Carl Barks was one of the mightiest of all of the 20th century American comic artists, which is saying a lot.  His books have been reprinted in most every country that has comics available. Many collections of his stories have appeared in print, and many articles written about his great skills at storytelling using pictures and words. Probably, he is among the top ten or twenty comic artists in comic books and strips.

      Later in life, Carl turned to painting his ducky-subjects on canvas and board in elaborate oils. While a fair amount of books and articles have appeared on Carl's work in comics, there is an absence of technical looks into his working methods, his reference materials and techniques for his paintings...until now. 

     John Garvin is a painter as well  as a writer and director of video games. He was in a position to have been able to spend time with Carl and his wife Gare' while Carl was in the midst of his painting work. As a creative person himself, John has brought to us an intimate, extraordinarily detailed look into the methods and technical details of the creation of the oil paintings the "Good Artist" created after his retirement from comic book stories.

     It's a beautiful book, worthy of the legacy of Carl Barks. It was obviously a labor of love every step of the way for Mr. Garvin. In each and every detail, this fabulous book presents itself with extremely well thought out standards. It is meticulously researched covering every intimate aspect of Carl's painting work. We get to peek into his studio in a way rarely possible for a reader interested in an artist's world.

     We get to see Mr. Bark's studio floorplan. We visit his reference shelf, and there is much here also about the work of Carl's talented wife Gare', who is much more responsible for shaping her artist husband's later art than is commonly known.

     John Garvin has done a beautiful job selecting examples for the volume, and his layout of the pages is much superior in quality to what I'm used to encountering in books like this.

     I've always considered The Carl Bark's Library, published by Bruce Hamilton, Russ Cochran under Another Rainbow to the be the ultimate collection of the comic stories by Carl Barks. Now there is a work on Unca Carl's paintings to match it in focus and high quality.

     If you are interested in Carl Bark's paintings as collectibles, get this book. If you are an artist yourself, interested in how a professional sets up a studio and works, get this book.

    Not only is this the very best book on the technique behind the duck-oils of one artist, it is also one of the better written oil painting primers that sit in my library.

     This is a must have work for all lovers of Carl Barks!

I must say I’m impressed, and I think Carl would have been, especially with your coverage of media, and his take on his own craft.
- Patrick Block (Disney creator and fine artist)

  “I thought you did a very good job of bringing Barks to life for those of us who know so little about him... It’s nice to see a well-researched and lucidly explained discipline unfold in front of your eyes. It’s a remarkable, remarkable book and you should feel very proud. I’m proud to have it in the 'How To' section of the Cerebus Archive.”

 - Dave Sim (Author / artist of Cerebus and Glamourpuss)


     “I must say I’m impressed, and I think Carl would have been, especially with your coverage of media, and his take on his own craft.”
- Geoffrey Blum (Associate Editor of the Carl Barks Library)

     "Your book is one of the most amazing studies of Barks I've ever read. The care and detail and the exposure of previously unknown material and your brilliant analysis of composition, layout, design, sources, and on and on have revealed to me things I had intuitively grasped but had no explicit means of articulating in the specific techniques you have developed. Your study of perspective, for example, confirms and extends much of what I've been teaching and writing about recently in terms of Carl's use of vectors of motion, eye gazes, etc., in the composition of his comics pages and the centrality of such techniques to the fundamental innards of his narratives and indeed to the ontology (the very being) of Carl's greatness.
     Thank you for doing this massive amount of work and opening my eyes to facets of Carl's later work in painting that had eluded me. The book is, for me at least, an inspiration that I will be returning to time after time as I grope toward trying to get hold of explanations of Carl's  achievements that will forever elude total elucidation in verbal, analytical exposition."
- Professor Donald Ault, author of Carl Barks: Conversations
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