New book - After Carl Barks: Painting Fine-Art Cartoons in O

creator of Duckburg and Scrooge McDuck

Postby admin » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:08 pm

Received through Disney Comics Mailing List:
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 10:20:04 -0800
From: johngarvin
To: dcml
Subject: shameless plug

It's been awhile since I checked in with the fine folks at the DCML, but I
thought I'd stop by and plug my book.
I normally try to avoid such crass commercialism, but I thought someone here
might be interested in the material, and
since it's not going to get much (i.e. any) advertising, I felt that this
sort of stumping was the only way folks would hear about it.

It's called After Carl Barks: Painting Fine-Art Cartoons in Oils. I spent
about four years writing it, and 33 years researching it.

The book basically is a record of everything I know about Barks's paintings,
from craft to criticism, and it's about how Barks
heavily influenced my own work. There's a free preview on the website, so
check it out.

I don't reproduce any of Barks's paintings in the book - for copyright
reasons - so I assume
readers have access to the Barks painting books (of course, everyone has
access to images of the paintings from various websites online).

Obviously the book is intended for anyone who knows Barks's painting work

or who is interested in fine-art cartoons as a genre. The book does
reproduce much of my own work as I show examples of what
I learned from Barks and how I've done what Barks himself asked me to do:
build on his techniques and paint things that no one has
ever seen before.

So much work has been published about Barks's comic-book career, and so
little about his painting career, I thought a book like this
was needed... but as you can imagine, it's more a labor of love than
anything, since I've been painting as a hobby for more than three

Thanks, and I hope everyone has a great year!

John Garvin
Site Admin
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:49 am

Postby Daniel73 » Tue May 03, 2011 9:05 pm


Thanks to John Garvin, for sending me a copy of the book!

The book is obviously made with lots of love and care. And that's an understatement. Browsing through the book, I think it's a very interesting study for Barks-inspired fans who learn drawing colour illustations by looking at Barks's work. The book is a good guide in knowing where to look at. And it provides an interesting insight in Barks's history of painting. Including an interesting, extensive list of books of Barks's reference library, on page 249; a visual chronology of Barks pre-1971 paintings, on page 43, 44 and 46; some rare photo's; and some facsimile Barks letters and notes.

Few fans seem to really see the significance of Barks's techniques in art and storytelling. When being inspired by the style of Barks, many scholars tend to rush with the phase of designing and penciling the composition. For example, people just start with drawing the head, and then need to find room to somehow fit the body under it. Or they do draw a good duck and then need to figure out a way to compose the background around it.
This book gives insight in how to build a good design first, and how to finish it. The book learns about Barks's "narrative composition" and other techniques.

Barks scholars who call their illustrations inspired by Barks, should know the technical information of this book by heart.

And I hope that one day, someone will make a comparable book for studying the techniques in his comics. This book is a great inspiration for that.

The answers below are taken from an e-mail by John Garvin, 21 January 2011:
Q: The book doesn't contain a register of headwords. Maybe such a register can be provided on your website?

A: If you mean an “Index” – this is the English term I think – then yes, I did not put one in. I do not consider my book to be a purely scholarly book – notice that I avoided a lot of scholarly jargon and so on that you would find in a book like that, but something more for general readers. If you think an Index would be valuable, I could certainly consider adding one for future editions.

Q: When the book shows a "diagram", is that always your work or are there Barks originals among them?

A: The diagrams are all my work. I talk about the purpose of these on page 12.

The diagrams are simplified for two reasons: to avoid copyright issues, and to allow readers to focus on the ideas being discuss, and not on the Disney characters. I disagree that layouts and designs have copyrights. Again, the fair use doctrine in US copyright law suggests that if a work is changed a significant amount, then it does not infringe copyright. My test for these questions is: does my drawing make it so that the person viewing it no longer needs to own the original image to get the full enjoyment of it? And the answer is always no. In other words, if you want to see Barks’s version of “The Mummy’s Ring” you have to seek it out... my version won’t replace it in any way.

Q: On DCML you wrote that you don't reproduce any of Barks's paintings in the book, for copyright reasons. How come that the book does show some reproductions of Disney ducks and Barks paintings, despite the copyright limitations? For example, the painting 'Fancy Stranger' on page 261, Barks's original drawings for Disney painting 'Menace Out the Myths' on page 168, and also some Garé paintings on page 81.

A: The works I reproduce in the book are what I consider to be “fair use” under US Copyright law. Basically, I print just enough to demonstrate a point, or to illustrate an important idea. It would not be fair use to reprint, in full color, all of Barks’s paintings because Disney and the Barks Estate own the copyrights to those works and might be bringing out books of their own. I consider other uses to also be fair use: photos I take myself in a museum or gallery; photos of pamphlets or other such material. Again, all used very sparingly. I wrote that on the DCML to make sure that fans knew this book was not about reprinting Barks paintings.

Q: The bottom of page 79 refers to "page x". Which page is meant?

A: Sigh. You have found a typo that I missed. This will be corrected in the next edition, if there is one. Thank you! And if you find others, please let me know. Page 268 is meant.

Page 4 contains a list of all the sources used in the book, and the abbreviations for the various books. For example, Carl Barks: Conversations is (CBC). Each quote in the text contains the page number. So if the author quotes from page 13 of this book, at the end of the quote you would see (CBC 13). A complete description of this is on page 4.

Click on the picture to see a part of the contents of the book.


The book not only just gives information on Barks. It also learns how to become a creator. As I'm interested in learning how to draw and use colours, I will enjoy this book for the rest of my life. The book doesn't only contains fishes, it also provides a fishing-rod.
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