Here's An Idea... Think!

Happy New Year! I thought we'd start 2011 with something that's been on my mind quite a bit lately: the importance of thinking when drawing. Thinking was something the great illustrator/cartoonist Earl Oliver Hurst put a lot of stock in.

Hurst once wrote, "How [an artist] works and the materials used are not so important. You may use oil or tempera; you may paint in tone, or you may use only line - that is irrelevant to your problem. How you think is most important."

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"It's no wonder that the art student is so often confused," wrote Hurst. "If art schools spent more time teaching students how to organize their thinking process, much art material could be saved."

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"Learning to draw is easy. Any art school can do a fair job. It's learning to think that is important."

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Last year Earl Oliver Hurst was inducted (posthumously) into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. For those interested in learning more about the artist, there's a terrific Earl Oliver Hurst biography written by Fred Taraba at the SI website.

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Also late last year, Toby Neighbors gave Hurst 'the Illos Tribute treatment'!

I've mentioned Toby's illostribute.com website before. Toby invites contemporary illustrators to create tributes to a particular classical "master" illustrator "by seriously investigating their work, through interpretation." And there are some gorgeous and fun interpretations of Hurst's work at Toby's site.

As Hurst wrote, how an artist works is not so important as how he thinks. Toby's site creates an opportunity for today's illustrators to learn from masters like Hurst... and perhaps, through investigation, gain a greater understanding of how artists like Hurst thought out their work.

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Here are a few more pieces by Earl Oliver Hurst - you'll find some more at illostribute.com - and of course many Hurst-inspired tribute pieces by Toby and other talented artists.

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* These last few Hurst pieces above were a gift from TI list member Maureen, "The Art Gal" - many thanks, Maureen!

* My Earl Oliver Hurst Flickr set

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