Sunday 19 August 2012

Fans of Frank: Andy Walker

By Andy Walker
In my continuing series (where I unashamedly ask fans of Frank to tell me why they are) I had my attention drawn to this interesting piece on eBay which at first glance made me think of Orson Welles and then I realised it was in a style like Bellamy's. I wrote to the seller - Andy himself - and he replied:

I have just listed my Frank Bellamy inspired comic strip artwork on eBay. I think I first encountered his amazing artwork in the form of reprints of his THUNDERBIRDS comic strip in the pages of Polystyle's COUNTDOWN comic. The artwork that really struck me however were the illustrations he did based on DOCTOR WHO for the RADIO TIMES in the early to mid 1970s. He was one of those very gifted artists who had that almost indefinable extra something that always shone through all of this work. This artwork of mine is a humble nod to an amazing talent that has inspired an entire generation of artists across the globe!
 His description on ebay explains a bit further:

"THE TRAVELLER" ORIGINAL COMIC STRIP ARTWORK SIGNED BY UK ILLUSTRATOR ANDY WALKER. This is a high quality, full colour double page comic strip rendered in black Indian ink, coloured inks and gouache on thick watercolour board. It was originally commissioned in 1987 as a promotional piece of artwork for the "Traveller" series of books which failed to be published. My brief was to produce a double page comic strip splash in the style of the hugely popular British comic strip artist Frank Bellamy. "The Traveller" books were a series of 5 novels that sadly remains unpublished, however all 5 covers won me many future commissions and formed a crucial part of my original portfolio.The 5 stories concerned the journeys through time of a mysterious character known only as "The Traveller". Sound familiar? Perhaps that's why they remain unpublished!
Take a look at Andy's other sales to see more of his more mature artwork including another Traveller artwork which shows he had Brian Blessed rather than Orson Welles in mind (in my opinion!)UPDATE: and of course have a look at his website which I almost forgot to mention!

So for Andy here's the first Bellamy story form Polystyle's Countdown comic which was the 1970s answer to TV21 in which Frank Bellamy's Thunderbirds strips were reprinted (and Don Harley drew new art for Thunderbirds stories too). The editor was the former Art Editor of TV21, Dennis Hooper. Read more about it on Lew Stringer's ever interesting blog. I have reproduced the reprint of the first part of the story from TV21 #59 (5 March 2066). Presumably the reprint was cheap, but after hacking Bellamy's artwork from 3 pages to 2 and in black and white, surely it would have been easier just to reprint as was!

Countdown, #24, 31 July 1971

Countdown, #24, 31 July 1971

Andy mentions his love of Doctor Who too so here's a set of those famous cameos that were printed at size12/16 inch width by 1 inch tall - yes I checked! The paper of the Radio Times at that time was of a pulp feel and therefore reproduction wasn't superb. Here are three of the Doctors up to that point - from left to right Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell
Radio Times - various

Lastly, just because we mentioned Countdown here's the cover of the issue that saw Bellamy's reprint start which shows, what I think must be Roy Cross artwork for the Airfix Saturn V - let me know if I'm wrong. A very iconic image for little boys my age - and covered later by Mike Noble on a cover of Look-In (where the former TV21 editor Alan Fennell was resident!)

Art by Roy Cross?

Monday 13 August 2012

Fans of Frank: Tim Keable

My tentacles stretch far and wide throughout the Internet and my contacts are really good to me. Richard Sheaf alerted me to some look-a-like art that I may be interested in.  Off I went to Justyce Served: A Small Start with a Big Finish

Tim Keable's 'Justyce Served'
It looked so much like Bellamy I had to ask the artist about it. Sure enough it turns out Tim Keable's influences certainly include Bellamy. But I also felt that this looked like something I'd seen by Kelly Freas, the famous American SF artist. Why did I think this?

Kelly Freas 'Lorelei of the mist' borrowed from

I'd seen the above many years ago and thought although obviously not Bellamy it had an aspect of his work and this helped me to think about FB's work in better terms.Look at the square thumb, the hairy arm, the impressionistic 'slashes' of lines and the shadowy implied figure, oh, and there's a naked woman.

