April 20, 2011

Giants in illustration...

Lately I've been obsessing over classical illustrators and have run across some pretty amazing paintings so far (like those of Lisbeth Zwerger from a few posts back). 
If we go back to the beginning of classical illustration, we meet...

Edmund Dulac...

The Princess and the Pea

She Was Always Picking Flowers
 ...a French book illustrator during the Golden Age of Illustration (early 20th century).
Newspapers, magazines, and illustrated books were becoming the dominant media at the time (media that is quickly being digitized today). Thanks to advances in technology, illustrators were for the first time gaining freedom to experiment with color for a relatively low cost...which is excellent for people like me who seem to never tire of seeing those bright reds and subtle grays and yellows.

Dreamer of Dreams
 Edmund Dulac was one of the first to appear in the media market, bringing with him a whole palette of rich colors and some pretty serious credentials.  Can you imagine illustrating for the Queen of Romania or designing some of the first postage stamps ever used in Great Britain? 

Gerda and the Reindeer
What amazes me is that he actually began his career by studying law and switched to painting when law became boring for him.  It seems he skipped over adolescence to jump into an illustrating career at 22.  I guess in a way he always kept his adolescence by illustrating fairy tales like The Sleeping Beauty and painting pictures for the oh so impressive Hans Christian Anderson. 

I'm just a wee bit jealous.

He's a new name on my ever-growing list of "artists I admire so much I could cry."  I'm wondering what his magic formula was for mixing those colors and how exactly he got those pigment rings at the bottom of "She Was Always Picking Flowers."  I guess it's just something for me to always wonder about...

Happy Wednesday!


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