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Frank Frazetta, who died in 2010 at the age of 82, was a legendary illustrator and comic book artist who painted covers for numerous Adventure and Science Fiction novels. His art accompanied heroic works of fiction by the likes of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs and included characters such as Conan, Tarzan, and John Carter of Mars. He also painted over a dozen movie posters as well as nine record album covers. Frazetta is best known for his heroic male characters as well as beautiful voluptuous women that became known as “Frazetta Girls”. Even his animals were powerfully muscled creatures.
Frazetta started drawing in the 1930s when illustrators paid special attention to bone structure in their human figures. Today, there seems to be more emphasis on drawing the muscles without a great understanding of the bony structure which supports them. In the 1930s and 40s, there were bodybuilding magazines available to learn anatomy from but this was before every top competitor took steroids, much less all the other drugs available today, not to mention synthol. Bodybuilders have changed radically over the decades. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that there were bodybuilders like Tom Platz who had the extremely striated quadriceps that many comic book artists today include in their illustrations. Pre-Platz, no one could even foresee that legs could even look like that. Frazetta is regarded as a classic illustrator in the 20th century similar to how Steve Reeves is a classic bodybuilder from the same era.
Frazetta’s characters are inspiring physically and there’s a lot of appreciation of his work and style worldwide. Clint Eastwood’s The Gauntlet movie poster was painted by Frazetta. Director Robert Rodriguez has a Frazetta museum in Austin, Texas. Built Report will include more stories on physically inspiring artists and include anatomy breakdowns of their individual works. More on Frazetta coming soon as well as Dave Stevens, Mark Shultz, Bernie Wrightson, and classical artists like Peter Paul Rubens, Michelangelo, Ingres, Leonardo Da Vinci and more.
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