Thursday, August 15, 2013

Prop Collection

In the golden days of historical illustration, artists had large personal collections of props, such as guns, watches, and tableware.

The collections of Harold von Schmidt (above), Ed Vebell, Dean Cornwell, and Howard Pyle were (or in Vebell's case, are) legendary. There were also rental agencies who served illustrators for both props and costumes.

Today, most of the business for prop rentals comes from movie producers. This video (direct link) takes us behind the scenes to one of the largest movie prop rental companies in Los Angeles, called The Hand Prop Room. 

They not only have original artifacts, but they also fabricate high quality replicas and stunt props made of rubber than can be used in action scenes.

Today some of the leading art schools are assembling working collections of props, costumes, and natural history specimens that art students can borrow. This is one of the ways that traditional brick-and-mortar art schools can keep their edge against upstart online art schools.
The Hand Prop Room


David said...

35 years after I started an Illustration career, I am busy trying to shake the notion that saving everything and every picture is a great idea. Sometimes I think the main difference between a hoarder and an illustrator is "shelving and ordering."

Cortney Skinner said...

Great post Jim, Thanks! Yes, Ed Vebell's collection was astounding! Your post is very pertinent to my own illustration career since after forty years, I'm now de-accessing my collection of costumes, militaria, uniforms and odds and ends. Maybe some are ending up at prop houses? - Cort Skinner

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Thank you!

Now the next time somebody says my place looks like a used furniture store, I can tell them Props!

K_tigress said...

David I know how you feel.
I have loads of old calendars I can't bare to throw away since I use these as reference. I also have a few scrap books with pic references I collected before I had internet access. I still add to that collection now and again. I have an odds and ends box and other stuff on shelves and in drawers. I try to keep all of that hidden behind closed doors so to speak. I also take my own pic references via camera. I love collecting the stuff that appeals to me in the name of art but the other side of me hates having too much garbage and clutter. But in the end lucky for me its all in the downstairs studio.

K_tigress said...

BTW in my old calendar collection I have an Dinotopia themed one. ;)
I use to admire that one when it was selling in the mall for Christmas for a few years.

Still one of my favorites and the one that got me in to the stuff.

krystal said...

No way! I'm a hoarder too :( I went to Terpning's exhibit at the Autry a while ago and it was amazing just how much actual Native American regalia he had and how they would reoccur or be used in different paintings. I also met two of his models for paintings. I learned a LOT from his process in his video at the was so humbling the way he would do an entire drawing, do several studies and spend a lot of time on his painting. It makes me wonder as a student what the rush is. One artist this past weekend, whenever he rushes, says "that's the illustrator side of me" (as opposed to fine artist side)