Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Illustration Friday - PLAY


This illustration of Robert Johnson playing guitar is part of a much larger project of mine that's been on the backburner for quite some time now. Someday I hope to finish the entire project, but for now it's still on hold. Oh well....that's what I get for having too many open projects at once!

Robert Johnson was an influential Mississippi blues singer and songwriter who supposedly sold his soul to Satan "at the crossroads" in exchange for his remarkable talent on the guitar. Born and raised in Mississippi, he started playing blues guitar in the late 1920s. His wife and child died in childbirth around 1930 and he is said to have devoted himself to the guitar. Part of the crossroads story stems from a report that he dropped out of sight for a while in the early 1930s and returned a much-improved guitarist. In 1936-37 he recorded at least 29 songs in Texas (San Antonio and Dallas), then returned to Mississippi to play and sing in clubs and bars. His mysterious death at the age of 27 added to the legend: on the night of 13 August 1938 something happened to Johnson in a bar in Greenwood, Mississippi and he died three days later. Maybe he was stabbed, maybe he was poisoned or maybe the devil collected on his debt -- nobody knows for sure. In 1986 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence, and his songs have been covered by several rock stars, including Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones. His songs include "Crossroad Blues," "Me and the Devil Blues" and "Terraplane Blues."

Robert Johson information from Answers.com.

Colored pencil drawing.

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36 comments:

faeorain said...

Wonderful illustration! Great subject choice. Perfect!

michael dailey said...

well amy if this is the 1st part of a larger project, u better be sure to post it all when its done, cause id love to see it. Robert Johnson, The Blues enough said, now just listen to em play.

bobdylan8 said...

That is a great drawing, excellent detail. I love the picture.

Sam said...

very nice illustration !

Lady Guedes said...

Coooooooool!

carla said...

This is such a beautifully done piece... I am sooo curious what your larger project is...perhaps an illustrated history of blues and rock? I love the limited palette...it makes feel like I'm going back in time. Wonderful work, Amy!

IdiotHead said...

Cool illustration. Interesting story. I've learned something today.
8^)

Christine Lim Simpson said...

Excellent portrait.

Pickledog said...

Amy, this illustration is fantastic! Your rendering really conveys the look and a style of a portrait of that time. Very interesting history too, fitting of a proper blues man, but had he lived today he could have just learned to play the guitar from that Esteban guy on late night TV.

kj said...

wow, amy, you are skilled in so many mediums. i love this. you've captured another time beautifully.

what is the full project? must be pretty wonderful if this is the beginning.

kj

Colorsonmymind said...

This is terrific. I had never heard of him before. Great stuff

Michael O'Connell said...

looks like you went to the crossroads to do this one… great work…

mike facey said...

This is a great job! You inspired me to use the piece I did this week.

Linda said...

wow, outstanding portrait and love the color palate!

Ellen said...

WOW! You are multi-talented beyond, love the piece and thanks for the info!

Sandra said...

That's really cool. And I did enjoy the story too. I agree with Michael Dailey - I hope you will post the completed project when you finish. It's a great render of the musician, I'd like to see more!

Jan said...

wonderful amazing art

Lu*** said...

Beautiful, beautiful! I love this great drawing

Janet said...

Wonderful! I'm curious to see more of your bigger project, too...

letile said...

beatiful portrait-

mishka said...

WOW I love your detail. This is great!

the enigma said...

very nice color pencil work..

screamy mimi said...

This is fantastic! I love the movement in the suit.

flossy-p said...

WOW, that is really impressive! Spectacular detail, could look at it for hours.

I must say your list icon is really great too.

bill zeman said...

very nice drawing
lots of depth

Neil Wallace said...

I am truly amazed. I never thought I would see a drawing of one of my hero's here on IF. I love Robert Johnson. He was an amazing performer and you have really captured the essence of his persona. Beautiful drawing.
Neil

haze mcelhenny said...

that's stunning pencil work. i'd love to see the finsihed work. ^5

Chickengirl said...

whoh!!! Hope we'll get to see more.

ValGalArt said...

As soon as I clicked on I recognized Robert Johnson. What a great and well drawn idea for Play! Years ago I helped print several editions for an artist that did art about blind blues players. His name is Lee Jaffee. I love how you are always working on unique and thought provoking art and you have so many sides to your work.

Trevor Pitt said...

Sweet illo Amy! I have nothing else to say because you've blown me away with this piece. :)

aynaku said...

really cool illo...for some reasons I've skipped it last week, sorry...and i'm involved with devilish music THIS week...
:)

Rrramone said...

Well, as I heard it, he had a thing for the ladies, and he died because he was fooling around with the wrong one. His music is genius however. :-)

Nice drawing, and thanks for the kind words. I don't subscribe to HOW so I haven't seen it. :-)

Jana Bouc said...

That's a really fine drawing--beautifully and sensitively done.

creative kismet said...

Perfect! I love the feel/mood it gives!

CAS said...

Lovely sensitive artwork and an interesting story too. When I was being brought up as a Catholic (a depressingly long time ago) I used to wonder, seriously, about how you set up the deal ...

tiffinix said...

Oh Amy! Wow - this is stunning. The folds in the jacket and the expression. Beautiful so very beautiful. Plus what a wonderful person to do an illustration of. Fantastic.