Contributor interview: CORTNEY SKINNER

This week we feature Cortney Skinner, who took on Benjamin Franklin in Volume 1 of The Graphic Canon.

Detail from “Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress” by Benjamin Franklin, adapted by Cortney Skinner

What inspired you to adapt the piece you did for The Graphic Canon?
My piece, a painting illustrating “Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress” from a private letter by Ben Franklin (1745), is an original painting done specifically for The Graphic Canon. Having over thirty-five years in the illustration biz, I’ve done a wide range of work in a variety of mediums and styles for a very diverse clientele. One sort of piece I’ve always wanted to do is a genre painting showing a scene from a century long past. The Graphic Canon provided that opportunity, so . . . inspired by artists such as Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier, Howard Pyle, and Fortunino Matania, I made my own attempt. The historic research alone took up much of the time to do the piece, but it was a fun project.

What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m in the midst of doing an illustration for the 1930s pulp character The Moon Man, a fully illustrated Christmas book, fifteen covers for a reissue of the Oz books, a private commission for a portrait of H. P. Lovecraft, and a conceptual painting for a movie about an alternate history concerning the US Navy’s pre-WWII aircraft-carrying airship fleet.