Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Illustrated Dune via SKI-FFY

The blog SKI-FFY posted scans of John Schoenherr's pictures for The Illustrated Dune. And he quotes the back cover copy...
"I can envision no more perfect visual representation of my Dune world than John Schoenherr's careful and accurate illustrations." - FRANK HERBERT
Hear, hear, Mr. Herbert!

As far as I know, Dad made the full-color paintings featured here for the 1978 Dune calendar, and then the publisher decided to use them in an illustrated paperback edition of the novel and asked Dad to flesh out the book with black and white illustrations. He made these using his dry brush technique where he would load a brush with india ink, wipe much of it off on a paper towel, then apply the brush to the rough textured watercolor paper. Once the basic composition was laid in, he would work out the finer details with a steel nib dip pen.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Map of the Bronx Zoo

John Schoenherr (a.k.a. Dad) had a long association with the Bronx Zoo. He started visiting back in the 1940s and kept at it until he moved to New Jersey in 1964. In the late ’50s and early ’60s, my mother sometimes accompanied him to help provoke the animals while he gathered photographic reference of aggressive beasts - mostly for illustrations in “men’s magazines,” featuring vicious animals attacking Great White Hunters and other hapless, but rugged stereotypes.

Dad had his first one-man show at the zoo in 1968 and as a family we would visit sometimes: we especially liked the hyena, named Pug, who lived in the “Big Cat House,” which, in my memory, resembled the lobby of a neoclassical post office or bank with the cats and Pug as ersatz tellers.

Dad made this particular picture sometime in the early 1960s by scratching out the white lines and textures on black scratchboard - a rare variation on his usual method, where he applied ink where he wanted it on and then scratched away on white scratchboard.