Frank Frazetta died two days ago, I’ve been going through some of my old sketch books from my art school days, and I remember how amazing an artist he was, and what a huge influence he was on me, growing up.
I think all “superhero” artists knew Frazetta’s work, probably his cover illustrations for pulp science fiction and fantasy works. I think I even bought a Conan softback JUST for the cover when I was younger. I had (and probably still have, in my basement somewhere, his poster for the animated movie “Fire and Ice” by Ralph Bakshi.
I wonder how many fans knew his early work was not just for the pulps or magazine covers, but he also did Romance, Cowboy, Science Fiction and even Funny Animal comics (he went under the name “Fritz” in those). I always think that he was a master in the true sense of the word, classically trained, but took off with the training with kick-ass talent and attitude.
I’ll try to find examples, but his pen-work was some of the best in the industry, he could do brush-work like a Japanese master, and emote gesture and attitude with a few simple lines. He executed the most amazingly detailed illustrations keeping the same gestural freshness as a one line brush stroke as well. (This post seriously needs examples, I’ve got to re-visit this with some of his work)
Frazetta lost NONE of that power or sex appeal when he worked up to a finished drawing or full oil painting, unlike the second-rate hack “BORIS” (Boris Vallejo – that stinker could paint, but he didn’t have the confidence to be able to do it from his head and relied WAY too much on photographic reference.)
We’ve lost one of the giants in the industry, there will be pretenders to the throne, but NEVER anyone who will be as great as Frank Frazetta in the genre.
Here’s a link to the NY Times’ article on his passing: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/frank-frazetta-fantasy-illustrator-dies-at-82//22k2yab