Grayscale reproductions in art books

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Grayscale reproductions in art books

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Bearbeitet: Jan. 8, 2011, 12:44am

Hey folks. I've been pondering this point for a while in regards to new published material (meaning—new reproductions of Golden Age illos.). Does grayscale reproduction hold any interest to you? I posted this on my blog earlier tonight, it explains the point a bit. I'd be VERY interested in feedback from this group. Thanks-


Jan. 8, 2011, 9:05am

I don't mind grayscale if it was originally published that way or was actually intended by the artist to be grayscale or black and white. But I hate when beautiful color prints are reproduced in gray to cut costs. I don't know how many times I have purchased book reproductions, alleged to have beautiful illustrations, to find that the color prints have been printed in black and white. I'm not talking about Dover, but other companies that specialize in reprints of older texts. THAT, I dislike.


Jan. 8, 2011, 3:40pm

I agree with Cindy. B and W in B and W is fine....but color images reproduced in B and W is something I buy only as a last resort (If I just can't get any other reproductions anywhere else)

Jan. 9, 2011, 1:19am

Agreed on the point of reproducing color work in black and white. It's not optimal nor preferable by any means.
My question pertains to works originally printed in black and white, many of which were painted in values of gray. They 5 images on the blog post were all originally PRINTED as halftones. I can't be 100% for any but the Pyle piece that they were not painted in color, so let's use the Pyle piece as an example.
Would it be of interest to you to see THAT PIECE, in grayscale, in a book that might otherwise be all color? (Or would you rather see a different color piece?)
Are you more likely to pass a grayscale image on a page, or does it have just as much value to you as a color image?
What is a gray image worth in comparison to a color image?

Jan. 10, 2011, 1:12pm

I'd have no problem with that piece (or anything like it) in a book.

Jan. 10, 2011, 1:31pm

As for having "just as much value" as a color piece.....that's kind of hard to say. I've always been irritated when black and white is treated as "inferior" (like colorizing old movies or slapping new ugly color on old beautifully inked comic book pages to "improve" them. I may be in the minority, but I thought the color added to the Frazetta "Telling Stories" book ruined it)
But...color does catch the eye more and, when done well, it does add that extra element...
That said, I never felt anything was missing when I bought books on Joseph Clement Coll, Frederick Gruger or Franklin Booth.
So....if the artist is a painter known for color work, I'd like to see most of the work in color, but if he/she did black and white work and preliminary drawings, I'd like to see those too.

Jan. 10, 2011, 5:12pm

just so, dinoboy

not to mention the unreliability of color reproduction

Apr. 4, 2011, 7:13pm

In the era of the mass-cirulation magazines such as Scribners and Harpers colour reproduction was expensive so colour plates were reserved as a 'treat' for readers. I suppose some artists made a vitrue out of necessinty and adjusted their tecnique to meet the requirements of the publishers. A case of making the best of a bad job? I have seen fine mono images in books but they belong to a later period when the absence of colour was more decidedly a matter of artstic choice.

I understand that critics who have viewed the original artork (by Wyeth and others) intended for magazine publication have commented on the 'broad brush' approach of the illustrators, with a general lack of subtlety and finesse in the execution.