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Bing image search interface

As you might imagine, in the course of writing Lines and Colors I do a fair bit of searching out art images on the web — whenever possible searching for the largest examples of images of artwork that I can find.

One of the ways I do this is to use the “image search” features of the major search engines. Unfortunately, Google Image Search, which used to be the standard, has been diminished in its usefulness, as Google, perhaps nervous about copyright issues, has gotten namby pamby about searching for large images and taken away the ability to search for images in extra large or custom, viewer chosen sizes.

I have of late switched the majority of my art image searching to another search engine.

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OK, I hear you snickering (Bing, really? BING?). Yes, Bing, Microsoft’s seldom used (but actually decent) competitor to Google’s overwhelming dominance of the search arena.

While Google hamstrings its image search, Bing offers a full featured image search, that not only allows you to search for extra large images, but offers a few features Google’s version never did.

Unlike Google’s typically spare opening page, Bing Image Search is crowded with suggested images of pop stars, cute animals and a bunch of other pop culture garbage you’re sure to be fascinated by. (I think if you’re logged into a Microsoft account, it may remember your own recent searches.) The simple search field is at the top.

In the initial search term result (images above, with detail crop; I’ve searched for “Dutch landscape painting”), click on “Filter” to the right, and in the sub-navigation that drops down, click on “Image Size” at the left. You’ll have a choice for Small, Medium and Large, as with Google, but in addition you can choose “Extra Large”, or enter custom size parameters in the provided fields. I often search for 2000 x 2000 pixels. (The little icon in the right side of the search bar is for “search by image”.)

The filtered page will show large images with the size displayed over them. If you click on the hamburger menu at the upper right, you’ll have the option to display information from the page under the images.

Clicking on an image gives a close up. In the column to the right, the first two entries are ads, the third is the link to the originating age for the image, Under that are buttons for “Visit site”, “Pages” and Image sizes”, and below that similar images (related, but not the images in question) and related searches.

Clicking “Pages” produces a list of pages that display version of that image.

Clicking “Image sizes” organizes the image sources by the size of the image (largest is not always best as some may be watermarked or less accessible than others, you can also have multiple choices for the same size image).

The little icon in the search field at the top of the page (that I assume is supposed to be a camera) opens a Visual Search box. It offers you the option to upload an image, or enter a link to one, and search for other, hopefully larger, versions of that same image. It also allows you to search for a page with additional information about an image you’re trying to identify.

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Google image search interface

The Google Image Search initial returns on a search is similar to Bing’s. A link for “Tools” on the right drops down a sub-navigation from which you can choose “Image Size” on the left, with choices only for Small, Medium and Large as well as “All”.

The filtered returns show page location under them, image size is not available.

Google image search interface

Clicking on an image shows a preview in a right hand column, with the page name and link below it. In this case, the size is available by rollover. Under that are “Related images” (similar but not copies of the same image), and “Related Searches”.

Google image search interface

The Camera icon in the search bar is for visual image search. Upload or paste the URL of an image (the image itself, not a page containing an image), and returns an array of copies of the image with the source page underneath.

If you right click (or Control-click on Mac) on an image in Google Chrome, you will see a choice to “Search Googe for image”. There are plugins that provide the same functionality for other browsers.

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Yahoo Image Search interface

Yahoo Image Search exists. Why, I’m not sure.

The initial search term results look much like Bing or Google, but there is no page or size information. Clicking on “Advanced” at right provides filters for color, size and image type. Sizes are S,M,L. (The others let you search by color as well, from the sub-menus.)

Clicking on an image returns a detail panel with the page and size info and the option to “Visit page” or View image”. There is no visual image search that I can find.

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Tin Eye reverse Image Search interface

Tin Eye is a venerable visual image search engine that provided that service before the big guys, um… borrowed the idea. I mention it primarily out of respect for that. It still does a good job in its initial mission, but there is no provision for image size choices. Tin Eye offers plugins to put their reverse image search in browser menus. Tin Eye offers a service to track your own images and notify you if it finds they’re being used elsewhere, but the service is expensive, probably mostly of use to corporate intellectual property holders.

