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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Magical Illustrations of The Rubayyat

The Rubayyat by Omar Khayam is a wonderful piece of Arabic literature (as well as the inspiration for a hilarious Rocky and Bullwinkle story). As I read it, I find its beautiful poetry to still be able to speak volumes, even in this, our modern world. It goes to show that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

I feel that such beautiful writing should be accompanied by art that is equally as beautiful. And that Is what we get here. Omar Khayyam is joined by the extremely talented illustrator Joseph Isom. So far, these are the only illustrations I know of that he did. I have no background information on him.

Does David Apatoff have any information on him? David is the curator of the Illustration Art blog here.

Such a strong sense of composition and design. Everything is staged so clearly that even at a small size, you know exactly what is happening in the painting.

This is one of my favorites. Oh, who am I kidding? I can't choose a favorite.

Another aspect of his talent that floors me is how each piece has a different color scheme, each suggesting a different mood and atmosphere.

My god, these are beautiful!! I must bow to his talents!! I can only dream to have his talent.

Until Next Time
Happy Trails


Anonymous said...

Stunning stuff. This artist must have been a magician when it came to painting. It astounds me how anyone can paint like this. I wonder if Joseph Isom is still living today. So many of the great illustrators and cartoonists of the past have been passing away just this year. It almost brings me to tears thinking about it.

Jim Smith said...

I've seen these somewhere before but never knew the artist's name. Makes me think of Klimnt. Thanks for posting these Eric.

Eric Noble said...

Robert - A lot of the classic illustrators were magicians when it came to painting. I wish I knew if Joseph Isom were alive or not. I would love any sort of biographical information on him. He is a mystery to me.

Jim - You're very welcome. I'm just sharing the wonders I have in my collection.

Kirk said...

Beautiful compositions! Yes, very Klimnt-esque, with a touch of some of the Spaniard comic artists Jim Warren used to employ for Vampirella and Creepy magazine in the '70's. The only thing I find vaguely disappointing is how evident the use of photo references is in the figures. I don't object to using photo reference by any means, but one hopes the drawing takes on it's own identity, rather than suggesting a model or original, if I make any sense.

Oscar Grillo said...

When I was young and beautiful (The early sixties) this style was very much in fashion among young illustrators. The greatest and most influencial in that period was Bob Peak.
Do you know how they achieved the bubbly feeling on the big brush strokes of the backgrounds? They mixed water with detergent, the one used for washing dishes, and diluted colour ink or acrylics with it, the more detergent you used, the more bubbles it left behind. Also rubbing the brush with ink or watercolour or gouache on a bar of soap. Try it. You'll be impressed.

MISOM said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments about
my Dad's illustrations. He was so so talented, full of laughter and a loving father to four children. Chester Joe Isom Jr. grew up in Kansas City and started his freelance career at Hallmark among other great artists/friends of the time. He worked as a freelance illustrator for over 35 years. In November of 2000, our dad passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 58.
We love and miss him dearly. One could hope that his talented genes were passed along to not one, but all four siblings whom are professional artists and designers today.

We hope to have a gallery up with his work and more info. thanks again for your kind words.

Matthew Isom

Mitch Itkowitz said...

Your father was indeed a very talented art. I was talking with Robert McGinnis, and I brought up Joe's name. We wondered where he was.
Does the family have any original paintings?
Please contact me at to talk.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best, Mitch Itkowitz