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The Ultimate Illustrators: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell

01/11/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy The Ultimate Illustrators: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell in the USA - or Buy The Ultimate Illustrators: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell in the UK

author pic

pub: Collins & Brown/Anova. 142 page illustrated indexed hardback. Price: 18.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84340-515-3.

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There are very few books of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell that show them working purely in pencil. Connecting this book to previous ones where Vallejo has said he stipples - an artistic term for dabbing the paint - in full colour, it shouldn't come as any surprise that this is key to how he gets his texture in pencils by doing the graphic equivalent of burnishing. The key to getting any realistic approach is to have an understanding of texture and not to be afraid to use a variety of pencils to achieve a single illustration. Although any of you budding artists out there aren't going to find any explanations how to do that in this book, other than being told to get a lot of life-study sketches under your belt. The couple have done another book 'Fantasy Workshop: A Practical Guide', for that, here you can just sit back for a lazy morning and see how productive these artists are.

The selection of one hundred and seventeen pieces of work here from both Vallejo and Bell, both separately and together, is a mixture of commissioned work and even detailed preliminary work before being turned into paintings. According to Anthony Palumbo's text, they both prefer to detail sketches before full paintings and that all painters start off this way. From my own experience, duplicating a sketch to a painting rarely gets what I achieved with the preliminary and from what is described they either trace or use computer to get the design onto canvas.

The book is divided into sections of women, men, beasts, product design and compositions, together with brief comments about each picture. Reproducing them on the small scale we use on the website will probably not do them justice. It's rather interesting seeing the product design section of the preliminary work that was turned into sculpture for the model work that resulted. I've seen some of these in their earlier books but it would have been better to show the final pieces together on the page to show how they turned out.

Nevertheless, if you collect Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell artbooks, then you've already probably added this to your collection. If you only know of their work and want to see their pencil illustrations then this is a good opportunity to see so many under one cover.

GF Willmetts

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