Monday, January 20, 2020

Rowland B. Wilson's "Trade Secrets"

Here is the link to the book whose cover is shown above. It was assembled by Suzanne Lemieux Wilson, widow of cartoonist and concept artist Rowland B. Wilson who I wrote about here.

It seems that Wilson, over a period of time, would take aspects of the craft of graphic art and commit them to paper in a somewhat cartoon-like manner. Eventually, he covered almost all the basic information needed by someone needing to know how to deal with composition, color, form, characterization, and other items in one's professional artist kit. This was the material his widow assembled into the book cited here.

Given the amount of effort he put into this activity, I wonder what his intention was (the book has no introduction explaining how it came to be). I'm not sure that he needed it just for himself, because he was simply displaying what he already knew. Knowledgeable readers are urged to comment on this point.

I have mentioned in my e-book about art and elsewhere that as an art student I never received more than a slight whiff of useful instruction. Either the art faculty at the University of Washington was reacting negatively to the training they had had, or else they were following the trendy idea that any kind of training would destroy their students' innate creativity. Therefore, had this book been been available then, and had I a copy of it, I would have learned much of what I actually needed to know but never learned at the time.

I'm probably wrong, but I wonder if Wilson had encountered at Disney and elsewhere some young fellow employees who had plenty of ability, yet lacked some professional polish because their art training, like mine, had been spotty. Wilson could have helped shape them up quickly, and had this material to do so if that indeed was the situation.

Bottom line: the book offers an entertaining, comprehensive catalog of graphic arts (painting, illustration, cartooning, poster work, etc., etc.) essential basics.

Bottom bottom line: I think a better, more accurate, title would have been "Graphic Art Essentials."

1 comment:

John Hull said...

Love your blog. I went to the UW for one quarter and found it old school so not my thing. I went to the School of Visual Concepts on Aurora with Dick and Cherry Brown which was great but still not enough. So I saved my money, flipped a house and found my way to Art Center in Pasadena. Game changer for me. Hard work was required and it paid off. No regrets.