Illustration 28 Aug 2008 07:33 am
– I’ve been a Ralph Steadman fan/collector for most of my life. I love the guy’s work and would give anything to be able to do anything remotely as well as he does.
His versatility with pen and ink, dyes and watercolors doesn’t quite hide the magnificent draftsmanship behind his illustrations. Many try to copy his style and none have come close – though Gerald Scarfe has made a nice living off of a similar style – though a bit sweeter. Others, more academically inclined, those who swear by the Bauhaus rules, tend to turn their noses up at his work. I like to think of Steadman as the Jim Tyer of illustration.
Regardless, the work is brilliant. His art always has an amazing intelligence carrying it to the highest pinnacle. It breaks the rules and makes new ones. Illustration comes damn close to Art.
Not too many people have focused on his children’s books, and there are many. Not least is the series of “Mouse” books he’s done with Bernard Stone. Here is Emergency Mouse, a good example. I’ve not lifted the script but am merely showcasing the illustrations. Unfortunately, this also takes a bit away from the book design which is unique on its own. The type is well placed to balance off the different sized illustration.
If you want to read the story, you’ll have to get the book from the library – or buy it.
(Click any image to enlarge.) This is the inner cover. 14