I had a quick phone call with ace artist John Ridgway today, discussing colouring comics, Commando and one of our favourite topics, favourite comic creators, which today included the great pulp magazine artist Alden MacWiliams (whose credits included Twin Earths, Space Cadet and Star Trek) and the brilliant British illustrator, Gerry Embleton.
Gerry Embleton (the brother of the late Ron Embleton, who will be familiar to many of our readers for his work on comics such as Stingray for TV Century 21 in the 1960s), cut his teeth on comic strips in the high days of English comic-strip publishing (also drawing Stingray for TV21, for example, The Iron Man for Boy’s World and Eagle, and Dan Dare for New Eagle), moved into advertising via children’s educational illustration, painting historical subjects and, with great pleasure, fairy tales and fantasy.
He won a name for himself as an illustrator of military subjects specializing in highly detailed, accurate studies of costume. His works include writing and illustrating two photographic studies of medieval costume, and over 40 titles for the military publisher Osprey.
Most recently, he’s been commissioned by John Franklin to illustrate Waterloo 1815 – a series of books that John researched and compiled from an extraordinary collection of letters written by survivors of the Battle of Waterloo, which will have its 200th anniversary on 18th June 2015. Many of the letters that will feature are being translated and published for the first time for this project.
The writers are drawn from all of the nations involved and they change completely our view of the battle. all of the published letters and many more are available on John Franklin’s ever growing online archive at www.battleofwaterloo.net.
Down the years, Gerry has produced thousands of drawings on most subjects and for most kinds of publications, from fairly academic studies to “cartoons”. He started to paint landscapes in the late 1960s and has had exhibitions in England, Scotland, Canada, the USA and Switzerland, etc.
Gerry moved to Switzerland in 1983 to research 15th century Swiss costume, arms and armour and was invited to work for the Swiss Institute of Arms and Armour at Grandson Castle. He became their official artist and later Head of their Creative Art Department.
He formed his own company, TMAG (Time Machine AG) in 1988, making life sized historical figures for exhibitions and museums and now divides his time between illustrating, designing and making museum exhibitions, painting historical and modern subjects, writing and research.
He is a founding member of the Company of Saynt George, a living-history association. His book The Medieval Soldier, co-authored with Tolkien illustrator John Howe, had a big influence on the living-history hobby as a whole.
• Official Site: www.gerryembleton.com
Art © Gerry Embleton