The Artist Within Book Review

By Alina Bradford

Most artists have wondered at one time or another what their idol’s studio looks like. The Artist Within, published by Dark Horse Books, is a fascinating look into the all-important room to artists- the studio. After fifteen years of work, The Artist Within is the culmination of Greg Preston’s journey to capture the inner sanctum of the comic artist.

The oversized coffee table book combines text and stunning black-and-white photos. The photos were done by the talented Preston, who is a famous photographer that has one of Las Vegas’ most successful photography studios whose clients have been, among others, Times Magazine and The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The interesting facts about the artists in the book were written by Shawn Drake, Sharon Sampsel (Preston’s wife), Jamie DeSoto, Victoria Blake, and Robert Simpson.

In the fascinating introduction, Scott Shaw, who has worked on everything from Yogi Bear to the Simpsons, tells of how his studio was made to withstand an earthquake because, “-this is the room that has to pay for the rest of the house.” He then goes on to tell the story of how he and Preston gave birth to the idea that later became The Artist Within.

Many well known artists that work in comic books, animated cartoons, comic strips, and editorial cartooning are featured in The Artist Within, including some artists who have passed away, such as Jack Kirby, Burne Hogarth, Carl Barks, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, and Chuck Jones.

Lovers of comics of all types will find at least one artist that they love. Cathy Guisewite, the creator of the frazzled but lovable Cathy, stands in her very Cathy-like studio/office for her photo. Jack Davis of Mad Magazine fame poses alongside his works-in-progress and his trusty drafting table. John Romita Sr., who is the famous artist of the Spiderman comic, is photographed surrounded by his works and impressive book collection. The co-creator of such memorable cartoons asThe Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, Joe Barbera, who passed in 2006,has his arms wide open, almost like welcoming the viewer into the past. Pictures like these give the viewer a rare glimpse into the world of an artist that few ever see. In fact, many of these pictures are exclusive to this book and have never been seen anywhere else.

This is truly a wonderful book for anyone who has ever loved comics or cartoons of any genre.

The Artist Within, by Greg Preston

Dark Horse Books

Pub. Date: July 2007

Format: Hard cover, 216 pages, b&w, 101 photographs, 101 illustrations, 12 1/2″ x 11 1/2″

MSRP: $39.95

ISBN: 1-59307-561-8

ITEM #: 13-177