I found this drawing in the same file as the artwork for Gotham Adventures #33. I don’t recall doing it. Given where it was stored, it must have been done in 2001, possibly as a try-out for the Catwoman book, which was available after Darwyn Cooke left it to develop “The New Frontier”. This drawing is a re-do of one of the climactic panels from “Batman: Born on the Fourth of July” which I had illustrated for DC’s special projects division back in 1994.
The primary difference between this illustration and the panel in BBotFoJ is that Catwoman is drawn in the (then) new costume designed by Darwyn Cooke rather than the (then) old one designed by Bruce Timm.
This is my latest acquisition. It is page 30 from Motion Picture Comics 106, adapting Columbia Picture’s Western drama, “The Texas Rangers”, starring George Montgomery and Gale Storm. The comic was published by Fawcett Publications in 1951. The artwork is “attributed to Bill Ward”, by Heritage Auctions, where I made the winning bid on December 26, 2016. The hammer price was $130.00. I feel that I got a bargain. Heritage had been auctioning off a page a week from this book for the previous month prior, and I had let all of them slip through my fingers. Oh well, one can’t buy everything.
In my opinion, Ward's pages for this book compare favorably to then-contemporary work by the team of Severin and Elder. Bill Ward’s Wikipedia bio says that he took over the “Blackhawks” comic from Reed Crandall; I can believe it. He seems like a good stylistic fit. It’s trip to think that this book was illustrated by Bill Ward, mostly known for his “gird girl” art on “Torchy” and “Humorama” from the mid-50’s onward.
Panel 1: The pose on the man on the left looks like early 50’s John Romita Sr. I really like the inking on this figure, especially the way rim lighting is subtly suggested. I love the subtle use of dry brush, especially on the chaps.
Panel 2: I’m not wild about the posing but, again, I really like the inking, the way back/double lighting is subtly suggested in the modeling of the drapery and the occasional use of dry brush.
Panel 3: Yeah, it’s a train, whatever. Yawn. The inks for the background elements aren’t as good as on the figures, so panels like this suffer.
Panel 4: Cool composition, good use of eye-read. The inks on the figures are great, the BG elements less so. Nice dry brush on the horse. But those BG cliffs are gnarly.
Panel 5: Cool panel, great composition. It would make a cool postcard.
Panel 6: Hmmm. Cool is some ways. Good composition, but needs tweaking. The left gunman’s gun disappears into the train’s cow catcher. The inks on the BG train are more dynamic than the FG horsemen. Ditto with the rock/cactus grouping in mid-panel; more dynamic than the horsemen. Nice inks on the horse haunches though.
Oh well, I guess Ward isn’t as good as Severin and Elder. Still, there’s many things I like in this page.
While digging through a sketchbook/journal, I found the originals to the Lauren Bacall portrait sketches I posted on January 8, 2017. The images I posted on the 8th were taken from photocopies I had made using the Warner Animation copy machine, hence the high quality. Apparently I hadn’t bothered to copy these two pages, not feeling them to be of sufficient quality. I rather like them now, especially the first one.
I’ve discover recently that I frequently like old artwork better than I did originally; at the time of production I tend to be hung up on how well artworks match either the object I’m trying to reproduce or what I saw in my head. At a remove of several years, I no longer remember those things and so am free to appreciate the works on their own merits. Unless I draw better now than I did then. Which stopped being the case around 1987. I don’t draw any better now than I did then, but I can draw more things and draw them faster and with greater ease. I guess that’s around the time that I gained mastery as a draftsman.
I found this drawing in a sketchbook/journal from 1993. This drawing is of my late husband, John Callahan (technically speaking, we became legal domestic partners in 2000, but never actually tied the knot). At the time I drew him, he would have been in his mid/late 40’s, 10 years younger than I am now.
I found this in a sketchbook/journal from 1993. It’s a sketch from a freeze-frame of Bette Davis from the movie “Jezebel”. I believe it was done with a Japanese fountain brush dispensing water based ink, hence the artful smearing.
I saw “Jezebel” for the first time in 1981, at the New Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles. Earlier in the day, I had done my weekly comics buy, which included the then-latest issue of Frank Miller’s “Daredevil”, which I hadn’t had time to read before going to the movies.
I mention this because it goes a long way toward demonstrating how one’s tastes can change over time. I was so uninvolved in “Jezebel”, and so into what Miller was doing on “Daredevil”, that I left the theatre in the middle of the movie, went out to the lobby to read the comic book, then went back into the theatre to watch the remainder of the movie.
Nowadays, I find it difficult to look at Miller’s artwork, and “Jezebel” is one of my favorite movies. The director, William Wyler, is one of my 10 favorite directors, especially for the movies he made with Bette Davis (“Jezebel”, “Little Foxes”, and “The Letter”).