1/07/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Underwood Books, 2001. 159 page softcover. Price: £15 (UK) if you know where to look. ISBN: 978-1-59929-019-5.
check out website: www.underwoodbooks.com
After Frank Frazetta's death last month, I thought it would be appropriate to pick a book out of the many available to review. As the full 'Testament' title about should indicate, this one should cover his entire life. Should is the operative word. The actual testament is given by six other artists and associates about the effect of Frazetta's art on their lives and career decision. The other third covers Frazetta's life, his wife Ellie (who incidentally died last year) and the illegal copying of his work in books without permission. The latter is under the title 'Pirates' and nothing to do with Frank painting the rogues of the seven seas. If anything, the insight here has had repercussions for all professional artists over the years in protecting the rights to their own work and getting the originals back is almost as big a legacy as his artwork.
Speaking of which, there is a lot of Frazetta's artwork in this book covering his entire range from pencil and ink to oils from comicstrip to fantasy with a little Science Fiction to good girl art. He points out that he preferred the freedom of fantasy to do what he wanted. Looking at his work, Frazetta really could turn to whatever commission he wanted to do, more so when his status had grown to be choosy. Probably the best comment from him is how he got the dynamism into his work by compressing figures or animals into particular shape like an oblong. If you think about it, this makes some sense. Artists who depend on models posing have to accept that a pose is likely to be static. Frazetta's technique, combined with an illustrator's background, didn't depend on models posing, just a good eye probably explains why the wannabees could never master his technique or the caught in the movement he did so well.
Whether you want to read about Frank Frazetta's life or look at his art or, hopefully, both, then this book should reach all your requirements. One of the truly great artists of our genre.
GF Willmetts [NB In respect to the Frazetta copyright, I've only used interiors that were available on the Net.]
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