Friday, September 23, 2016

Lief Peng's Today's Inspiration: vintage illustration heaven!

Vintage illustration is one of the most popular and imitated genres of illustration, but almost nothing is known about the men and women who created stunning work for endless magazines and agencies in the 50s and 60s. 

Lola Fielding

Leif Peng, himself an accomplished commercial artist, runs a well-researched blog called Today's Inspiration where he tracks down mid-century illustrators, gathering up every crumb of detail about their life and work, and making beautiful posts about them.

Al Parker

These artists worked with oil paint and acrylic, screen prints, pen and ink, watercolour - any medium in existence, but produced a body of work that anyone today would immediately recognise.

Lola Fielding

Renato Fratini

They used strong colours and textures to evoke drama. Their mastery of the human figure invited an emotional response. Their sense of composition created a narrative that viewers could easily follow.

Michael Johnson

Herb Tauss

Eric Earnshaw

Lynn Buckham

The artists often used negative space as a medium in itself, using single colours against large areas of unpainted background to bring out silhouettes and action.

Coby Whitmore


Aubrey Rix


Sonja Knapp

Lief Peng was a consultant on the gorgeous book Lifestyle Illustration of the 60s (ed. Rian Hughes).  His sensibilities and research are clearly visible in the book. But so many of the illustrations are still labelled 'uncredited'. So much talent fed this artistic movement, and so few are left to tell their story. Their work is immortal, but their names are lost to us.

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