“Long before Willis O’Brien, myself, and Steven Spielberg, Charles R. Knight put flesh on creatures that no human had ever seen.” – Ray Harryhausen – Film Director; One Million Years B.C.
Released this March from Abrams is the biography of esteemed wildlife artist Charles R. Knight (1874-1953). Written by award-winning author Richard Milner (also editor of National History Magazine and regular contributor to television documentaries) this is a definitive collection of work from an artist whose animal studies and prehistoric creations have formed the way that future creatives, scientists and filmmakers view a previously unimagined world. An intimate biography of Knight, telling of his struggle with near-blindness caused by a childhood accident which was later worsened by the advance of cataracts and detached retina. Milner also collects personal letters that build the profile of a man showing blasé attitudes toward the ‘business’ of art and his own personal finances along with strongly held views on the new crop of modern artists. But above all an absolute dedication for producing the finest and most scientifically accurate work attainable.
Knights sketches, paintings and sculptures consistently display a highly studied artistic technique, developed on visits to various inner city zoos (himself born in Brooklyn) and working on commissions such as those for patrons of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Detailed pencil studies of muscle and bone structure observed during dissection of museum specimens that later informed his approach to illustrating dinosaurs and other forms of prehistoric life, most of which were produced in collaboration with pioneering paleontologists. A lasting legacy that can be seen throughout modern literature with film with directors such as Ray Harryhausen (One million Years B.C.) and Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park) crediting Knight for his influence.
The 180 pages are filed with an extremely high standard of work backed up with details about Knight’s working life and process which make for a fascinating read. In many ways a history lesson in itself, but also a comprehensive profile of an accomplished artist.
Charles R. Knight – The Artist Who Saw Through Time by Richard Milner
Hardback 180 pages
29.8 x 26.7 x 2.5 cm
Review by Christopher King (aka Wing’s Art & Design Studio) a Freelance Illustrator & Graphic Designer creating hand-drawn & digital artwork for posters, flyers, books & advertising clients. Also something of a movie buff.
Quite a few exciting books have arrived at the Wing’s Art offices lately, each due for release in the coming months. Not forgetting the long-awaited Garbage Pail Kids book, here’s a sneak peek at some impressive titles that will be hitting book shops very soon. Don’t forget to follow this blog to make sure you don’t miss the Friday Book Review!
From Titanbooks.com; For over 60 years Successful Drawing has provided a superb resource covering all the techniques needed to master three-dimensional drawing. From the fundamentals of proportion, placement, perspective, planes and pattern, through a detailed examination of scale and the effects and capture of light, to the mastery of conception, construction, contour, character and consistency, Successful Drawing is filled with step-by-step instruction, professional tips and beautiful illustration.
From drawnandquarterly.com; Goliath of Gath isn’t much of a fighter. Given half a choice, he’d pick admin work over patrolling in a heartbeat, to say nothing of his distaste for engaging in combat. Nonetheless, at the behest of the king, he finds himself issuing a twice-daily challenge to the Israelites: “Choose a man. Let him come to me that we may fight. If he be able to kill me, then we shall be your servants. But if I kill him, then you shall be our servants.” From one of Britain’s most popular cartoonists, Goliath displays a sensitive wit, a bold line, and a traditional narrative reworked, remade, and revolutionized.
From taschen.com; Gleaned from thousands of images, this companion set of books offers the best of American print advertising in the age of the “Big Idea.” At the height of American consumerism magazines were flooded with clever campaigns selling everything from girdles to guns. These optimistic indicators paint a fascinating picture of the colorful capitalism that dominated the spirit of the 1950s and 60s, as concerns about the Cold War gave way to the carefree booze-and-cigarettes Mad Men era. Also included is a wide range of significant advertising campaigns from both eras, giving insight into the zeitgeist of the period. Bursting with fresh, crisp colors, these ads have been digitally mastered to look as bright and new as the day they first hit newsstands.