Monday, March 7, 2011
Eric Shanower with Sea Monsters
At the time Hildebrandt was also in the midst of illustrating a series of much beloved classics. Often Hildebrandt would ask students to pose for him. During his second year at school Eric Shanower was asked to pose as Perseus rescuing Andromeda by slaying the Sea Monster. You can view the results at right.
It wasn't a long posing session for the painting. Eric simply lay on the floor, Greg shot reference photographs, and then painted from them. The illustration appeared in Greg Hildebrandt's Favorite Fairy Tales (1984).
As many of you may know, in 1985 Hildebrandt illustrated a new edition of The Wizard of Oz. It's still available and quite beautiful in many ways - Hildebrandt's Hammerheads are unique!
Interestingly, there is also book on Hildebrandt's artwork called From Tolkien to Oz (1986) that features a number of illustrations from Wizard as well as the painting of Eric Shanower slaying the Sea Monster. Below are Eric Shanower's memories of posing for Greg Hildebrandt:
"On Fridays in spring 1983 Greg Hildebrandt taught painting to my second-year class at the Joe Kubert School. This was during the time Greg was estranged from his twin brother and painting partner, Tim. One Friday Greg asked several students, including me, to pose for illustrations for a new book.
"The same day I'd asked Greg to write a recommendation for a scholarship I was applying for to get tuition money for the next school year. Greg agreed, telling me to write a paragraph or two and he'd sign it. I had to mail the scholarship application and recommendations that day. After school Adam Kubert and Jay Geldhof--in Adam's car--picked me up and we went to the post office where I mailed the application.
"Then Adam drove us to the home of Jean Scrocco, Greg's agent. Hildebrandt Brothers paintings hung throughout the Scrocco house. Greg pointed out how his painting technique had loosened up over the years. I particularly remember a Lord of the Rings painting done with his brother where the brush strokes were so tight that they were barely visible. In the living room hung a painting by Greg of Jean and her then-husband in a fantasy setting, done in a much looser style.
"Later Greg and Jean both divorced their spouses and married each other. Jay asked me back then whether I thought Greg and Jean were having an affair. I guess Jay sensed something between Greg and Jean, but how serious it was at the time I don't know.
"After the photo shoot, Adam, Jay, and I went to White Castle for burgers. The Kuberts loved White Castle. Later that evening I went to a crazy body-painting party with a bunch of other students--including Jay as well as Anna-Maria Cool (then Coleman), who since has illustrated Oz books. The party started at one house, moved to the house I was living in, then ended up at the Rockaway Mall midnight movies to see Rude Boy with The Clash.
"I hoped to pose for Greg's version of Wizard, but he didn't start photos till after I graduated from JKS in May 1984. I didn't keep in touch about posing and was busy with other work. However, that summer signed copies of the published Greg Hildebrandt's Favorite Fairy Tales arrived in the mail for Jay and me, who were sharing an apartment at the time. It was great to see the final book."