The Artist Frank Godwin Goes Hollywood

August 26, 2013


Frank Godwin was a fantastic illustration artist across all levels of the profession including books, magazines, posters, and comics. He started his career in the 1910’s, and passed away in 1959 when he was still working on his great comic strip “Rusty Riley.” One particular location that he drew about was Hollywood, something I only recently discovered.


While scanning online through some old issues of Photoplay magazine, I came across several issues that used his illustrations for fictional stories they ran from around 1926 until at least 1938. All these had the subject and setting of people trying to make it big in films.


Godwin was a close friend of James Montgomery Flagg, himself a director and actor in the early days of films. He apparently moved around quite a bit, but I don’t see any evidence that he had settled in California at all, so I suppose these were all done at some distance from the locations. However, in one Photoplay article he wrote how he tried his hand at acting, but found he was better suited to acting out on paper, fortunately for us.


gibson-hollywood4 gibson-hollywood5



  1. Hi David,

    Because of this post, I finally know where a certain one of my Frank Godwin original drawings appeared! I own the right-hand half of the bottom illustration (from “Eggs and Onions”).

    Your blog indirectly led me to another website:


    From that link, it is clear that Sylvia Godwin and Gloria Swanson were close friends.

    –Tom Sawyer

  2. That’s great, Tom! Congratulations on finding out the source on your Godwin piece. He was a spectacular artist. I appreciate you sharing the link too.

  3. […] in 2013, a discussion of Godwin in Hollywood appeared in a blog called “The Art and Mind of dbc: Artwork and Musings by David Blaine Clemons.” At the time, I owned an original Godwin pen-and-ink (which I have since sold) that had […]

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