Lines and Colors art blog

Barry Windsor-Smith

Barry Windsor-Smith
Barry Windsor-Smith is a British comic book artist and illustrator who initially made a name for himself in American comics with his art for the Marvel Comics’ adaptations of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories in the 1970’s.

Windsor-Smith (often simply referred to in print as “BWS”) was heavily influenced by the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and Art Nouveau and he was the first bring those sensibilities to American comic book art in a significant way. His fluid penwork and hatching style also shows the influence of pen and ink illustrators of Authurian legends like Howard Pyle.

In the years since his Conan debut, BWS has illustrated a number of notable comics stories for Marvel, as well as well as some lost gems. (A personal favorite of mine is a 4-issue run on a series called Machine Man, that had terrific coloring as well as ink work by Windsor-Smith.) He has also done work for other comics companies like Valiant, Malibu and Dark Horse, where he created an oversize format series called Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller. He has published prints and drawings under his own imprint, Gorblimey Press. He was also a member of the legendary Studio in New York that included Jeff Jones, Berni Wrightson and Michael Kaluta.

Fantagraphics Books is publishing a beautifully-produced multi-volume set called Opus, that showcases some of Windsor-Smith’s best work over the course of his career.

Another of his lost comic book gems was a one-shot story in Marvel Fanfare #15, featuring The Thing from The Fantastic Four, that is probably one of the best stories ever done with that character. BWS has created a new Thing graphic album due from Marvel some time this year. There is a brief preview of it on Comic Book Galaxy.

There is a fan-created Barry Windor-Smith Unofficial Blog (in Spanish, Google English translation here) that follows BWS activities.

You can also find some nice drawings by Windsor-Smith on the Artistic Interpretations of Literary Figures site, which I profiled in October of last year.


4 responses to “Barry Windsor-Smith”

  1. Nathan Shinder Avatar
    Nathan Shinder

    Darn! The things that I should have bought when I had a chance! In this case I was a phongraph record, the Byrds ‘preflight’, that had a pencil drawing on the cover by BWS. (before the cover was changed to a photo of something else.) Talk about a drawing! This was before I had a clue who BWS was& I saw it with my friend Steve Diamond in the record shop. I still think about bying the record sometimes on EBAY. Though I only want to look at it, not play it!!!!

  2. Yeah. My copy of Preflyte is the photo one too (eggs in the nest). I didn’t know about the BWS version until much later.

  3. Jason LaPlant Avatar
    Jason LaPlant

    This artist is incredible.

  4. […] The Studio, a renowned group of illustrators and comics artists in the 1970′s that included Barry Windsor-Smith, Berni Wrightson and Michael William Kaluta, Jones had been called “the greatest living […]