Research the following classic science-fiction fantasy artists. Make brief notes on their individual visual approaches:
- Wallace ‘Wally’ Wood
- Frank Frazetta
- Barry Windsor-Smith
Wally (also known as Wallace) Wood
Wallace Wood seemed to produce a wide range of artwork, from highly detailed science fiction illustrations to satirical cartoons.
Most of the work I could find seemed to suggest the artwork was mostly made using ink, most likely with a dip pen for the line work and then a brush to fill in larger areas of black. Wood also used hatching and cross-hatching for shading.
I thought the majority of Wood’s work appeared quite dated, but for different reasons. The science fiction illustrations were highly detailed, skilled and imaginative, but I thought compared to modern day representations they were a bit tame in style and stereotypical of the genre. Although some of the satirical cartoons were not particularly dated in appearance, the narrative and content would be considered extremely sexist in the present day.
Some artists that I could find that have been influenced by Wallace Wood included:
During the 1940s and 1950s Frank Frazetta did create comic art, but the majority of his later output seemed to be oil paintings of fantasy scenes, such as below.
I did not find Frazetta’s artwork to be particularly dated. I thought they would not look out of place in an art gallery with ‘master painters’. His paintings have the quality of concept art for film productions. Also, compared to Wallace Wood’s often derogatory depictions of females, I thought that, although mostly naked, the females in Frazetta’s artwork were generally powerful in appearance/build and sometimes equal in stature to the males, but I am not sure if this was just the examples I came across (and perhaps the one above is not the best advocate for this theory!).
Frank Frazetto seems to have been an influence on a wide range of artists, including Star Wars‘ director, George Lucas, and Guillermo del Toro, director of fantasy films such as Pan’s Labyrinth.
Moebius (a.k.a. Jean Giraud)
The artist Jean Giraud used two identities for his artwork. Under his own name, or ‘Gir’ for short, he created the highly realistic, gritty, western comic series Blueberry and Jim Cutlass.
Under the name Moebius, the artist created ‘ground-breaking science fiction and fantasy’ artwork, which would prove highly influential in all sectors of the creative industry, even to this day.
Moebius changed from using a brush with ink to a pen, which resulted in ‘more open drawings with influences from the “Clear Line” style’, which reminded me of Hergé’s Tintin illustrations. I thought it was interesting how he used wide dimensions for some of his work, as above, which allowed for expansive landscapes. Even though Moebius’s artwork is highly detailed, it does not feel overcrowded or complicated.
I did not find the style dated and, as with Frazetta’s work, the artwork has the appearance of concept art for film production.
There seemed to be an endless list of people that have been influenced by Jean Giraud, including Stan Lee, Neil Gaiman and Quentin Tarantino.
I also found a BBC documentary about Giraud’s work on YouTube, which informed me more about his life, influences and work.
Barry Windsor-Smith’s artwork seems to be mostly inked.
He worked at Marvel and his work is evidently influenced by artists such as Jack Kirby, and has the appearance of art from that period, which I did not feel was current with present-day styles that I have come across during this unit.
Windsor-Smith continues to work as a multi-disciplinary artist.
I could not find examples of contemporary artists that have been influenced by him.
Reflections After Tutor Feedback
My tutor raised the question of what type of pen Moebius might have used in his work and, unfortunately, after searching online I was not able to find a definite answer. However, after looking closely at some of the examples of his work, I felt it was probably a dip pen as he varies the width of the line. This increased my respect for Moebius’s talent even more as his work is so detailed and on a large scale – I could not imagine even contemplating doing such work using a dip pen!
My tutor also asked whether I had considered using coloured/tinted ink. I have purchased a basic set of coloured inks, but I have yet to experiment with these. During this unit I have come across examples of work using coloured/tinted ink, such as Moebius’s, and it is certainly an area I would like to explore.
Frank Frazetta, (n.d.). Frank Frazetta. [online] Available at: http://frankfrazetta.net [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Knudde, K.(n.d.). Jim Woodring. [online] Lambiek Comiclopedia. Available at: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/w/woodring.htm [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Knudde, K. (n.d.). Marcel Gotlib [online] Lambiek Comiclopedia. Available at: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/g/gotlib.htm [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Lambiek Comiclopedia, (n.d.). Barry Windsor-Smith. [online] Available at: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/w/windsor-smith.htm [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Lambiek Comiclopedia, (n.d.). Frank Frazetta. [online] Available at: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/f/frazetta.htm [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Lambiek Comiclopedia, (n.d.). Rand Holmes. [online] Available at: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/h/holmes_rand.htm [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Lambiek Comiclopedia, (n.d.). Wallace Wood. [online] Available at: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/w/wood_wallace.htm [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Karlo Ivković, (2013). In Search of Moebius (BBC 4 Documentary). [online video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNas99oEXBU [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Moebius, (2020). Moebius. [online] Available at: https://www.moebius.fr/index.html [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Museum Syndicate, (n.d.). Art by Frank Frazetta. [online] Available at: http://www.museumsyndicate.com/artist.php?artist=693 [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Schuddeboom, B. (n.d.). Jean Giraud (Moebius, Gir). [online] Lambiek Comiclopedia. Available at: https://www.lambiek.net/artists/g/giraud.htm [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Wikipedia, (n.d.). Wally Wood. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wally_Wood [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Wikipedia, (n.d.). Frank Frazetta. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Frazetta [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Wikipedia, (n.d.). Jean Giraud. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Giraud [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Wikipedia, (n.d.). Barry Windsor-Smith. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Windsor-Smith [Accessed 11 December 2021].
Windsor-Smith, B. (n.d.). Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller. [online] Barry Windsor-Smith. Available at: http://www.barrywindsor-smith.com [Accessed 11 December 2021].