Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Al Williamson Archives Volumes 1 & 2

From Flesk Publications comes Volume 1 &2 of the Al Williamson Archives, collecting the preliminaries from the artist’s studio.

From those of you unfamiliar with the term preliminaries the term refers to the studies, sketches or prefinished artwork associated with various projects.

Speaking as an artist myself, I use preliminaries frequently to flesh out my ideas, tweak compositions and try out different lighting effects, positioning of characters, layouts and ink application. Sometimes, with a little cut and paste (physical or digital) I can use the preliminaries as part of any finished piece.

Both Archives editions demonstrate via illustrations how Al Williamson designed characters, plotted compositions and inked various pieces.

Spanning over his 50-year career the illustrations show his progression as an artist, his fondness for sci-fi and fantasy and his eye for composition, design and detail. Regardless of the subject matter each piece is finely crafted, expertly laid out and virtually leaps off the page. Williamson’s mastery of the human figure, clothing, environments and light and shadow are showcased to their best advantage.

I especially enjoy looking at his pencil compositions before ink hits the paper. They demonstrate the careful attention Williamson gave to each piece, including slight modifications, limb or torso repositioning and costume enhancements.

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