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All three of the above major search engines allow you to search for images (or other content) from a particular site. In the regular search bar, enter the search terms, followed by a space and then the word site, a colon (no space) and the URL of the site. For example: “dutch landscape paintings site:sothebys.com”. This will return a page with results for that topic only from the Sothebys auction site.

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General search engines are just one avenue for searching out art images on the web. Another, often more fruitful way to find large art images is to do local searches on the sites of major museums, or on art image agglomeration sites, such as the Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons of the Art Renewal Center. These should be the topic of another post.

Happy image searching!

(Oh yes, and Time Sink Warning!)

 
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Adrian Tomine, New Yorker cover, Dec 7, 2020
Adrian Tomine, New Yorker cover, Dec 7, 2020

Originally from California, Adrian Tomine is an illustrator and cartoonist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Tomine has taken to his adopted city so well that he has become a reader favorite contributor to the New Yorker.

His New Yorker covers, as well as many of his other illustrations and drawings, have that wonderful combination of evocative artwork and wry observation that exemplify the best of the magazine’s cover art. His artwork uses a streamlined line and color fill approach, reminiscent of the European ligne claire style of comics art.

As a case in point, his cover for the new December 7, 2020 issue of the New Yorker (images above, top) pretty well catches the whimsical side of the 2020 zeitgeist.

The New Yorker has a wonderful new online feature called Cover Story in which they give you background on the creation of the current issue’s cover; here is the one for Tomine’s December 7, 2020 cover.

Tomine is the author/illustrator of a number of books of drawings and comics, many of which are published by Drawn & Quarterly, and the latest of which is The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Bookshop.org link).

There is a video overview of some of his titles by “panellogy 080” on YouTube.

Tomine’s website contains examples of his illustrations and information about his books and comics, as well as offering prints and original art for sale.

Unfortunately, his online gallery is of the wearisome “pop up and close, pop up and close” variety, which discourages casual browsing, and the images offered are small. You might find it helpful to augment your visit to his website with this Google image search I’ve set up for Tomine’s work on newyorker.com.

 
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R. Kikuo Johnson

R. Kikuo Johnson

Originally from Hawaii, R. Kikuo Johnson is an illustrator and comics artist based in Brooklyn, New York.

His illustration clients include Apple, Random House, Penguin Books, Marvel Comics, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and the New York times, among others.

Johnson maybe best known for his wonderful covers for The New Yorker. The image above, top is an example. I don’t know about you, but it took me a second glance to catch the point of the illustration; I love that.

He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, and has returned to teach there.

Johnson’s work ranges from dramatic to subtle, and often has something of a feeling of the ligne claire style of European comics — little variation in line width, flat color, but within those constraints producing a naturalistic feeling of time and place.

 
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David Nakayama

David Nakayama

David Nakayama is a free lance illustrator, concept artist and illustrator. He is known in particular for his cover art for Marvel Comics, as well as work for DC Comics, Fantasy Flight Games, Upper Deck and others.

Nakayama’s comics covers combine the fun, over-the-top energy and sensationalism characteristic of mainstream American comics with firm draftsmanship and solidly dimensional rendering.

His approach ranges from serious to lighthearted and even comical, in a manner appropriate for the title and subject.

 
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Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano is a Japanese illustrator, concept artist, and designer of scenes, characters and costumes for film and gaming.

In addition, Amano is known for his work for both Japanese and American comics, as well as his gallery art.

His style blends influences from Japanese woodblock prints, American and European comics and pop culture as well as Art Nouveau and Golden Age European illustration.

Amano appears to work primarily in watercolor and ink. There is a brief video on YouTube that includes scenes of him working. There is also an interview on Polygon.

 
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Jean (Moebius) Giraud illustration

Jean (Moebius) Giraud illustration

Mystere Montrouge, plate 10, Jean Giraud

This is an image from a portfolio of prints published in 2001 by Jean (Moebius) Giraud.

Dreamlike, inventive and striking, it’s yet another wonderful example of his line and color approach, without the spotted blacks and feathering characteristic of American comics art.

Note the subtle gradations in the face and headdress.

I found this copy of the image posted on Reddit

 
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