Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ron Embleton 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAs I've mentioned before, Ron Embleton is one of my childhood artistic heroes and someone (I have come to realize) who has had a major subconscious influence on me and my work.

Yesterday, I found myself holding an original picture of his and I was awestruck by the beauty of it! The reproductions of his work that I had seen so frequently in magazines when I was growing up - Once Upon a Time, World of Wonder and Look & Learn - are beautiful, but had in no way prepared me for the sheer meticulous perfection of his original paintings!

This picture is one that I particularly remember. I'd thought he must have first completed a picture in shaded grey inks, then layered watercolours over that, but now I'm convinced he painted in gouache (with limited transparency) and layered the colours themselves, which I find staggering to contemplate given how much of this work he must have produced in an average week.

The tiny brushstrokes and detailed linework really had to be seen to be believed. My gut reaction is that there is no-one who could produce work like this now (though hopefully I'm being unfair, but I doubt it). I would say, with reasonable certainty, that there isn't a current illustrator of this calibre working in Australia. At any rate, my appreciation for the glorious work of this underrated and underappreciated artist has grown even further, and I didn't think that could happen!

Also, I'm happy that there are a few of us working in the area of creating continuous adventure stories for a young audience right now - Embleton (and some of his contemporaries) are probably one reason for that!

(Picture is (c) Copyright to Ron Embleton, and the publishers of Once Upon a Time and Disneyland magazines)


indeed a masterpiece-and who could well define the details in it but you-one of those who have been truly inspired by his artworks. it's nice of you to share a part of yourself. it is truly an inspiring post!
Hi Ian,
Found the pic and comments on Embleton interesting. My only real exposure to his work was "Oh, Wicked Wanda!" in Penthouse in the '70s.
Thanks Isay!

Anonymous, I was wondering when someone was going to bring up Oh, Wicked Wanda! :). I only found about about Wanda recently, so it was a bit of a surprise to me, though all these artists (Embleton, Don Lawrence, etc.) worked in comics before and during their children's mag work, so Embleton returning to painted strip work makes sense.

I hope he won't be remembered as a pornographer (Wanda is light and fluffy with a satirical edge along with all the nudity), and his range of work included substantial (authoritative) historical illustration and nature illustration, as well as the amazing amount of his consistent high quality work for children's books and magazines.
I love the colors. This is very well done!
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i used to work at tv21 comic years ago, and i remember ron using guage to paint with. a truly fantastic artist,his art was so neat and clean, it was just perfect.
John, thanks for this! I'd come to the conclusion it must be gouache, because of the opaque blocking out Ron has used in this picture, but he also must have been able to thin it very consistently for overlays - yet another facet to his substantial technical skills!

As you say, his work is really neat and clean - I'd never seen original artwork quite as sharp and meticulous!
yes ian he thinned it down and probably coated it with fixative, another great of mine was frank bellamy, the printing does not do their work justice,
Fixative is a good tip for layering gouache, I reckon (actually, the original of this pic has some flaking on the white paint).

Wow! I most remember Bellamy for the newspaper strip Garth, but his style was evident in so much stuff I read as a kid! Something I'm curious to know - did Bellamy and Embleton ever use assistants on work? I'm guessing they probably didn't, but I'd love to know, as they turned out so much and it was all first class!
no they drawed the illustrations all by themselfs.
if you want to see some of my work..? you can find it on the john buscema tribute site..http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnbuscematribute . and look for billydudleyyellow..thats me , all the best from john in the united kingdom.
Thanks, John! The pieces in the Buscema group are excellent - top pro work in the traditional Big John style. You do particularly good (even definitive) Batman and Conan - top figures and shadows, but also subtle expressions - terrific stuff!

Don't worry about the doubled messages - it happens to me too - I'll clear and duplicates (and spam) off at some point...
thanks for your kind words, your pretty good your self.it's nice to hear a kind word from someone the other side of the world. thanks ian.
you can see more of my art on the jack kirby forum if you want, kind regards john britton.
sorry that was kirby fan,s the same site as the other one. you have to keep remembering all these different site,s .
John, your colour work rocks, but then I'm not a bit surprised - you've evidently got a good eye for composition! I particularly like that Eric Clapton cover - an excellent piece in every way.

