Sunday, September 20, 2020

Copies of Heads by Classic Illustrators

Copying of heads in oil by Golden Age illustrators helped me understand all the technical decisions they made that led to each of their recognizable styles.

1. Haddon Sundblom / Robert Bonfils. Quaker Oats man. Low frontal plus edge lighting. Bristle filberts only. Stroke direction and weaving. Similar to Zorn, Sargent, Sorolla.

2. Dean Cornwell. Bristle flats, stand oil, decorative geometry. Darks first transparently. Opaque lights last. More like Brangwyn.

3. J.C. Leyendecker. Soft transitions contrasting with clear crisp strokes. Cut background last. Slippery medium.

4. Norman Rockwell. Indirect frontal light. Stroke module tightens down for significant details. Green/red palette. Subtle caricature everywhere. 


A Colonel of Truth said...

James, if you do not already own a copy of Sundbloom’s ‘Dreams of Santa’ then recommend. Beautiful!

Gizmo said...

Jeff Watts of Watts Atelier did a fantastic workshop copying styles of old illustrators as well. Learned a lot myself by doing this.

Paul Sullivan said...

James—that Leyendecker copy looks like Ol' JC himself painted it! There's no better way to learn that copying.