Eye Candy for Today: Dean Cornwell untitled illustration

Dean Cornwell untitled illustration
Dean Cornwell untitled illustration (details)

This painting by the fantastic American Illustrator Dean Cornwell is in the collection of the South Dakota Art Museum. The museum doesn’t have a title or source reference for where the painting was used as an illustration (if it was published), but the painting is wonderful nonetheless.

I haven’t see the original, but I’ve taken the liberty here of brightening the image slightly, just on intuition.

I love the visual drama Cornwell has achieved with such a limited and low chroma palette. The painting is full of interesting textures and muted contrasts.

Look at the depth he has created in the successive planes of the foreground figures, the muted color and texture of he stone wall, and the even lower contrast but brighter background of the picket fence and gate.

Notice also, the strength with which the hands of all three people have been drawn and rendered.

Cornwell was a student of Harvey Dunn, who was in turn a student of the great American painter and illustrator Howard Pyle.


The Artist’s Magazine – Imaginative Realism

The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism
The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism

The March/April issue of The Artists Magazine is devoted to imaginative painting and magical realism. The cover and lead article feature the beautiful painting by James Gurney shown in the images above, and a step-through of his process in creating it.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this particular painting in person, and it’s a strikingly beautiful example of Gurney at his best in combining the styles of the Victorian painters with modern fantasy subjects. (Imagine if you will, Lawrence Alma-Tadema painting dinosaurs!)

This is a very good issue of a good magazine. Unfortunately, the Artists Network website, for reasons that elude me, is not very effective in promoting the physical magazine. (They don’t clearly associate the cover with a list of contents and excerpts specific to that issue, and from there link to the ordering page.)

If you’re fortunate enough to have a bookstore in your area that carries a relatively wide array of magazines, you may still be able to find a copy.

You can order a physical copy here, and a digital copy here.

You can also access Gurney’s article, complete with images, online if you’re willing to give them your email address. You can link to the article from this page, and once on this page, enter your email address and you’ll have immediate access to the article.

The entire issue (and the magazine in general), are worthwhile.

James Gurney was a particularly appropriate artist to tap for this issue, given that he’s the author of an excellent book devoted to the subject: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint what Doesn’t Exist (Lines and Colors review here).


Julia Hill

Julia Hill pen and ink
Julia Hill pen and ink

Julia Hill is an illustrator based in Devon, England who works primarily in pen and ink, using fine-line markers. Her main subject is animals, both domestic and small wild. She also indulges in whimsical fantasy illustrations with animals in human clothing and situations.

Her website is basically her store, so her primary online gallery appears to be her space on DoodleAddicts.

Some of the entries on the DoodleAddicts site include process step-throughs, and more information about her choice of pens and paper. She works with a lot of fine hatching to create tones and textures.

The DoodleAddicts website also offers a short interview with the artist, in which she also talks about her materials.

Etsy UK


Interview on DoodleAddicts


Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2022!

Leyendecker Baby New Years 1922
Leyendecker Baby New Years 1922

As I’ve done every New Year’s Eve since 2006, I’ll wish Lines and Colors readers a Happy New Year with one of American illustrator J. C. Leyendecker’s wonderful New Year’s covers for the Saturday Evening Post, in this case from 1922.

Leyendecker was the first to represent the new year as a baby (originally — and occasionally afterward — a cherub) in his illustration for the SEP New Year’s cover in 1906. Over the following three plus decades, his New Year’s covers made the idea into one of our cultural icons.

His New Year’s babies were often involved in some way in the events of the year. In this case, our 1922 baby is marking the recent signing of the U.S.-German Peace Treaty after the end of WWI by salting the tail of the Dove of Peace. Salting a bird’s tail was thought to render the bird incapable of flying away.

The image at top is a digitally restored version of the image from the cover that is being offered as a print by FineArtAmerica. Below it is the cover reproduction from the Saturday Evening Post site.

Whatever else happens this year, may you find joy and inspiration in the great art of the past and present, and in the creation of art yet to be seen!


Christophe Vacher (update)

Christophe Vacher
Christophe Vacher

Christophe Vacher is a French painter and concept designer who I first wrote about back in 2007. He has worked for studios like Disney, Dreamworks, ad Universal, and his movie credits include titles like Dinosaur, Hercules, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, Enchanted and Dispicable Me.

On his website, you will find examples his personal and professional work in both traditional and digital media, as well as sketches and preliminary designs. On the “Technique” page, you will find a step-though and process notes for the panting shown above, bottom.

In addition to his imaginative design and refined rendering, I particularly enjoy the way he conveys a sense of scale and grandeur in many of his images.

There is a collection of his work available on Amazon, which can be accessed through this page. Some of his original art is available through his galleries on Saatchiart and Singulart.


J. C. Leyendecker’s wide awake Santa

Santa drinks coffee illustration by JC Leyendecker
Santa drinks coffee illustration by JC Leyendecker (detail)

Well, here’s something I didn’t know: coffee perks you up! — at least, according to this ad from the December 16, 1940 issue of Life magazine, delightfully illustrated by J. C. Leyendecker.

Apparently, Santa is WIDE AWAKE in this ad from the Pan American coffee producers. This is an advertisement for coffee in general, rather than a specific brand, back when they apparently had to convince Americans to drink coffee!

According to the text: “For sound scientific reasons, it brightens conversation, makes mind and muscles more alert — lifts up the spirits when you’re tired.”

And Santa, let me tell you — after sipping this remarkable beverage — is READY for something!

I have long suggested that, in building on the contributions of Thomas Nast and Reginald Birch, the brilliant American illustrator J. C. Leyendecker is the artist who contributed most to the characterization of Santa Claus as we recognize him, and provided the basis for later contributions by Norman Rockwell, Haddon Sundblom, N. C. Wyeth and others.

This copy of the image is sourced from the Vintascope blog, which is devoted to “vintage illustration, advertising and ephemera”.

Merry Christmas!