Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Doug Wildey's Rio

Rio cover
Rio Title Page
Sample art from the book
Sample art from the book
Sample art from the book

This book and design came as a complete surprise to me. I think based on previous posts and my Cowboy Culture Gallery Show, it's obvious I have a sentimental place in my heart for the old west. When Scott Dunbier asked me if I'd be interested in designing this book, I almost fell off my saddle!

I had been familiar with Doug Wildey's work on Rio, but it becomes a whole new experience when you see his original art. IDW made a great decision when they decided to publish this book. Not only were all of Wildey's stories collected in one place but they turned this into an art book. This was going to be presented in a similar format as their Artist's Edition books. Although the art wasn't going to be printed at original size, the boards were going to be scanned and printed to look as close to how the original artwork looks as possible. When I look at this stuff, I think it's easy to see Wildey really had a passion for this subject matter. Not only is there a cinematic approach in his presentation, but it feels authentic. There is a grittiness and flair that en-captures the flavor of the old west.

The artwork itself looks very americana and immediate in it's execution. Wildey would color and create his artwork, with pretty much whatever he had on hand. There isn't a fussiness or pretentiousness to it. You can see the use of magic markers, acrylic paints, colored pencils and even crayon. In fact, if you look at some of the artwork close enough, you can see tumbleweed and dried clay imbedded in the art. It reminds me of some of the paintings of Charles M. Russell. I love the sincerity in the work. He wasn't faking it, these are things he knew. I had a new found appreciation for his artwork, he's walking a fine line between commercial and fine art. Either way, it's definitely art with a heart!

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