Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Robert Fawcett - Draftsman Extrordinaire

I received the book "Robert Fawcett - The Illustrator's Illustrator" for Christmas this year and boy is it a beauty. With insightful text by illustration aficionado and intellectual property lawyer David Apatoff, this book comes to life with hundreds of eye popping images by Fawcett.

I was aware of Fawcett's work from my history of illustration classes, but this book brings a whole new appreciation for the quality and draftsmanship that Fawcett produced. Born near London in 1903, his family moved to Winnepeg , Canada while he was a young boy. Popular magazine illustrations by the likes of Howard Pyle and N.C.Wyeth sparked young Robert's interest in picture making.

Fawcett was largely self taught, spending only two years of formal art training at the Slade School of Art in London. This volume documents his rise to the top if the American illustration ranks after abandoning a short career as a "fine artist". Apparently not being able to stomach the "commercial side of fine art", he determined to earn a living doing "honest commercial work".

Fawcett felt there really was no line between fine art and commercial work insisting that an illustrator was just as capable of creating quality work as a gallery painter was of creating mediocre work. As far as his own work was concerned, Fawcet said, "everything I do is fine art".

Opinionated and often brash, Fawcett commanded top prices at the height of his career that stretched from his return to the United States in 1924 until his death in 1967. Though he never took a course on human anatomy, It would be difficult to argue that there has ever been an illustrator with stronger skills in draftsmanship and narrative composition than Fawcett.

This book showcases all of his formidable skill in stunning fashion.Particularly of interest in the book are some of the sidebar details that describe Fawcett's style and working methods as well as a reprint of a Famous Artist Magazine interview with Fawcett from 1960.

Anyone with an affinity for great drawing and gorgeous mid-century illustration will want to pick up this volume. Also check out the other great art and illustration books from Auad Publishing at the link below.

Auad Publishing's website
Another post on Fawcett by David Apatoff on Today's Inspiration

1 comment:

Lance Bauer said...

I remember learning about him because his painting methods are shown in the older Famous Artist Course books. I should look into this book you mentioned.