Woolcock, Turnbull & Lupatelli: the three Good Frog Artists.

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matrix
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Re: Peter Woolcock: the Good Frog Artist.

Post by matrix »

Continuing on from the question Phil asked on the 'Playhour' thread, the 'Willow Wood' scans are from 'Playhour' march 1956. For me Phil Toby toad looks very similar to his early Freddie frog, would you agree?

As a matter of interest Phil, do you or anyone else know when he stopped drawing Freddie Frog? I know Douglas Turnbull was doing some nice examples through 1963.

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philcom55
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Re: Peter Woolcock: the Good Frog Artist.

Post by philcom55 »

Woolcock's Freddy appeared in Jack & Jill well into the 1980s, though I think most of the later episodes were reprints (and as you say there were also some drawn by other artists). By contrast he seems to have carried on drawing new adventures of Mr. Toad in Playhour right up to his retirement. As can be seen from the date stamps on this piece of original art it looks as though it originally appeared in February 1980 and was then reused in June !985 (five years being a reasonable period to ensure that the first group of readers will have grown up and moved on to other publications).

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And while I'm at it here's another piece of his original art - this time from 1979 (reprinted 1985).

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Apart from his colouring Toby Toad certainly has a look of both Freddy Frog and the early Mr. Toad.

It's interesting to see that 'Willow Wood' started out with a much larger cast of rotating characters before it settled on Wally Weasel, Sammy Stoat and Harry Hamster for its regular stars. As can be seen from this August 1956 episode Wally and Sammy actually seem to have predated Harry as a Laurel & Hardy style comedy double act - though their diminutive companion duly tagged along to provide the brains of the outfit (such as they were) just a few weeks later.

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- Phil Rushton

matrix
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Re: Peter Woolcock: the Good Frog Artist.

Post by matrix »

Nice examples, love the audience in the 1980 one!

He did work for a long time on 'Freddie frog'. I guess Mr Turnbull took over in the early sixties while he was working on 'Mr toad' in 'Harold Hare'?

If you don't mind Phil, I am scanning a Douglas Turnbull example for comparison.
Attachments
Freddie.frog.1.jpg
Freddie.frog.2.jpg

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suebutcher
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Re: Peter Woolcock: the Good Frog Artist.

Post by suebutcher »

I'd say the "Freddie Frog" page in Phil's first post is by Turnbull, then.

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philcom55
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Re: Peter Woolcock: the Good Frog Artist.

Post by philcom55 »

This is really fascinating Matrix! :) My initial premise for this thread was the idea that - as with Carl Barks on Donald Duck - there was one Frog artist who stood head and shoulders above the others by virtue of his sheer ability. If it's correct that Douglas Turnbull drew those last pages, however, then it's quite clear that there were at least two 'Good Frog Artists' all along! I'd be really interested to hear how you were able to establish the provenance of that strip (possibly with a signature?). The frustrating thing is that I can find very little mention of Turnbull on any of the lists of British comic artists at my disposal - which, for someone so obviously talented, is quite appalling.

I'd previously assumed that the stylistic differences between Mr. Toad and Freddie resulted from a conscious attempt to give them subtly different characters: the rubbery querulousness of Freddie's mouth contrasting markedly with Toad's haughty self-importance. In spite of that, however, I must admit that I was already having some difficulty explaining the way in which the look of Freddie's strips could change from one week to the next during the early days. Looking over the few issues of Jack & Jill I own from the 1950s I'm now inclined to agree with Sue that, while Woolcock drew the very earliest Freddie the Frog strips circa 1954, the vast majority - including the frames shown at the beginning of this thread - must have been the work of Turnbull (with others, possibly, being contributed by Gordon Hutchings and Sergio Asteriti).

Far from being disappointed to discover that some of my Woolcock originals weren't drawn by him after all I now find that I'm more enthusiastic than ever to find out about their real artist. Compared to other genres of British comics it's really amazing how much remains to be discovered about the Nursery titles.

- Phil Rushton

matrix
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Re: Peter Woolcock: the Good Frog Artist.

Post by matrix »

To be honest Phil, I didn't even look at that original work again until Sue mentioned it, I just liked these examples by Turnbull and wasn't sure whether you had seen many of them. As far as I can tell he was the artist for 'Freddie' right through 1963.

The original scan does have a signature but hard to see on the last panel, so scanning a different one for you to see.

Douglas Turnbull also worked on 'Mimi and Marmy' for 'Playhour', when?
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Freddie.frog.3.jpg

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philcom55
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Re: Peter Woolcock: the Good Frog Artists.

Post by philcom55 »

Gosh! - that's really useful. It's surprising how easy it becomes differentiating between Woolcock and Turnbull - the two 'Good Frog Artists' - when you know what to look for! I really wish British comic publishers had encouraged artists to sign all their work as a matter of course!

