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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Happy Hallowe'en with 'Scary' Harry Borgman!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en, Boils and Ghouls! Here's a tricky treat for everyone who loves to draw monsters ( or just loves drawings of monsters): a great little "How To..." booklet by 'Scary' Harry Borgman, long time TI list member and mid-century illustrator extraordinaire.



Harry created this cornucopia of cartoon creeps back in the early 1970s, around the same time he was drawing scary illustrations of Dracula in a more realistic style for a book entitled "Great Tales of Horror and Suspense".


This little book was Harry's first "How To..." book and paved the way for other larger art instruction books he did for Watson Guptill Publications.




Harry had already taught art "live and in person" at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit just a few years earlier - and that lead to an opportunity to contribute some 'sick' scribblings to Sick magazine.




These delightfully dreadful drawings show how Harry's moniker at Sick magazine, "The Professor" suited him perfectly!




Harry Borgman recently celebrated the 1st Anniversary of his blog, Harry Borgman Art Blog. There you'll find so much interesting information, so many astonishing anecdotes and such a wealth of amazing artwork that you'll want to cancel your plans for the day and stay glued to the computer. Harry has had so many interesting adventures in the illustration biz and at age 81, he's still going strong! Happy Hallowe'en - and Happy 1st Anniversary, Harry Borgman Art Blog - here's to many more!

* My Harry Borgman Flickr set.

Walter Wyles: "...something out of the ordinary"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Guest author: Bryn Havord

George (Tiny) Watts the art director of Woman was keen to encourage Wally to push the boundaries and work in different styles for different assignments. This Elizabethan woman with her hands held in prayer was part of an eight or ten part period serial done for Woman around 1961.


Wally did these science fiction and fantasy covers in the mid 1970s.


He did about four in total and enjoyed doing them.


Throughout his career, clients could usually rely on Wally to do something out of the ordinary...


... sometimes we got more than we expected!



During his career he had been privileged to paint HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and other prominent members of the Royal Family...



... and he started to accept a growing number of portrait commissions.



He was also working as an easel painter producing landscapes in oil and watercolour.


However, a series of heart attacks resulted in an enforced period of convalescence and he drastically reduced his work commitments.

In 2004, his wife Margaret wrote a book using some of her late mother’s letters, featuring her early life as a young girl in a remote village in west Wales. Wyles was commissioned to produce the illustration for the cover. When it was published the Welsh Book Council made it their Book of the Month. (Love from Blodwen. By Margaret Wyles. Seren. ISBN 1-85411-359-3).


Wyles who is now eighty-four, continues to paint every day, and still accepts the occasional portrait commission.

* Many thanks to guest author Bryn Havord for this week's excellent presentation on Walter Wyles! In the late 50s and early 60s Bryn was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published in the UK. During that time he commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry Fancett. Walter Wyles remains his oldest and closest friend.

* Personal photographs © Peter Mullett.

* My Walter Wyles Flickr set.

Walter Wyles: Across the Pond

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guest author: Bryn Havord

By the mid-’60s Bernie Fuchs, Herb Tauss and Lynn Buckham had replaced the earlier American stars, with Bernie Fuchs rapidly becoming the man to watch and emulate, but there was still plenty of work for the best of the English illustrators. At this time there were two English illustrators, Ken Dallison and Wilson McLean living and working in New York City, but Walter Wyles became the first English illustrator living and working in England to be commissioned to produce a painting for an American magazine when Bill Cadge, the art director of Redbook, asked him to illustrate a story.



Unfortunately that Redbook illustration was not to be found at this time, but Leif found a series of Wally's illustrations from the same period done for Reader's Digest Condensed Books.



Wyles had no direct dealings with Readers' Digest in the USA, it was all done through their London office: they contacted him. He can't remember what the fees were, certainly no way near as much as the American fees. He thinks it was around £150.00 per spread or illustration.


