Sunday, 4 April 2021

Happy Easter from The Art of Diving

 Strange as it may seem, there doesn't seem to be much easter-themed scuba artwork out there (I know, right?!) so a couple of bunnies is the best I can do!

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

The Archie of Diving - Polished Diver and others

 It's been a while since I featured our chums from Riverdale so here's a selection of single and half-pages.

I'm presenting Polished Diver twice because I thought it was interesting to see the different choices made by the colourist(s).



Issue 190 of  Archie's Joke Book Magazine (1973) had gags set mostly at the pool or the beach and several featured scuba diving:

In addition to Archie's Joke Book Magazine there was also Jughead's Jokes and Reggie's "Wise Guy" Jokes. These next two gags are from the first issue of the latter (1968) . Pencils by Al Hartley with inks by John D'Agostino.

This final page is from 1987. Pencils by Stan Goldberg with inks by Rudy Lapick. 

Friday, 26 March 2021

Inside the Wide World of Diving

 The diving features in The Wide World didn't always make the front cover but would still have very nice illustrations inside the magazine and I have a small selection to share with you. (Click for larger images).

Mike Noble is one of my favourite comic artists so I recognised his style as soon as I saw this piece:

You can see more of his Wide World illustrations here. I find it interesting that several of them feature a "rougher" style than I would normally associate with him but the one I've posted here looks much closer to his comic work.

This piece was split over two pages:

Thanks to Norman Boyd I can tell you that the artist on these next two pieces, both from the same article, is Cyril Holloway.

This final piece could be by Holloway as well.

Monday, 22 March 2021

The Adventurous Art of Diving - Willard Price Part 1

 I've been waiting to bring you this particular post for several years now. The reason it's taken so long is I was waiting to get hold of one particular edition of  Willard Price's Underwater Adventure. I saw a small picture of the cover on ebay but it turned out the seller had a different edition. I've been checking the site regularly ever since and last week I finally saw a copy for sale and snapped it up! I'm not sure why exactly but this image of the wreck with the tiny divers next to it really grabbed me and I'm delighted to at last have a copy. (Click for a larger image).

There are plenty of copies of later editions but this first UK paperback, published in 1968, seems to be quite rare. The particular cover layout seen here, with the title in a solid block of colour, was only used for a couple of years by Brockhampton Press on their Green Knight imprint. The next cover design had the artwork filling the whole cover and while on series such as Biggles and The Famous Five they kept the same paintings, on Underwater Adventure they decided to go with something new. I guess it's more dramatic but I still prefer the wreck cover.

This edition was around throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s in a couple of different editions but it was only the typeface that changed. In 1985 a new set of covers was commissioned for the series resulting in this final Knight edition.

Underwater Adventure was the third book featuring the adventures of 18-year-old Hal Hunt and his younger brother Roger (aged 13). Their father was animal collector John Hunt and the series begins with the boys taking a year off school to take part in several expeditions for their father. 14 books were published from 1949 to 1980 and Anthony Horowitz and Mark Gatiss are among those who have said they were fans of the series.

Let's take a look at some more covers, beginning with this 1954 US first edition featuring the work of artist Peter Burchard.

I believe this next edition was published by the Children's Book Club in the UK and the jacket illustration was also used as a frontispiece.

Interior illustrations were by Pat Marriott but I'm not sure if she did the cover. Speaking of those illustrations, let's have a look at a few of them...

This last drawing was used on the cover of this New English Library hardback...

This Finnish edition is from 1973...

...while this Spanish edition is from 2005.

A change of publisher in the UK saw this 1993 cover appear...

...which was followed by this edition...

Hal and Roger featured in more underwater exploits in Diving Adventure so look out for a future post on that.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

The Eagle-Eyed Art of Diving

This strip comes from the 1967 Wham! Annual. Eagle-Eye, Junior Spy, the strip that introduced Grimly Feendish (the Rottenest Crook in the World!),  was created by Leo Baxendale but I'm pretty sure this doesn't feature his work. Many artists copied his style and while there's nothing wrong with this piece, to my eyes it lacks the Baxendale magic. (Click for larger images).

Monday, 15 March 2021

WoW! Diving into Danger

World of Wonder was an educational title published by Fleetway/IPC from 1970 - 1975. It replaced Tell Me Why and was ultimately merged with Look and Learn. This article on Jacques Cousteau appeared in issue 225 published in July 1974. Long-time Art of Diving readers may recognise the incident portrayed on the first page. World of Wonder used many of the same artists as Look and Learn but I'm afraid i don't know who was responsible for the artwork seen here. (Click for larger images).

Monday, 1 March 2021

The Comrades' Art of Diving II

Just a quickie today - a couple more Russian book covers. No information on the artists I'm afraid but more striking designs from our friends behind the Iron Curtain. Well, they were behind it when these were published!

1968. I believe the title translates as something like "Man Under the Water." 

1977. I'm afraid Bing Translator failed me on the title of this one! (Update 23/3/21 - See the comment below).

I remember using the stippling technique seen here back in my Doctor Who fan days, producing illustrations inspired by the likes of Frank Bellamy and Chris Achilleos.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Two of a Kind - Forty Fathoms Deep

 Forty Fathoms Deep, a book about pearl divers in Australia, was first published in 1937. 

