Li-An, French comics (bande-dessinees) and illustrations

Li-An, French comics (bande-dessinees) and illustrations

[For some time, I’ve wanted to feature more comics artists from non-English speaking countries — particularly Belgian and French comics (bandes-dessinées) — but I’ve been put off by the challenges of providing links to images and information across language barriers. With this article, I’m going to try a method of providing both original language and Google Translate links to relevant sites and pages.]

Li-An (Jean-Michel Meyer) is a French comics artist perhaps best known for his work on The Tschai Cycle (Le Cycle de Tschaï) (Google Translate link), a multi-volume graphic album adaptation of four novels by Jack Vance (Planet of Adventure) in cooperation with writer Jean-David Morvan.

Li-An was influenced early on by French comics artists like André Franquin and Jean Giraud (Moebius – link to my articles), and his style has developed in a manner in keeping with the aesthetics of Franco-Belgian comics, a clear fresh alternative to the sometimes overworked styles in many mainstream American comics.

Li-An has also worked on numerous other comics projects, from science fiction to documentary to adaptations of classic literature, like Guy de Maupassant’s Famous short story, Boule de Suif (Translate), also with Jean-David Morvan.

Among his other documentary style graphic stories are a fictionalized account of Gauguin’s time in Tahiti (Translate), and a biography of Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain (Translate), part of a series on the history of the Guerlain perfume house.

You will find pages and images from these and other projects on Li-An’s Blog (Translate) under the heading of “Mon Travail” (My Work).

His blog in general covers other topics, including articles on other comics and comics creators, under the topic BD (bandes-dessinées) – (Translate). You can also filter the blog posts to show blog posts about Li-An’s own work (Translate), as well as some of his online comics (Translate).

Li-An’s blog is extensive, and worth exploring. Once you enter by way of a Google translate link, the system should continue to provide paths to translated pages.


Eye Candy for Today: The corner of the villa, by Edward John Poynter

The corner of the villa, by Edward John Poynter

The corner of the villa, by Edward John Poynter (details)

The corner of the villa, Edward John Poynter

Oil on canvas, roughly 24 x 24 inches (62 x 62 cm); link is to Wikimedia Commons; their image comes from a sale through Sotheby’s in 2007, so I assume the original is currently in a private collection.

In this finessed composition, Victorian era painter Edward Poynter give us luxuriously draped figures, a marbled and tiled interior, mosaics, a fountain, potted plants, elements of still life, and of course, birds.


Hugh Bolton Jones

Hugh Bolton Jones landscape paintings
Hugh Bolton Jones lanscape paintings

Hugh Bolton Jones Was an American landscape painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he began his art education at the Maryland Institute. He traveled and painted in Europe for four years, primarily in France, where he was introduced to the practice of plein air painting.

On his return, he shared a studio in New York with his brother, Francis Coates Jones, who was noted for his paintings of elegant figures in gardens and interiors.

Hugh Bolton Jones approached his early landscapes with a sharp, detailed realism that showed the influence of Frederic Edwin Church and the Hudson River School of American painting. In his middle and later work his style became more painterly and poetic, showing the European influence of the Barbizon painters and the French Impressionists.

He often painted with controlled value ranges, particularly in his paintings of early spring meadows, in which the tree foliage consists of delicate whisps against the sky.

In the latter part of his career, critics dismissed him as “predictable” for his continued devotion to the scenes he loved of streams, woods and fields in New Jersey and Massachussetts. Some of those “predictable” landscapes are among my personal favorites in American painting.


Hendrick Goltzius, The Resurrection

The Resurrection, from The Passion of Christ, Hendrik Goltzius, engraving

The Resurrection, from The Passion of Christ, Hendrik Goltzius, engraving (details)

The Resurrection, from The Passion of Christ, Hendrik Goltzius,

Engraving, roughly 8 x 5 inches (20 x 13 cm), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hendrick Goltzius was a German born Dutch printmaker, draftsman and painter active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Among his other accomplishments was a folio of prints depicting The Passion of Christ, from which this is an instance of The Resurrection.

Like most prints, there are multiple impressions of this one, the Met itself appears to have a second version, and there is one from the collection of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art that can be viewed i more detail on the Google Art Project.

The figure of Jesus is less than prominent in the composition than the foreground figures of the soldiers guarding the tomb, the foremost of which seems almost oblivious to the events behind him. The figure looks posed, and it’s highly likely that Goltzius had a model to work from.

The artist’s engraving lines, though solidly placed on the foundation of his superb draftsmanship, have a casual quality more in common with etching or pen and ink than engraving. Goltzious was also an accomplished pen artist.

I really admire his use of line in the depiction of drapery, particularly in the figure of the angel, and the contrast with his hatching on the stone and dirt surfaces.


Mac Smith, Scurry

Mac Smith, Scurry comic

Mac Smith, Scurry comic

Mac Smith is is a concept artist and illustrator who has largely put aside his work in the gaming industry to concentrate on his own comics project.

Scurry is a post-apocalyptic survival story in which the protagonists are mice. The setting is an abandoned house and the surrounding woods, now mysteriously devoid of humans. With the disappearance of the humans has gone the availability of food their presence provided.

The mouse colony, within which Smith has developed distinct characters and political factions, is faced with the dangers of moving vs. the inevitable decline of food supplies. Scouts are sent out, facing terrifying challenges in the form of cats, wolves, birds of prey and the other dangers that real mice might encounter. These are seen largely in upshots, from the point of view of the mice.

This is the setting in which Smith unwinds his story, told with the cinematic acumen of an experienced concept artist, and beautifully drawn and rendered, with nicely textural attention to naturalistic environments. I particularly enjoy the way he handles rain, mist and similar atmospheric scenes.

Scurry can be read online as a webcomic, which Smith has been supporting through Patreon, offering, among other things, tutorials, walk-throughs and PSD files as perks for supporters.

Smith has also been offering Scurry as a series of printed graphic stories, two of which are available as both hardback and paperback. He is currently raising funds for the third book.

You can find examples of his artwork for the strip on his Artstation and deviantART galleries, and some videos and instructional material on YouTube.


Eye Candy for Today: William Hughes grapevines

William Hughes grapevines, oil on canvas

William Hughes grapevines, oil on canvas

Grapevines, White and Grapevines, Red, William Hughes

Two panels of a diptych, oil and gold paint on canvas, each roughly 40 x 17 inches (100 x 44 cm). The source for the images is an auction house, so I assume these are now in a privete collection.

Of the two panels, that of the white grapes fares better in reproduction, revealing the artist’s nicely painterly approach and his use of texture, both in the plant forms and the background.