At that time there were US$2.40 to £1.00 Sterling. He was paid $1,250.00 for the Redbook illustration which was one page and not a spread. He retained the copyright and only sold them first rights.


We can't remember how work was sent back and forth across the pond before FedEx. Wally relied upon his agent who is long since dead, so we can't ask him.



Wally supplied the London office with roughs and was given about a month to complete the work once the roughs had been approved. He remembers one other job for American RD, although he did a fair number for the UK Readers' Digest.


In 1964, Wyles felt the need to return to his native Kent and he bought a neo-Georgian house at Birchington, near the north Kentish coast. However, in 1967 after furnishing the house with Georgian furniture and completing all the re-decoration, his wife Maggie found a derelict Jacobean farmhouse in a secluded setting four miles from Canterbury, which they decided to renovate and make their future and permanent home.


By the end of the ’60s the downturn in the American women’s magazine illustration market started to be reflected in England, as the interest in romantic fiction in women’s magazines declined. Wyles had built up a substantial following in the book jacket market,


... and with Scandinavian women’s magazines, and he had plenty of work well into the 1970s.


His sale of second rights material also continued to hold up well.

* In the late 50s and early 60s guest author Bryn Havord was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published in the UK. During that time he commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry Fancett. Walter Wyles remains his oldest and closest friend.

* My Walter Wyles Flickr set.

*ALSO* Be sure to visit Storyboard Central and Drawn! today for exciting news and some great artwork by TI list member Harry Borgman

Walter Wyles: "... at the top of his profession"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guest author: Bryn Havord

Walter Wyles met his future wife Margaret who was a student at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After a brief courtship, they married in 1954 when Margaret became a full-time housewife. They started married life in an apartment in London’s west end, and after the birth of their sons Nicholas and Glyn, they moved out to south west London.


By the late ’50s Wyles’ career had taken off and he had become one of the leading illustrators working in England. The obligatory fast cars and a twelve-metre yacht followed, and they moved to a larger apartment near Wimbledon Common.


Women’s magazine illustration was at its height at this time, and most of the magazines were buying a lot of second rights material from the American greats such as Joe Bowler, Coby Whitmore and Joe de Mers. Their work had a considerable influence on the English editors, art editors and the illustrators themselves.


Leif asked me what motivated Wally to depart from his more typical realism for this 1960 series for Woman shown below...

George (Tiny) Watts the art director of Woman was keen to encourage Wally to push the boundaries and work in different styles for different assignments.


It was very well received, not only by Woman, but in the London magazine world generally, and by Mentor shirts (an American company) who commissioned him to produce a series of illustrations for an extensive advertising campaign.


By the mid-’60s Bernie Fuchs, Herb Tauss and Lynn Buckham had replaced the earlier American stars, with Bernie Fuchs rapidly becoming the man to watch and emulate, but there was still plenty of work for the best of the English illustrators, and Wyles remained at the top of his profession.


From 1963 to '65 I was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror magazine. Nancy Edgerton was a favourite model of ours for artists' reference: she was too short for the cat-walk but had superb bone structure. I hired her for the day to pose for Wally so he could paint her from life for a short romantic story entitled "One Friday".


Sometime later Ruari McLean, a highly respected design consultant, included a reproduction of the opening spread in his book Magazine Design which was published by the Oxford University Press in 1969. I was also pleased that he considered Woman's Mirror the only weekly woman's magazine worthy of inclusion in the book.

During the Woman's Mirror years Wally did a lot of unusual and exciting work for me. For one period serial he decided he'd like the whole staff of Woman's Mirror to model for his illustrations: my secretary Jean Hanlon hired the photographic studio, hired all the period costumes, and ordered several crates of beer and cases of wine. My editor, Joy Scully who was well upholstered, and a very good sport, modelled as a whorehouse keeper, and I was a Highwayman: another piece of good type-casting. It was a very enjoyable day, and the subsequent illustrations were stunning and very lively!


Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, we no longer have any examples. Wally lost a lot during a move to a summer house in south-west France. I lost all mine when a sailing barge that I lived on got run down by a German timber ship in the English Channel one night in 1971.

We could probably get some examples from the newspaper and periodical library at Colingdale in London, but life has moved on a bit since then, and we're both too old and doddery to want to make the journey now!

* In the late 50s and early 60s guest author Bryn Havord was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published in the UK. During that time he commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry Fancett. Walter Wyles remains his oldest and closest friend.

* My Walter Wyles Flickr set.

Walter Wyles: "he decided that he wanted to be a magazine illustrator"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Guest author: Bryn Havord

Walter Wyles was born in 1925 at Canterbury, in the county of Kent in south-east England. His father, Walter Henry, came from a military family and was a regular soldier in the British Army.


His mother Francesca Calvente came from near Malaga in southern Spain.


At the age of eleven he attended the Sidney Cooper Art School in Canterbury on a part-time basis, after a special recommendation from a teacher at his primary school. In 1939, at the age of fourteen he received a full-time scholarship to the art school...


... but four months later, at the outbreak of World War II, he left to go to work.


He had suffered from poliomyelitis as a child leaving him lame which resulted in him being unfit for military service. He started work as a book-binder and from 1940 to 1942, he worked as a junior draughtsman for two aircraft manufacturing companies helping the war effort. He then went to work for a display company in London’s west end. He became a part-time Air Raid Warden, spending many night-hours during the Blitz on the roof of his employer’s building, watching for fires started by incendiary bombs dropped by Hitler’s Luftwaffe.


He also attended an art school off Fleet Street in his spare time.

There followed a period working for War Artists in London’s Cambridge Circus and Cavendish Studios producing large paintings of air, sea and land battles.


After the war he went freelance on a full-time basis doing a lot of work as a fashion artist for Tailor & Cutter magazine, Man & His Clothes and The Draper’s Record.

In the early ’50s he decided that he wanted to be a magazine illustrator and worked at producing sample illustrations to show to prospective clients.


Woman was the world’s best-selling weekly magazine for women, selling an impressive three and a half million copies every week, and its editor Mary Grieve and art editor George (Tiny) Watts gave Wyles considerable encouragement, giving him his first commission, and later becoming one of his biggest clients.


* Above, a page from Francis Marshall's 1959 book, Magazine Illustration, featuring Walter Wyles. Continued tomorrow.

* In the late 50s and early 60s guest author Bryn Havord was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published in the UK. During that time he commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry Fancett. Walter Wyles remains his oldest and closest friend.

* My Walter Wyles Flickr set.

* Meanwhile, things are just ducky at Charlie Allen's Blog. (Check out the latest CAWS to see what I mean)

Walter Wyles: "...my oldest and closest friend."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Long-time readers will recall a week in March 2007 when guest author David Roach shared a cache of old magazine illustrations by British artists. One of those artists was Walter Wyles.



After that week, I received an email from a gentleman named Bryn Havord. He wrote, "I started work in London's Fleet Street in 1952 working on two comics entitled Eagle and Girl. They were published by Hulton Press who also published Housewife and Picture Post. We all had a voracious appetite for American magazines and were greatly influenced by them, especially the illustrators."

Bryn went on to assistant art direct Woman magazine in the late '50s and early '60s. From 1963 to '65 he was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror. "During that time I commissioned work from leading British illustrators including Walter Wyles," wrote Bryn. "He remains my oldest and closest friend."


Bryn and I made tentative plans for him to guest author a week on Walter for the blog. And now, a couple of years later, that project has finally come to fruition.


Last time Bryn visited with Walter and his wife Maggie, he collected an unprecedented bounty of gorgeous artwork for us - much of it shot from the originals - and a comprehensive biography of the artist's life and career.


Beginning tomorrow, Bryn Havord on his oldest and closest friend, Walter Wyles.

* my British Illustrators Flickr set
 

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