She Could Be “The Stiletto Gumshoe”…

by mike redman

So well composed and deceptively simple looking, this piece by UK artist Mike Redman is almost as much a graphic design as it is an illustration. I think it always catches my eye because it reminds me so much of my own in-progress work on ‘The Stiletto Gumshoe’, Sharon Gardner (real name Sasha Garodnowicz) described as “more comfy atop a barstool than behind a receptionist’s desk”.

This art pops up frequently at Pinterest, Tumblr and random blogs…it’d be nice if Redman’s name accompanied the image more often…

More Than Barbarians (If Given A Chance).

boris vallejo 1967

Several cult-fave illustrators like Frank Frazetta, James Bama or Basil Gogos, will always be linked to SF/Fantasy and Horror. Even moreso with Boris Vallejo, known almost exclusively as a fantasy artist, with infrequent forays into movie poster work (though even those were clearly assigned to capitalize on his fantasy style).

Boris Vallejo was born in Peru in 1941, started painting at age 13 and got his first paying work at only 16. He attended the Escuela Nacional Superior Autonoma de Bellas Artes on a five-year scholarship, then worked locally for a few years before emigrating to the more lucrative U.S. marketplace in 1964. The U.S. is also where Vallejo met his partner and, ultimately, wife-to-be, Texan Julie Bell, a fellow fantasy artist with her own considerable rep, though in recent years she’s been transitioning into an award-winning wildlife painter.

Hatchett 1976

Yes, we know Boris Vallejo for sword-wielding nearly-naked winged fantasy femmes. But seeing what the master illustrator could do with other subjects makes me wish he (and others among the comics and fantasy art scenes) took a crack at crime/pulp/noir subjects more often. I’ve previously shown Vallejo’s cover art for Lee McGraw’s 1976 hard-boiled private eye novel Hatchett (link below and an image above), and this post also shows “At The Door” from 1994 (below) and an intriguing bit of pencil work from 1967 at the top. There’s almost a familiar hint of Robert McGinnis or Ron Lesser evident in that sketch, and I’m liking it.

At The Door 1994

I’ll always appreciate the skill employed by so fantasy artists’ elf maidens, aliens, angels, demons and warriors, even though the SF/Fantasy genres aren’t my thing. But when I see those talented illustrators’ work, it makes me wish that more would take a closer look at the thugs, gumshoes, femmes fatales and midnight lovers lurking in the noir shadows.

https://thestilettogumshoe.tumblr.com/post/188674058874/just-a-few-years-too-early-perhaps-lee

The Mic’s Art, Not The Book.

love thief 1962 Micarelli

Oh, Orrie. Another ‘shattering novel of a nymphomaniac’. I can guess how Orrie Hitt’s 1962 Love Thief  goes, having read my share of Hitt’s novels, and I’ll wager this is one of those postwar paperbacks boasting a cover that’s way better than the book itself.  The art’s often listed here and there as uncredited, but is attributed to Clement Micarelli in some locations. Well, I’m going with that.

Nicknamed Mic to family and friends, Micarelli took his first Rhode Island School of Design figure drawing class at age 12 in 1941, and vintage paperback and retro sleaze enthusiasts have treasured some of his late 1950’s illustration gems for years since. The artist passed away at age 79 in 2008.

Love Thief 1962

The New Yorker

New Yorker 1997

A holiday homicide cover by San Francisco artist Owen Smith for the December 22nd and 29th 1997 issue of The New Yorker – The Fiction Issue.

Not sure if Smith has been a go-to artist for The New Yorker’s fiction issues, but he has done nearly twenty covers for that publication alone, and below is the Christmas and New Year’s Day issue from the previous year – that one more New Year’s celebratory instead of Xmas. The guy and the gal hunched over their typewriters got it all over the revelers, if you ask me.

The New Yorker 1996

Escaping Camp Santa

Escaping Camp Santa Emil Landgreen

I’m sure I posted this lasted year, but nifty art is worth repeating. “Escaping Camp Santa”, a pulp-flavored Noir-Noel promotional piece from talented illustrator, designer and concept artist Emil Landgreen.

John Watkiss: Master Painter

JW 5

John Watkiss’ website (johnwatkissfineart.com) calls him a “Master Painter” and I can’t imagine a more appropriate label. Now many know Watkiss from his cinematic collaborations with cult filmmaker Derek Jarman. Others, from his design and animation work in Hollywood for Nickelodeon, Fox Animation Studios and most importantly, on multiple Disney productions, or as a key frame concept artist for the visually stunning Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow back in 2003 and for the 2009 Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes, or even more currently on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Yet still others will point to Watkiss’ work in the comics field for both DC and marvel, including Sandman – Mystery Theatre, Legends Of The Dark Knight and Conan The Barbarian.

JW 2

All notable credits, but I’ll just ogle his dark and stunning artwork. John Watkiss earned his BA in Fine Art & Illustration at Brighton Polytechnic and started out as a storyboard artist at Saatchi & Saatchi advertising, where a regular paycheck financed his personal painting and a studio space in an eclectic Regents Park arts complex. It was while working there in the mid-1980’s that his career took off. Now I can’t date the works shown here, or even pinpoint which might be easel paintings and which could be film concept art (though some are clearly Sherlock Holmes pieces). But I can say it’s been a while since a contemporary artist’s work caught my eye like Watkiss’ has.  More of John Watkiss’ work follows in a post tomorrow.

JW 1johnwatkissfineart dot com

Death on The House.

Dime Detective June 1947

Adapted from Peter Paige’s “Death On The House” opening two-page spread, which appeared in the June 1947 Dime Detective magazine, as seen at the always excellent pulpcovers.com site. I really wish the pulps credited the interior artists. Pulp experts are usually able to ID the cover artists, but the countless stunning (and sometimes, not-so-stunning) B&W interior spot illustrations are mostly doomed to anonymity.

Give this cocktail lounge coquette a simpler hairstyle with bangs, put her in a pair of plain pumps, and this illustration could almost be a new ‘Stiletto Gumshoe’ avatar.

Noiquet, continued…

Noiquet-Thriller 1984

More illustration work from Spanish artist Joan Beltran Bofill, known in the European commercial art scene as Noiquet. See a prior post for more examples of this artist’s work…

Noiquet - ThrillerNoiquet - Pavillion In St CloudNoiquet - Situation Grave Hank JansonNoiquet -- Second StringNoiquet - Second String 1963

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