It is sad that just a short time after Frank Frazetta passes from this earth, one of the few men whose touch with a brush was as good would also succumb to illness. Al Williamson was a giant of an artist in his skills, but somehow he was primarily an artist who dazzled other artists but didn't have his name transcend the work the way that Frank's did.
Coming up at a time when illustrators were able to be inspired by some of the classic american comic artist such as Raymond and Foster, as well as seeing Lyendecker and others create what we now know as the classic age of American illustrators, Al had a facility with a brush that was matched only by Frazetta and Wood as his contemporaries. It was technique along with the eyes to saw, really saw, the compositions and the structure necessary to make the whole piece work. There was no trick to it other than bloody hard work.
His work on EC remains my favorite, while some prefer Rip Kirby or Secret Agent Corrigan. Even his work on the Blade Runner adaption in the 1980's is stellar.
Of personal reflections, I have none. I had dinner with him in a group once or twice and I don't think that i ever got the chance to sit next him. Mores the shame. I was just happy as could be to be in the presence of such a great man. I'm sorry that there was no chance to one day wrangle the chair next to Al so that i could discuss brushes with him, or, well... just anything.
The great ones are great and we all just sit back and get mesmerized by their work. Al influenced generations of inkers and artists. As it should be. Rest in peace Al.