Showing posts with label australian artist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label australian artist. Show all posts

Thursday, January 23, 2014

June Mendoza Interview

June Mendoza with three of her children, Ashley and Lee seated; Elliet standing in left foreground. A portrait of her four children is in the background

June Mendoza was born in Melbourne, Australia,1927, to an artistic family, pianist, composer Dot (née) Mendoza and musician John Morton. June focused on an art career from twelve years of age, taking life drawing at fourteen. By seventeen June was illustrating book jackets, magazine illustrations, town-planning exhibition artwork, record sleeves, some portraits and the adventure comic strip Devil Doone.

Mendoza immigrated to England in the early 1950s and worked for Hulton Press producing illustrations and comics for Eagle's companion title Girl. After five years June transitioned into full time portraiture with subjects including Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Sammy Davis Junior, Sean Connery, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II (twice), HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Sir William McMahon, Prince Edward, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Sir John Major, Sir John Gorton 1972 (official Parliamentary portrait acquired 1972 – the first and only official portrait of a Prime Minister by a woman artist).

 June Mendoza with paint palette in front of her portrait of Sammy Davis Junior.

Panel from Diana and Debbie are Dieticians featured in 1950's Girl Annual by Hulton Press.

In mid 2013 June answered a few questions for me via email.

Do you recall what your first professional illustration job was and how old you were at the time?
Hopeless with dates, But discounting portraits, which I was already doing by the time I was 12, I remember a big job on a Town Planning exhibition for some architects when I was about 17, which involved humourous, but relevant, illustrations accompanying text, on about ten large panels.

How did you get the job of illustrating the first episodes of Devil Doone?
Can't remember, But I had this ability to repeat likenesses of the characters in different situations and with different expressions.

Do you recall any other cartoonists that were active during the time you drew comics in Australia?
No. Except the beloved Les Tanner, of course;  but he was something else.

Devil Doone for K.G. Murray's Man Junior Magazine.

What brought you to England and what were the first comics you worked on there?
The world was on the other side, and we all wanted to be there. I took over from a splendid comic artist on the already running and popular 'Belle of the Ballet" for Hulton Press. Alan Stranks, who was doing 'PC 49' for them recommended me--- again, because of this likeness thing. Then I ended up doing all sorts of things for them.

Why did you use the pseudonym Chris Garvey for some of your work for Girl?
I think it was just to keep my portrait work separate from the commercial stuff, and I kept it ambiguous plus the surname of an amazing human being  in my life, who died very young.

Did you read or have a familiarity with comics before you started drawing them in Australia?
As a kid I had my weekly, eagerly awaited comic to devour;  can't remember its' name, but I do remember another I loved called Film Fun  which featured mostly British actors,entertainers etc, amongst which was a regular strip featuring Lupino Lane.  Amazingly, by pure chance, I ended up, in my actressing days, working with him in the West End and on tour, in his famous show ' Me and My Girl ' Lovely man.
News of my first portrait to be accepted by the Royal Soc. of Portrait Painters was on tour with him in Cambridge: we all went to the pub after the show and celebrated.

Were there any particular differences or demands you encountered upon entering the English comics industry?
Only that I was now working in full colour, and needed to learn how to apply this to deal with the vagaries of the printed result.
Are there any particular standout memories from your time in comics?
Matt, too long winded.  I did about five years of it inc.  years of  ' Belle of the Ballet' ;   serial on Joan of Arc [ fascinating ] ;  ' Petruschka, 'the ballet;   a cooking series; and misc. illustrations, covers etc.
But portraiture was the prime, constant accompaniment  throughout -------- from the age of 12.

 Panel from Diana and Debbie are Dieticians featured in 1950's Girl Annual by Hulton Press.

The three Illustrations below are from a Girl Annual accompanying an article on the work of British film make up artist George Blackler. All signed under June's Pseudonym Chris Garvey.

 George Blackler applies make-up to Alec Guinness.

 Yoko Tani made up as an Eskimo for 'The Savage Innocents'

 George Blackler provided 'Moko' for Maori actors in the film production of John Guthries novel, The Seekers.
Trailer for June Mendoza portrait painting DVD

Sources: Special thanks to Phil Rushton, Devil Doone scan courtesy Ausreprints, Devil Doone history at Comicsdownunder , Artist June Mendoza with [her] portrait of Sammy Davis Junior courtesy June Mendoza, ,  June Mendoza seated with her arms around two of her children, Ashley and Lee; Elliet is standing in left foreground. A portrait of all four children is in the background courtesy June Mendoza,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stamina Clothes - Walter Lacey Jardine

The following advertisements featured in Australian magazine Parade during 1950's and 1960's for Stamina Clothes. I could easily imagine these being presented to the clothing executives in a Don Draperesque presentation. Several of the illustrations are signed by Walter Lacey Jardine (1884 - 1970) and I would likely attribute them all to him. Jardine showed an early aptitude for art and apprenticed at 12 years of age with newspaper artist J. H. Leonard. For the next twenty years Jardine worked in newspapers contributing full page black-and-white illustrations for the Sydney Star (Sun from 1910). 

After a successful career as a commercial artist in Australia, Jardine went to America in 1923 and became famous for his pen-and-ink drawings on scraper-board. Jardine quickly found commercial illustration work for Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The American Legion and Motor Magazine. Jardine also worked in advertising with clients that included Durant Motors Inc., General Motors Corporation and the Packard Motor Car Co., E. R. Squibb & Sons (toothpaste) and York Manufacturing Co. (refrigerators).

Returning to Australia in 1928 Jardine opened a studio and worked primarily freelance until the 1950's where he took up teaching by correspondence with the Art Training Institute in Melbourne. From 1945 to 1959, Jardine in partnership with W.F Paterson created the company Walter Jardine Advertising Service (later Jardine, Paterson & Co). Jardine worked into his retirement designing a set of postage stamps at age 80. Jardine passed away in 1970 at age 96.


These last two illustrations depict Jardine's variations on a similar theme.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Phil Belbin

One of Australia's finest adventure comic illustrators, Phillip Bertram Johstone Belbin (1925-1993) produced a prolific output of work across K. G. Murray's stable of magazines and comics through the forties to the seventies. A quantity of Belbin's early work went unsigned (in particular paperback covers) and he was also known to use pseudonyms which included Humph, Fillini, Pittsburgh and Duke as well as his own name.

Read Belbin's Kath King - Diamonds of Death here.

Read a biography of Belbin by Greg Ray here.

Following illustrations and cartoons are from Man Junior magazine from 1950's - 1970's.


Source:, ACE biographical portraits : the artists behind the comic book characters : the Australian comic book exhibition, Melbourne State Library.