Saturday, October 27, 2012

Illustrator of the Week: Elwood Smith

Elwood H. Smith was born in Alpena, Michigan on May 23, 1941. He studied art at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the Institute of Design at IIT in Chicago. After spending eight years learning typography and design as an art director for a small publishing company and several advertising agencies, Elwood began his career as a full-time illustrator.

In 1976, heeding the advice of encouraging friends, Elwood moved to New York City, establishing himself as one of the most highly recognizable and well respected professionals in the field of illustration. His illustrations have appeared regularly in Time, Newsweek, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, to name a few.

Smith, whose work is reminiscent of George Herriman's Krazy Kat cartoons of the 1930's, 

says this of his influences and process...

"Years ago, as I studied the technique of the old cartoon line masters, Elzie Segar (Popeye), Billy DeBeck (Barney Google) and George Herriman (Krazy Kat), I came to the conclusion that their choice of drawing tools was the core, the soul of their creations. Sure, they were funny writers and the characters they created and the world the characters inhabited were hilarious and original, but it seemed to me that the thing that made their work distinctive--that made their creations come alive--was the way in which they used their tools of choice. (Okay, I'm exaggerating somewhat to describe the enthusiasm I experienced back when I began to use those old Hunt and Crowquill dip pens.) I could plainly see in Segar's pencil sketches, the soul of Popeye The Sailor Man, but the India ink applied was the breath into the clay. The art remained incomplete until that small metal nib added its old black magic."

"I am enamored with the texture and feel of quality watercolor paper, the rich, flat colors I get from gritty watercolor pigment. Most of all, I value a pen nib that flows and flexes without complaint. I use the computer and the Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet, but I still get a genuine thrill when I feel my Pelikan nib flex against the Arches cold press watercolor paper."

Smith's Pelikan watercolor set:



Watch Elwood at work HERE.

Elwood Smith's WEBSITE.

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