Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson was a Swedish illustrator and gallery artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Though he also worked in oil and painted large frescos, Larsson was primarily known for his watercolors.

With a deft hand and a light touch, he depicted family and home in particular. In many cases, he used room interiors designed by his wife, Karin, who was an interior designer, and many of his watercolors take as their subjects his own home and family.

Before devoting himself to his most famous domestic scenes, he worked as an illustrator. Not very successfully at first, but his popularity shot up when magazines started to more regularly feature color illustrations.

For a short while, he painted en plain air in the Forests of Fontainebleau with members of the Barbizan school.

There are a number of his works in the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts, including frescoes on several walls, but Larsson was disappointed when a painting the museum had commissioned, and for which a particular wall was prepared, was rejected by the museum’s board, apparently a victim of political fighting among various factions of the Swedish art community.

The painting, titled Midvinterblot (Midwinter Sacrifice), was considered by Larsson to be his best work. After refusal by the museum board, it was sold to a Japanese collector, and only a few years ago, was repurchased and permanently hung in its original intended place in the museum.

 
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Brian Ajhar

Brian Ajhar
Brian Ajhar

Brian Ajhar is a well known illustrator and character designer whose wonderfully loopy people and animals, both real and imagined, have enlivened the pages of countless periodicals, children books and animations over the past forty years.

His style can look so loose and gestural as to appear casually done, but if you stop an look, it’s clear that it is his training and skill and his foundation of solid draftsmanship that allow it to appear that way.

In a similar way, his colors can appear bright, but on inspection are actually often muted, made to appear brighter by careful juxtaposition.

Ajhar works in digital as well as traditional media, the latter including watercolor, acrylic, pencils and inks.

There is a gallery of his work on his website, and another on the cite of his artist’s representatives, RappArt.

Ajhar’s website also includes videos and interviews.

 
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Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2021!

JC Leyendeckers Saturday Evening Post New Years Baby cover for 1921
JC Leyendeckers Saturday Evening Post New Years Baby cover for 1921 (details)

As I’ve done every New Year’s Eve for the past 15 years, I’ll wish all Lines and Colors readers a Happy New Year with another of J.C. Leyendecker’s terrific New Year’s Baby covers for the Saturday Evening Post.

Equipped with a pickaxe and shiny lunchpail, our 1921 Leyendecker baby seems ready to get to work in the new year. Let’s hope that’s the case for the rest of us in 2021.

This is the image on the Saturday Evening Post website. There is a larger one here, from this post on Mr. Magazine.

See my 2006 post for background on the origin of the Leyendecker New Years baby covers for the Saturday Evening Post.

No matter what else happens, I wish you all a new year filled with beautiful, inspiring art!

 
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Beleaguered Leyendecker Santa

J.C. Leyendecker Santa Claus Saturday Eevening Post cover
J.C. Leyendecker Santa Claus Saturday Eevening Post cover

Another wonderful Saturday Evening Post Santa Claus cover by the brilliant American illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, who I think played a major role in forming our modern image of the Jolly One.

Here, he is portrayed as not so jolly as he fends off the unwanted attention of the house’s stalwart defender, who apparently doesn’t recognize “Santa” under his costume and strap-on beard as he attempts to put up decorations.

This illustration from Leyendecker, who worked primarily in the early part of the 20th century was reprinted here on a 1993 issue. I don’t know the date of its original publication.

The only large copy of this image I could find was on Pinterest. The Pinterest post is here, the image itself is here.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Anton Pieck’s The Roof Painter

The Roof Painter, Anton Pieck
The Roof Painter, Anton Pieck

The Roof Painter, Anton Pieck

20th century Dutch illustrator, printmaker and gallery artist Anton Pieck was noted for his charming winter scenes. Here, he shows an artist, perhaps meant to be a representation of Pieck himself, finding a view of the town that requires him to climb to a roof peak. A boy brings him hot soup while a cat casually takes in the activity.

This was one of a series of graphics sometimes referred to as his Christmas Cards, that were actually intended as New Year’s cards.

 
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Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine, New Yorker cover, Dec 7, 2020
Adrian Tomine, New Yorker cover, Dec 7, 2020

Originally from California, Adrian Tomine is an illustrator and cartoonist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Tomine has taken to his adopted city so well that he has become a reader favorite contributor to the New Yorker.

His New Yorker covers, as well as many of his other illustrations and drawings, have that wonderful combination of evocative artwork and wry observation that exemplify the best of the magazine’s cover art. His artwork uses a streamlined line and color fill approach, reminiscent of the European ligne claire style of comics art.

As a case in point, his cover for the new December 7, 2020 issue of the New Yorker (images above, top) pretty well catches the whimsical side of the 2020 zeitgeist.

The New Yorker has a wonderful new online feature called Cover Story in which they give you background on the creation of the current issue’s cover; here is the one for Tomine’s December 7, 2020 cover.

Tomine is the author/illustrator of a number of books of drawings and comics, many of which are published by Drawn & Quarterly, and the latest of which is The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Bookshop.org link).

There is a video overview of some of his titles by “panellogy 080” on YouTube.

Tomine’s website contains examples of his illustrations and information about his books and comics, as well as offering prints and original art for sale.

Unfortunately, his online gallery is of the wearisome “pop up and close, pop up and close” variety, which discourages casual browsing, and the images offered are small. You might find it helpful to augment your visit to his website with this Google image search I’ve set up for Tomine’s work on newyorker.com.

 
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