Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Great Harrison Cady, Expert Animal Smithy!!

There are so many illustrators who I just love and imitate often. Sometimes as I'm looking through the book shops I see some I don't recognize, and that may have been overwritten by history.

A couple years ago I had this experience with the work of Harrison Cady and then after seeing his amazing illustrations that once, I have been running into them everywhere.

The stories of "Reddy Fox" are one of those free downloadable stories I ended up with on my phone and my son listens to them over and over. Then I realized that the handwork teacher at my school reads these books to her students while they work quietly.

I am just floored by this guys illustrations. Super balanced and full of form. This kind of confident, clean line work and quick hand that is so typical of newspaper illustrators of his time, similar in some ways to George Herriman or  Winsor McCay, and even Dr Seuss started working this way under the constraints of deadlines. It was a rich environment to bring up talented drawers in. I sometimes wish I could enforce that kind of pressure on myself to push myself.

 You can really see how a guy like this had learned from observing nature and field drawing, and then how well he crafts these perfectly proportioned and dimensional little characters is astounding. Each one is so readable and if you squint looks as perfectly balanced as a yin-yang.

Harrison Cady had a long association with Thornton Burgess, illustrating the writer's books, including Happy Jack, and his daily newspaper column, "Bedtime Stories". Their partnership spanned five decades, beginning with Baby Possum Has a Scare (c. 1912), The Adventures of Reddy Fox (1913) and Buster Bear Invites Old Mr. Toad to Dine (c. 1914), The series continued into the 1950s with At Paddy the Beaver's Pond (1950), followed by the reprint The Animal World of Thornton Burgess (1962).

Changing my life with plein air painting. Year one.

About this time last year my life got kind of shaken out. Im not here to tell you about my personal drama, but suffice it to say I ended ...