There's a great Kirby element in your supers work, but your style is still distinctly original. These are all fine looking pieces indeed! I think you capture these heroes and humanise them at the same time - that's a real gift.

I remember some comics artist getting exposed for plagiarising Kirby - there was a good writeup in an issue of The Comics Journal some years ago (I can't lay hands on it right now, but it had an Elfquest picture on the cover).
great to hear some positive views on my work,i have started drawing with a coputer again an like your work that looks like it could be coloured in may be by photo shop looks fantastic.its also good to find some one who likes the style i was brought up on,do you use a tablet to draw any of your illustrations with, and how do you find it to use on your art. do you mix the two together. all the best from john britton.
i think that we all copy someone's art work at some stage in your life.and then you have got your own style which tends to get blended in with it all. its like i play the guitar and i can make it sound like clapton, but as the years have gone by i think i have found my own style and guitar sound, does that make any sense to you its hard to put down into words. but its the same with my art. kind regards from john britton.
its also good to find some one who likes the style i was brought up on

There's a few of us around, but the funny thing is that a lot of artists love those earlier styles, but it doesn't show in their work (not that it necessarily should).

do you use a tablet to draw any of your illustrations with, and how do you find it to use on your art.

I wish! :). I don't own a tablet, and I only got a scanner recently (previously using them elsewhere), so I'm fairly low tech, I guess. I'm getting there. I can see the value of Illustrator (vector art) for certain things, and Photoshop for colouring and effects, but I really think it still comes down to strong original artwork on paper as the foundation.

That said, guys like Joseph Brudlow (http://www.alpha-shade.com) who work purely with tablet vector art - he uses Flash - amaze me!

do you mix the two together.

Lately, yes. I often scan a black and white page at 300 or 600dpi, then add the greytones, colours and sometimes text, in Paintshop (which is not really and ideal programme for print, but it's cheap and I know it really well).

i think that we all copy someone's art work at some stage in your life.

I haven't done this since I was young, and probably more influenced in my writing, though even then I often don't know by what. The main thing is that whatever your creative vocabulary, it's thoroughly filtered in your work - a lot of young artists seem to just regurgitate recent stuff they've seen, even from each other - which is distressing to see! I also think that's destructive to their own creativity.

That's different from what you're talking about, which is learning the major lessons from the masters!

its like i play the guitar and i can make it sound like clapton, but as the years have gone by i think i have found my own style and guitar sound

I haven't quite yet on the guitar, but I think I try to play it like the piano :). My favourite thing lately is alternative tunings, but I'm really trying to stay away from music, as I can get obsessed with it and find no time to draw :).

does that make any sense to you its hard to put down into words. but its the same with my art.

I hope I understood you right, but I totally agree! All forms of creativity are inter-related and it just sort of spills out in whatever form. I spent far too many years on music (one reason for my nearly 15 year hiatus from drawing).
yes your a bit like me in some ways. i play the guitar in different tuning.G.D.Eb.all kinds it adds a nice ring.but like your self that strip you did of the artist getting ,going to his drawing table, having a drink, poping to the kitchen for some dinner, and ending up not putting anything down on his drawing board was excellent spot on fantastic stuff. by the way i put some more art of mine on the otjer john buscema pages. 1 @2@3. .thanks for your reply .john britton.
thanks for your kind words.i think we think alike.with colours i think start of basic,just like harry lindfield did,he used to draw the monkees years ago in lady penelope comic. i knew him well.i used to be lucky enough to see them draw. all these styles into my work like one big puzzle,and mix it with my own work. kind regards from john britton.
My name is Siobhan Philbin. My partner has 3 prints of children playing by Ronald Embleton. They are wearing Victorian clothes. He got them years ago from a car boot sale. I am hoping someone can tell me anything about them or if they are worth anything. My e-mail is sioph2002@yahoo.co.uk
Siobhan, these prints are fairly well known work by Ronald Embleton. They're often for sale on eBay and it's likely you'll find a set there now, if you search under "Embleton" at: http://www.ebay.com

I think he hand-coloured some of these, but I don't know if that was all of them or not...

Hope this helps!
i have a print by felix rosenstiel widow and son ltd printed in london 1979 called the sweep by ronald embleton it has his signature in bottom left hand corner and a print number 840/71 printed in great britain can anyone tell me if this i worth anything
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