Books &Comic Art &Illustration &Rowland B. Wilson 03 Aug 2012 05:38 am

Rowland Wilson – Esquire

Today’s the anniversary of Rowland B. Wilson‘s Birthday,
and I have a great post to celebrate it.

- Completing the scanning and posting of Rowland Wilson‘s book, Whites of Their Eyes, I received a note from Suzanne Wilson and a series of scans of some beautiful color art by Rowland. Here’s that note:

    Hello Michael,
    It’s exciting to see Rowland B. Wilson’s “The Whites of Their Eyes” revisited. Perhaps your posting will initiate another half-century of shelf life to these cartoons!
    Originally, most of them were presented in color but due to printing restraints of the time they did not appear that way in the book. I think Rowland said he had to rework some of them as line drawings.
    I thought it might be of interest to make a comparison with the color versions. In the process I came across additional material from Esquire that wasn’t included in “Whites”, as well as from some unknown publications. They are interspersed here in no particular order.
    Image 07, the lighthouse keeper, was selected by the great psychologist, Carl Jung as an illustration in “Man and His Symbols”. It was reprinted recently in “Understanding Psychology”, published by McGraw-Hill.
    Thank you for keeping the RBW humor and oeuvre alive.






































Finally, here are two drawings in honor of the Olympics:

This first one was published in Saturday Evening Post.

This sketch comes from RBW’s work on Disney’s Hercules.

According to Amazon, Suzanne Wilson’s book, Rowland B. Wilson’s Trade Secrets: Notes on Cartooning and Animation, was released yesterday, and is Out of Print with LIMITED AVAILABILITY. I guess that when I said to get one soon, a lot of people were listening.

This is a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for quite some time. I’m curious about the “Cartooning” part, but I’m wildly interested in seeing the “Animation” part. Rowland was a master of design when he worked in animation; I want to read anything he has to say about it.

6 Responses to “Rowland Wilson – Esquire”

  1. on 03 Aug 2012 at 6:57 am 1.Brett McCoy said …

    I didn’t want to wait so I cancelled my backordered print edition order and got the Kindle Edition instead. It looks quite glorious when read through the Cloud Reader on my Cintiq.

  2. on 03 Aug 2012 at 12:24 pm 2.Suzanne Wilson said …

    A beautiful and touching tribute to Rowland.
    A heartfelt thank you.
    Happy Birthday, Rowland!

  3. on 03 Aug 2012 at 5:27 pm 3.Bill said …

    Along with the humorous hi-jinks, the level of Rowland’s excellent detailing is totally jaw dropping, from ancient Persian art and chariots to the wallpaper and wood moldiings of a rural farmhouse kitchen to the interior of a Japanese prisoner of war camp to the storming of the Alamo! Lucky for us, the list could go on and on!

  4. on 04 Aug 2012 at 12:23 am 4.Denis Wheary said …

    I don’t think is sold out of the new Rowland B. Wilson Trade Secrets book. They don’t even have it in stock yet.

    Thank you for posting Rowland B. Wilson’s Esquire cartoons in color. They’re incredible! Sometimes he colored the full page, sometimes part, sometimes using a limited pallette, but always everything works together to enhances the piece as a whole. The full flaming fires of hell behind Dante greatly add power to a cartoon I had previously seen in B&W or only partial color. The color version of the 18th century merchant making a night deposit (#20) is easier to understand and so much more fun than the B&W version (#13) published on 27 July. See what he does in the picture of the thirsty desert rat crawling into the Death Valley Inn (#18) He colored the background and foreground figures (contrasting hot outside with cool inside colors), coloring as well the two protagonists, but the crowd of tourists waiting right in the center is without any hue, de-emphasized (lacking color) even though they are essential to the joke. Surprising! Effective! He used a trick Rowland called “Lost and Found”, as he also did with the film crew and Noah’s Ark (image #4).

    Several of these cartoons also highlight Rowland’s research and knowledge of his subject matter. He always got the aircraft, ships, military uniforms, and other details correct. But more than the details, Wilson’s cartoons often showed real insight into the situation. As any pilot who has experienced vertigo would confirm, (I speak from experience here) the situation in #8 is not so far fetched. And the best engineers I knew in my aerospace days were not beyond playing around like Davidson in #32. The unusual color scheme and great diagonals in that composition are just remarkable.

    The captured Yank pilot (#24), is about to face the un-typical and less than inscrutable Major Yatamura, who is not only an American college and fraternity alumni, but apparently is also a graduate of Yale, the home of skull and bones and the birthplace of the CIA. I wonder what sort of interrogation will follow? Am I reading too much into that cartoon? I don’t think so. I’m just suggesting there may be more to this joke than first appears.

    I remember in the 1960s that advertising executives were the subject of books, movies and many jokes. I must confess that I don’t “get” #26, where in an ad man advocates for a presentation he really doesn’t understand, except to say the whole idea of an affirmation for a vague pitch is preposterous.

    Consider the unseen Texan Robinson, with his own private Zeppelin (#17). We all know BIG Texas jokes, and rich ranchers flying around in their private planes demonstrates an understanding of a special sort of extravagance and ego that those from Rowaland’s home state are prone to, but Robinson takes it to another level altogether.

    Then there are the little vistas, like that tasty village behind the two Mexicans taking a siesta (#6), the ships and the tavern where Columbus is having “one for the road” (#21), as well as the alchemist’s den (#25) Something about RBW’s backgrounds I find inviting; they remind me of Disneyland, and I just want to GO there. Maybe the new hints book will explain how he did that, but I suspect it was just his genius.

    Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Rowland!

  5. on 04 Aug 2012 at 1:40 am 5.Michael said …

    Denis, Thanks for taking the time to say such positive things about Rowland Wilson’s work. I think he was, indeed, a giant among cartoonists (hardly the word that seems appropriate for his work.) I idolized him in the 60′s and 70′s, got to meeet him briefly and work on a couple of pieces he designed. I was, for a brief time, friends with his daughter, Amanda. And now, thanks to Bill Peckmann and Suzanne Wilson I get to present ome of his great work on my Splog.

    I’m pleased to see others enjoying it.

    By the way, I think #26 is mocking a meeting of the creators at an ad agency. They take their work a bit too seriously, and the best they turn out is “Thatsa some spicy meatball” and other prime pieces of our culture. Perhaps, at the time of this cartoon, the Mad Men were getting a bit too much flattery.

  6. on 04 Aug 2012 at 6:06 pm 6.Denis Wheary said …

    Michael: Explaining a joke usually robs it of the humor, but I appreciate your help with this one. My kids didn’t get it, but they can’t remember the 60s, when a lot of books, movies and jokes centered on the advertising business. (My young ones didn’t get the Jolly Green Giant reference either.) Back in the day, ad agencies pulled in big bucks for inventing what they considered the “soft sell” with such as lines as “Its the real thing”, “Where’s the beef?”, and “See the USA in your…”. I remember the Volkswagen ad “Think small” was considered positively revolutionary. So the humor is derived from the high powered executive, in his power stance with fists on the table and surrounded by compliant suits, being juxtaposed with his statement of the completely indefinite and highly implausible punch line.

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