Monday 12 April 2010

Frank Frazetta, Peter O'Donnell and Loose Ends...

Frank Frazetta 1928 - 2010

Gee, I'm bad at updating! Before I do, though, a word about Frank Frazetta, who passed on recently. As a kid I used to buy Conan books just for his covers alone. I was a bit more of a sci-fi geek than fantasy, but there was something about his work that struck a chord, as it did with many kids of my generation. There were few art collection books available then, unlike the way there is today, so I used to cycle the eleven miles to my nearest bookshop with a couple of quid in my pocket earned from shovelling cow/pig-crap at my weekend job on a farm. I would buy books by people like Ray Bradbury, Michael Moorcock, John Wyndham, Bob Shaw, Robert Sheckley etc, but after a friend at school showed me Frazetta's work when he was copying 'Death Dealer' for art class (in those powdery school paints you used to get) I fell in love with the easy use of colour and the bizarre landscapes he used to paint. Impossibly proportioned Rubenesque women and pumped up seemingly steroid enhanced men (a friend once described as looking like a condom full of walnuts). The funny thing is I didn't want to paint like him, or at least his subject matter, big muscular blokes didn't really appeal. I wanted to draw X-wing fighters, The Starship Enterprise, Batman, and bizarrely images of Joan of Arc as well! But I loved his work, and like so many things recently, I've realised his artwork on those 'Sphere' paperbacks decorated my imagination as much as the spaceships of Chris Foss or Tintin or Asterix. Here's to you Frank!

Peter O'Donnell 1920 - 2010
And someone else who's death went almost unnoticed was Peter O'Donnell at 90, who created the wonderful Modesty Blaise in 1963. Modesty was a precursor of Emma Peel of The Avengers, and pretty iconic when it came to the depiction of strong women in comics. She was drawn by a number of artists but apparently every story, whether novel or comic strip was written by O'Donnell.


Some old and new sketches, and things that will probably never be finished...
Dragon's Egg 1:Kid Pirates:

Some spooky scarecrows. Quite old these, but I've not put them on the blog.

Dragon's Egg 2:
Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion:

Erica, Zombie Killer Rough:

A 'Character of the Week' I never finished, maybe I should as it's almost there...

A slightly bizarre rough of Isis for a Character of the Week:

A personal piece: The Vampire Queen!

And finally a pic from junior school... many years ago! A combination of Star Trek and the Thames TV logo... why!?


Anonymous said...

Your work is fantastic, and I'm very happy to see new pictures from you!

Julien alday said...

You know what ? I really want to see a Modesty Blaise illo' from you ! I mean, really ! :)

I also appreciate reading that such a damn' fine English illustrator extraordinaire like you were interested in drawing some Joan of Arc. As a French guy, I prefer don't know why. :P But I like it anyway !

Thank you for the update, eye candies after the other.

stu sutcliffe said...

Beautiful sketches Aly! Love the pirate kids.The Enterprise drawing brought back memories of when me and my mate used to borrow teachers best felt tips and I used to do endless cross sections of hillsides with the Mole from Thunderbirds tunneling through and Thunderbird 1 flying overhead!( and she used to give us that really nice cartridge paper!!)Ooh youve sent me off into a daydream.
Hope you are well.

Craig Elliott said...

What an awesome group of musings and art! I love the Thames TV logo. Reminds me of Benny Hill. There is a great revival of Scifi on the BBC now, you should get in on that! Have you ever done a Dr. Who companion? I'm thinking of a particular blonde one...

Craig Elliott Gallery

Ben Newman said...

hey Aly! nice mixed bag of stuff here to peruse. I really like the wizard of Oz sketch, it's very atmospheric. Now I think about it, I can definately see a Peter O'Donnell influence in your art.

Badger said...

Really nice Aly, i agree with Julien, be great to see a modesty from you.

I really like the sketches, the life they have in them is really nice, do you have any tips concerning nice posing? balance gesture etc?

Daniel H said...

Your work is amazing!

Please post lots of more old sketches like the "Star Trek" piece. It would be fun to see how you have evolved in your skills during the years!

Keep up the good work!