December 27, 2009

Masterfull Illustrations

I think many people would agree that of all the gifts they get at Christmas, there's always the one that is the special one: the one that becomes the treasure for that year. In our house, we keep gift giving simple and my special gifts are, usually, books. I love books. I hate shopping but can spend hours and hours browsing in bookstores and I love getting books for Christmas. The promise of undiscovered worlds.

This year, my treasure is a new collection of illustrations by an absolutely incredible artist: Scott McKowen. There's very little information about him available on the web and this might be because it's really difficult to capture the work he does properly in web resolution. He works primarily in scratchboard and his illustrations, mostly theatrical posters and book covers, have the look of engravings and are fantastically rich in detail and nuance. The man is a master of light and shadow and uses them to great effect along with, sometimes, a quirky manipulation of perspective. I can certainly learn a lot about artistic license from this guy.

There is an agency who represents him you can see some of the work there. And there's info on his book, including a glimpse at some sample pages, here.

Finally, here's just a sample of the work:


In my humble opinion though, if you're at all interested in fine illustration, get the book. I've been reading it slowly, it's like letting a piece of good dark chocolate melt in the mouth, and relishing each page. The book is divided into sections, by theatrical posters and book illustrations, with each full-page image (did I say the images are incredible? ) accompanied by a great write-up of how it came to life: what the motivation was, what the artistic process was. I find that kind of stuff absolutely enthralling.

There's also a good explanation of Scott's work with scratchboard as his medium at the end of the book. Scratchboard! Who knew?

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