Vintage Kids' Stuff
September 9, 2009 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Even though they were pretty old even at the time, I had some children's books from this era when I was growing up. I've always wondered about this coloring style. It's just some blotches of color laid pretty carelessly (it would appear) across line drawings. (That particular link has them fairly well lined up--I've seen "worse".) Does that technique have a name?
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on September 9, 2009

It pains me to see the Dillons' work called "vintage", because it makes me feel correspondingly old as well.

But this is a nice find. Thanks!
posted by ardgedee at 8:34 AM on September 9, 2009

Oh, man -- that is one bitchin' illustration of Ares.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:39 AM on September 9, 2009

Does that technique have a name?

Hmm. I always assumed that it had something to do with the block printing technique (either of the illustrator or the publisher), but I could be wrong.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:44 AM on September 9, 2009

Look at the cowboys in the image I linked to. Just a big blob of peach covering 75% of the shirt and face. Did the illustrator decree the color and blobbiness and leave the placement up to the printer? Did the printer take line drawings and attempt to gussy them up? Did the illustrator carefully create the offset? After all, newspapers of the time were able to print photos OK (I assume). Granted, not a block printing process, but still.

(Negative words above are affectionate--I like that style, but there's no other way to describe it.)
posted by DU at 9:06 AM on September 9, 2009

If you like this, you might also like A Journey Round My Skull.
posted by ericost at 9:35 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

> Does that technique have a name?

As a printing term it's called misalignment.

That Tremblay image is a two-color print (brown and black, each screened to simulate tints), and the grey pigs have misaligned shading, as do the brown pigs. Since the grey values are part of the black plate, that means the artist shifted or overlapped the boundaries on purpose, for effect. Note that you couldn't line up each pig's shading perfectly within their outline anyway.

Since highly accurate multi-color printing was awfully expensive at the time, Tremblay's technique was kind of pre-emptively forgiving of printers' errors, but if the printer erred too much, it'd still be noticeable.

Tremblay's craftsmanship is subtle but excellent - he makes two colors look like six or seven and they work beautifully with the overall composition, a giant swoop along the left from background to foreground. Not what you'd expect for a drawing of some stocky pigs and three guys in a hole.
posted by ardgedee at 11:39 AM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

Fucking awesome.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:40 AM on September 9, 2009

cowbellemoo: Fucking awesome.

That's so going on my tombstone.
posted by Kattullus at 5:00 PM on September 9, 2009

Hi Glen!
posted by joelf at 7:44 PM on September 9, 2009

My friend Glen also runs the Growing up Star Wars group.
posted by joelf at 7:48 PM on September 9, 2009

Yeah, I noticed that someone linked to a picture of him dressed in Star Wars gear as a kid in a comment once, but I wasn't sure if that was relevant enough to warrant a "previously"!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:19 PM on September 9, 2009

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