For example I can now clearly see that this original Freddie the Frog panel was drawn by Turnbull rather than Woolcock, even though the page doesn't carry any signature.

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Deciding when he actually drew it is rather more problematic though. While a lot of original art was routinely cut up and remounted in order to be reprinted, this particular board has somehow remained intact - which means that it retains far more of its history than normal. According to a stamp on the back the artwork was originally sourced through the Temple Art Agency of Chancery Lane, while an IPC stamp on the front reveals that it last appeared in an issue of Jack & Jill dated 15th June 1985. This is by no means the whole story, however, as handwritten notes on the back indicate that it was also reprinted in 1967 and 1972 - suggesting that it must have originally been commissioned in the early 1960s, or even the late 1950s. They certainly believed in getting their money's worth out of a piece of work in those days!

Unfortunately, this degree of recycling makes it hard to tell how long Turnbull continued to produce new work for Fleetway's nursery titles.

- Phil Rushton

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Peter Gray
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by Peter Gray »

http://petergraycartoonsandcomics.blogs ... eddie+frog

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28th Jan 1961 Jack and Jill

Is this Peter's work or do I need to change the artists name..?
Last edited by Peter Gray on 25 Apr 2013, 22:48, edited 1 time in total.

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

This artwork has a timeless quality that still looks great today...I'm not surprized it was reprinted multiple times---it stands up really well even compared to today's stuff that has the benefit of advanced colour, etc.

There's no substitute for true talent, like seen here!

matrix
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by matrix »

philcom55 wrote:Gosh! - that's really useful. It's surprising how easy it becomes differentiating between Woolcock and Turnbull - the two 'Good Frog Artists' - when you know what to look for! I really wish British comic publishers had encouraged artists to sign all their work as a matter of course!

For example I can now clearly see that this original Freddie the Frog panel was drawn by Turnbull rather than Woolcock, even though the page doesn't carry any signature.

Could you give a few trade secrets up, Phil! Eg, what do you see? As I do not have many Peter Woolcock examples.

If I may stick my neck out and say, the example just posted by Peter, is by Peter Woolcock, but other examples on his blog are by Douglas Turnbull?

Unless styles were changed I see a difference in the frogs face, eg a more rounded mouth and different eyes for Turnbull, plus his background drawing is not as smooth?
Am I on the right track?

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philcom55
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by philcom55 »

Difficult! I agree that the frog's face in Peter's example has a look of Woolcock's Toad, but then the background cottages seem more like Turnbull. I don't know what Sue feels about it but I'm almost inclined to suspect another artist imitating them both.

On the examples I've seen Turnbull's characters tend to be drawn with more fluid brushstrokes (as seen in the varying thickness of their outlines), while Woolcock's style is comparitively linear. I don't know if that's any help Matrix, but I'm certainly no expert - as my initial posts on this thread prove! :roll:

I really need to dig up a lot more examples; as things stand I don't have any Jack & Jills from the early 1960s at all!

- Phil Rushton

matrix
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by matrix »

Thanks Phil, that does help and I understand the difficulty becausce of the other two artists that you mentioned earlier that also worked on the strip.
philcom55 wrote: but I'm certainly no expert - as my initial posts on this thread prove! :roll:
Phil Rushton
In respect to your quote above, I do not think it deserves rolling eyes as surely you were sold the the original artwork as Peter Woolcock as the artist.

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philcom55
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by philcom55 »

As in all such purchases caveat emptor is the eternal watchword. Like me, the seller only thought they were by Woolcock (besides which they were very cheap!). Not that I'm worried - I still think they're outstanding pieces of work, whoever drew them!

If it's any help in comparing the styles, here's another piece that definitely is by Woolcock:

Image

- Phil R.

matrix
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by matrix »

Not looking to blame, as all sold in good faith! And like you say they are excellent examples very lucky to have them.

Here's Peter Woolcocks excellent 'Mr Toad' strip from 'Harold Hare' comic, clever work with the revolving door!
Attachments
Mr.Toad.1.jpg
Mr.Toad.2.jpg
Last edited by matrix on 26 Apr 2013, 00:08, edited 1 time in total.

matrix
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Re: Woolcock & Turnbull: the two Good Frog Artists.

Post by matrix »

Just to confuse things a bit more, here are two examples of 'Mimi and Marmy'!

Woolcock and Turnbull both worked on this strip, Mimi and Marmy 1 is from 1959, and Mimi and Marmy 2 is from 1956, the examples are different so not sure if it's two different artists or a change of style?
Attachments
Mimi.1.jpg
Mimi.2.jpg

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