth picking up.
Robert Stewart Sherriffs was born in Arbroath, Scotland. He attended Edinburgh College of Art where he studied heraldic design along with fine art. Just before turning 21, Sherriffs moved to London.
He found work in advertising studios, however grew tiered of the tedious nature of the work so he began sending examples of caricatures to magazine. He got his break when the weekly tabloid magazine, Bystander, published his caricature of actor John Barrymore (yep, Drew Barrymore’s granddad). The illustration caught the eye of Beverley Nichols, who commissioned Sherriffs to produce a series of portraits for his column in The Sketch.
This exposure led to further work in magazines including Theatre World, Pall Mall, and The Strand Magazine. He also regularly contributed to The Radio Times and later on Punch magazine. Sherriffs also illustrated a number of books, including The Life and Death of Tamburlaine the Great, and Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The former was comended by one of Sherriffs important influences, Edmund Dulac.
There is a sad turn of events to Sherriffs’ career. He had intended to bring together some of his personal drawings for an exhibition. However, after being diagnosed with cancer, he set fire to all his work prior to being admitted to hospital. Sherriffs died at the age of 54.
I was introduced to R. S. Sherriffs by the current exhibition at The Cartoon Museum, Age of Glamour: R. S. Sherriffs’ Stars of Stage and Screen. There were various pieces including portraits, set, and costume design. Throughout the whole exhibition I had my jaw wide open. Sherriffs is a master. His control of the brush is some of the best I have had the pleasure of seeing first hand. His lines perfectly sweep thin to thick. His tones are one flat colour. Throughout the exhibition I can not remember seeing any cover-ups or mistakes. The first thing I wanted to do when I left the exhibition was buy a big book full of his work, but alas, no such luck. The closest thing published of a body of Sherriffs’ work is Sherriffs at the Cinema, which solely concentrates on his famous caricatures.
I feel some of his previous printed material do not do his illustrations justice. The last book of his work was published in the 1980s. Sherriffs’ work desperately demands a modern, more befitting, bounded showcase to be fully appreciated. (ahem, publishers please take note)
Lush work from French freelance illustrator, Romain Mennetrier. His simplified shapes work wonderfully with his textured colour treatment. I particularly love how emotive and charming his characters are. You can find more of Mr. Mennetrier work on his blog, brutal moineau or maybe pick up one of his Society6 prints.
Multiple Eisner award winner, writer/illustrator, Gene Luen Yang began his career self-publishing his comic books under the name Humble Comics in 1996. He went on to write and draw a host of books including Animal Crackers, Prime Baby, American Born Chinese. The latter was released by First Second Books in 2006 and became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award.
Mr. Yang is also the writer of Dark Horse’s comic series the Avatar: The Last Airbender. Very recently First Second Books released his two-volume graphic novel project, Boxers & Saints.
Daniel Spacek lives and works in Prague (Czech Republic) as a freelance artist. Daniel has recently produced a series of animated shorts for a popular new kids channel “ČT : D” for Czech television. These short animations are available to view on his official website as well as some more of his lovely illustrative and design works.
Daniel also sells some rather nice and very reasonable prints over at society6.