I just learned of the passing of another one of my illustration heroes.

Jim Spanfeller was a large, gentle man with white hair, dark eyebrows and long graceful fingers who created very magical artwork. He used a technique called stippling which is created by making millions of tiny dots in pen and ink to create tones of gray . His pieces were incredibly detailed and intricate.

JSpanfeller lo res

@Jim Spanfeller

He taught at Parsons School of Design and he was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to school there. At the time, his class was only offered at night so as a daytime student I had to get special permission to attend. In my three years at Parsons his class was the one that made it all worthwhile.

We stayed in touch for a number of years after Parsons. He helped me create my first illustration promotion piece. His influence was clear.

Pierrot Luniere

©Janice Fried 1979

 

Eventually our communication faded. I tried to reconnect with him over the past several years to tell him how important he had been to me but I had lost his address and couldn’t find any recent references to him until a fellow artist and Parson alumni posted the sad news today.

He was master of the dot and line. A master in black and white…A master of pen and ink.  I was lucky to have been one of his students.

I don’t think we’ll see anything like him again.

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