I've found two versions of the artwork produced for the original edition by Edgar A. Holloway.

This version says "Second Edition" on the spine so I'm assuming it's how the artwork was originally presented.

I believe this version dates from a 1952 edition.

This 1979 edition features a cover by Walter Stackpool.

Edgar Alfred Holloway (1870-1941) was born in Doncaster. He was a war artist during the Boer War and became known for his illustrations of military uniforms. He later produced illustrations for The Boy's Own Paper and many children's books. He emigrated to Australia in 1930 where he continued to work as an artist. You can read more about him and see examples of his work at the excellent Bear Alley blog. 

Walter Stackpool (1916-1998) was one of Australia's most prolific illustrators of genre fiction and is probably best known for his covers for the Larry King "I Hate Crime" books which were based on a popular radio series. He also worked on westerns and children books, including Little Golden Books based on TV series such as Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Barrier Reef and Woobinda (AnimalDoctor).

Sunday, 14 February 2021

The Philatelists' Art of Diving - The Cayman Islands

 It's a long time since I featured any postage stamps on the blog so here are some from the Cayman Islands. 

The first one dates from 1967 and was from a set of four. The other three also featured water-based activities: water-skiing, sport fishing and sailing.

This miniature sheet contains a set of four stamps that were issued in 1977. I'm not sure about their use of  the "Shatter" typeface on these but then it was the '70s!

This next example is also from a set of four which was issued in 1981.

Unfortunately this is the best image I've been able to find of this 1998 stamp, again one of a set of four.

This final example is from 2009 but features an earlier design from 1997. You can find a better image in this earlier post.

The Creepy Art of Diving - H2O World

The Art of Diving is back with a beautifully drawn comic strip by Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel.

H2O World appeared in the first issue of Warren Publishing's Creepy in 1964. As a special treat I'm posting scans of the original art which sold for $31,070 in 2015! (Click for larger images).

As you can see, there's a panel missing from the final page so here it is, taken from the published magazine.

It was done separately using a special type of  board which would explain why it had to be pasted on. Officially called "Doubletone Drawing Board" it was commonly called Craftint (the company name) or Duo-shade. Similar to magic painting books that you may have used, there were two hidden patterns in the board. Two different developing chemicals, applied with a brush, were used to bring out the patterns.

Alfonso Williamson (1931-2010) was born in New York but when he was two years old his family moved to Bogata, Colombia where they remained until he was twelve. He became interested in comic strips while in Colombia and Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon was an early favourite. Back in New York he attended Burne Hogarth's Cartoonists and Illustrators School (now the School of Visual Arts New York City). While there he met future artists Wallace "Wally" Wood and Roy Krenkel, the latter of whom introduced him to many famous illustrators.

From 1949 to 1951, he worked on science-fiction and western stories for publishers such as ACG, Avon Publications, Fawcett Comics and Standard Comics. He began collaborating with Frank Frazetta, who often inked his work, and with Roy Krenkel who often did backgrounds. From 1952 to 1956 he worked on EC Comics' Weird Science, Weird Fantasy and Weird Science-Fantasy. In the late fifties he worked for Marvel's predecessor Atlas Comics (Jann of the Jungle plus various war and western strips), westerns for Charlton and Dell, and Classics Illustrated. At Harvey Comics he inked a number of stories pencilled by Jack Kirby.

From 1960 he spent three years in Mexico as an assistant to John Prentice on the Rip Kirby newspaper strip. He credits Prentice with teaching him many fundamental illustration methods while Prentice described Williamson as "the best guy I ever had by far." In the mid-sixties he worked on Warren's new line of magazines including Eerie, Creepy and Blazing Combat. In 1966 he drew issues 1, 4 and 5 of King Features' new Flash Gordon comic book, winning a Best Comic Book Award from the National Cartoonist Society. This was the first of many awards that he would win. In 1967, with writer Archie Goodwin, he took over the long-running newspaper strip Secret Agent X-9 which was renamed Secret Agent Corrigan. The pair continued on the strip until 1980.

In 1980 he drew an adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back for Marvel's Star Wars comic (it was also published in a number of other formats). He was specifically requested by Lucasfilm who had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to hire him for the Star Wars newspaper strip. He eventually drew the strip from 1981 to 1984. He also drew an adaptation of the Dino DeLaurentis Flash Gordon film which he described as "the hardest job I ever had to do in my life." More adaptations followed with Return of the Jedi and Blade Runner.

In the mid-eighties, finding it too hard to produce both pencils and inks, he transitioned to becoming strictly an inker. After a brief stint inking legendary Superman artist Curt Swan, who described Williamson as his favourite inker, he moved to Marvel where he inked many artists including  John Buscema, Gene Colan, Rick Leonardi, Mike Mignola, Pat Oliffe and John Romita Jr. From 1988 to 1997 he won nine industry awards for Best Inker. In 1995 he produced his last major work doing both pencils and inks -  a two-part Flash Gordon story for Marvel. He carried on working as an inker until 2003 and died on June 12th 2010.

Roy Gerald Krenkel (1918-1983) had a much shorter career in comics, moving instead into the world of books and magazines. Although highly thought of he was known for regarding his own work as disposable and unimportant. Author Harry Harrison described him as a "master penciller" while Frank Frazetta cited him as "a constant source of inspiration."  You can see more of his work here.