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I recently discovered beautiful naturalist sketches by the British artist, engraver and book illustrator, Charles Tunnicliffe. These images are such an inspiration for a series of woodpecker illustrations I’m working on at the moment. I love seeing the sketches from talented artists and learning about their process.

Here’s a brief biography, for more information please see the Charles Tunnicliffe Society (watch out for all the ‘Comic Sans’ though!):

Tunnicliffe spent most of his working life on the isle of Anglesey. He was born in 1901 in Langley, Macclesfield, England, and spent his early years living on a farm in nearby Sutton, where he saw much wildlife. After studying at the Macclesfield School of Art he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London, gaining his teaching diploma and a further scholarship to study in the RCA’s new Etching and Engraving School. In 1947 he moved from Manchester to a cottage called “Shorelands” at Malltraeth, on the estuary of the Afon Cefni on Anglesey, where he lived until his death in 1979. The RSPB awarded him its Gold Medal in 1975 and he was also honoured with an OBE in 1978.

He regularly made detailed, measured life-sized paintings from dead birds which were brought to him – over 300 in total. 63 of these are printed in a book called “Tunnicliffe’s Birds” and I believe these are some from the collection. Can’t wait to buy this book! Also I think some of the images bellow are from the two volumes of selections from his sketchbooks, “Sketches of Bird Life” and “A Sketchbook of Birds”. Thanks to the sites Birdly Draw, losgazquez.com & Mouse Notebook for these amazing images.



Recently at OCAD U I gave an assignment to my classes to work on an advertising poster. Starting out in illustration there’s a lot to consider. While students are trying to discover how they work with media, refine technique, and how they solve problems, a focus on design – meaning colour and composition – can sometimes fall by the wayside. Concerning this, I thought the illustrator David Klein (American, 1918-2005) would be such a good source of inspiration. His posters are beautiful. Here is a strong illustrator who thoughtfully considers the layout of the page, inventively playing with montage and the overlapping intricate line work. Even though his shapes are bold, there is still a lovely hand painted quality to them which can sometimes feel lost these days.

Here’s some background on Klein from his site,

“In the 40′s he moved to New York and worked on influential Broadway posters. David Klein is best known, however, for his influential work in the field of travel advertising. During the 1950s and 1960s, David Klein designed and illustrated dozens of posters for Howard Hughes’ Trans World Airlines (TWA). David’s use of bright colors depicting famous landmarks in an abstract style defined the state of poster art of the period. In 1957 a TWA poster of New York City became part of the permanent collection of the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York. These works are much imitated and to this day define the excitement and enthusiasm of the early years of post-war air travel. They defined the Jet Set style and have become iconic.”

Check out his site to see more of these posters, his Broadway poster designs, and other illustrations. Some samples of his other beautiful work is shown at the end of this post.

Chinese Comic November 19th, 2010

Here’s a comic I bought at an outdoor antique market in Shanghai. I think it’s a reprint of an older serial. Love the line quality, especially since the printing is imperfect. Wish I had picked up some more at the time! It’s deteriorating a bit right now so I’m happy I scanned it before it vanished. If anyone can translate any of this, please do! I’ll add more of the pages at a later time.