Frank Bellamy: Radio Times17 June - 23 June 1972, p.12
Compare the above to Tim's drawing and you see immediate inspiration. The above was drawn by Bellamy to accompany The Quatermass experiment a programme about Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Hammer Horror films. "The blob that won the Queen's Award" was the byeline under the picture - sorry for the awful photocopy.

Frank Bellamy: Radio Times 11 - 17 May 1974, p.54
Another Bellamy extended arm, in this piece to accompany  The Movie Quiz Late horror show "Can you escape the icy grip of the Movie Quiz late horror show: 11.12?"

After asking Tim about this, he kindly wrote back to me regarding this work:
The brief was to do a Doctor Who illustration that couldn't have the Tardis or Daleks or anything that might be deemed as copyright material. That's why that box with the light on top might just be a rectangular spaceship passing in front of a big star! As to my influences you're right. Frank's RT horror pix are among my very favourite of his illustrations. Yes, Kelly Freas too.  I did the art on white scraperboard which allowed me to scrape away highlights much as Kelly Freas did.I think Frank used this technique and surface for some of those early magazine illustrations he did in the 1950s There's a pic of a lizard that springs to mind [Norman: see FB and Lilliput].I was also influenced by another Analog artist called called George Schelling. If you Google him you'll see that he shares a similar approach to his work that Frank had.

Frank Bellamy: Radio Times 29 May - 4 June 1971
 Frank Bellamy was extraordinary in so many ways. Firstly, as a comics artist the number one priority is clarity of storytelling. Frank always achieved this and then delivered a page that always had so much design going on there too.Then there is the impeccable draughtsmanship. Second to none in my opinion. He always knew when to apply the "less is more" principle and in most cases his drawings are much simpler than they look.This applies to his colour work as well. Often he used a very limited palette to achieve his desired result. Take the RT cover "Movie Crazy Years": Mostly brown but with a touch of green in there with very little red, yellow or blue to be seen. Add to this the speed at which he (and his contemporaries to be fair) had to work. There are few around today who could deliver this quality of work within the time frame. Often when I'm struggling I'll ask "How would Frank have got over this problem?" and it always helps! Once again Norman I'd like to congratulate you on a wonderful site. Keep up the good work! Kind wishes,Tim.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions Tim and to allow me to add some new pictures to the blog.

Friday 10 August 2012

Original Art: Garth on eBay - The Orb of Trimandias

F98 The Orb of Trimiandias

Tweedacademy has added a Garth original to his three large colour artworks that are currently up for grabs.The opening bid is 99p and the auction ends 19 August 2012.

This comes from the story The Orb of Trimandias (which has been reprinted in the following: The Daily Mirror Book of Garth, London: IPC Limited, 1975,  Garth Book One: The cloud of Balthus London: Titan Books, 1984  and in the fan publication Menomonee Falls Gazette #67 (26 March 1973) - #83 (16 July 1973) but was originally seen in the Daily Mirror (28 January 1972 - 22 May 1972 - F24-F121)and was written by Jim Edgar.

The story has Garth appearing as Lord Richard Carthewan in the time of the Borgias and having his portrait drawn by Leonardo da Vinci! Leonardo also shows Lord Carthewan a portrait of a beautiful woman which of course is Garth's old time travelling companion Astra.

Tweedacademy's description:

Now here is an outstanding example of the black and white strip work that Frank Bellamy did for the Daily Mirror on 'Garth', a great action piece from 1975 (strip number F98). This from a story called 'The Orb of Trimandias' where Garth gets to meet Leonardo da Vinci and the Borgias in 17th century Florence. A nice very touch here, the fact that the central panel is wordless and is a wonderful example of Garth in all his historical glory. As you can see he's having a little trouble with the locals, time for a bit of swashbuckling eh!

UPDATE:  £233.01 (23 bids) (August  2012)