Just got the news Monday that Frank Frazetta passed away. After years of declining health and battling back from multiple strokes, he finally succumbed to one. I'm so glad we in the National Cartoonists Society got to honor him in person about 20 months ago. For a look back at that celebration, see my earlier post at http://jptoonist.blogspot.com/2008/09/frank-frazetta-tribute.html .
Frank was a rare genius in our field. From the age of 8 he was recognized as a prodigy. What he did came so naturally to him that he really couldn't explain the process to you. You'd ask him how he created this or that effect on a particular illustration and his reply was almost as if he'd missed the point of your question. For Frank, it was simple-- he just did it. My last conversation with him had Frank remarking about how quickly he painted a certain piece we were looking at. Kind of like how a kid will say, "Yeah, and it only took me 40 minutes!" The rest of us were so blown away at his mastery, yet what impressed him was the amount of time it took.
He'll certainly be missed, but his impact on illustration will remain. Thank you for the inspiration, Frank, from the rest of us who have to work hard to accomplish what you made look easy.