Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday... the Pure Genius of Noel Sickles!

Only time for a brief post today. I'm jammed on deadlines this week... inking El Diablo and writing Blood Red.

But, I do have time to post one of the more spectacular pieces from my collection, a great illustration by one of the true legends of modern illustration and comic art, Noel Sickles.

I've already discussed the fact that Sickles shared a studio with Milt Caniff during the great early period of Terry and the Pirates. At the same time, Sickles was doing amazing work on his own groundbreaking strip, Scorchy Smith. After a relatively short run (about three years) on Scorchy, Sickles left the funnies behind to become an illustrator. Jesus... did he ever.

The guy drew like a sonofabitch. His sense of design was bold and innovative. He could ink like a master, and he handled tones and color well. He was the absolute entire package. He was a hero to any number of other fantastic artists, including Alex Toth, who may have been his most vocal booster.

The piece I own is so incredibly rich. There is something going on in every square inch of this piece, but the eye lands on the focal points comfortably before drifting to other eye candy. The inking (or painting, if you like) technique separates the planes of the picture with great clarity. Look at the boldness of the foreground luggage, and then compare that to the crispness of the middle ground, or the casual handling of the background elements.

I also love the textures in this piece. Look at the train. The shine of the lamp contrasts so brilliantly with the smoke. It's all handled perfectly, and none of it looks labored.

I could stare at this piece all day, and never tire of it. It hangs in a spot in my studio where I can see it from both my drafting table and computer workstation. It is a constant source of inspiration.

Oh... and I'm not selling it to Howard Chaykin anytime real soon, no matter how nicely he asks. ;)

That's enough outta me. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more Thursday!



Chris Spicer said...

Wow! Nice score there Ande! What's the size?

Hope you're doing well.


alan said...

Just found this blog, Ande, and have trawled the archive. What a find; I'll definitely check regularly. You post great work in gorgeously large size and I love your enthusiasm. Plus, you share my respect for guys who can render suits and hair!
BTW, I enjoyed very much your Capote novella, with Chris Samnee

grantbond said...

this is gorgeous.