Posts Tagged ‘illustration’


Appreciating Artist Jon Whitcomb

October 9, 2017

Recently I’ve been browsing through online archives of illustration art, and particularly spending time on one of the greats, Jon Whitcomb. Here are a few gems of his that I’ve picked out. Most of the paintings he made in his career were done with the gouache medium, and he was a master.


Appreciating the artist McClelland Barclay

April 14, 2017

McClelland Barclay was an American illustrator of the early 20th Century, born in St. Louis in 1891. He became well known for his work in magazine fiction, advertisements, and posters.

Chief among the advertising clients was the Body by Fisher division of General Motors that began in the mid 1920’s. He had developed a particular female character in his work up to then, and she fit into this Fisher campaign as a symbol of style and elegance, soon to be known as the “Fisher Body Girl.” The model he used was Nan McClelland, his niece at the time, who later became his wife. He had a habit, in fact, of marrying his models; three different ones.

Barclay enlisted in the Navy in 1939, but still continued doing commercial work during the war. Unfortunately, he lost his life on a mission in 1943.


John Gannam Illustrations for Pacific Mills

August 8, 2016

For several years during the late 1940’s, the fabric company, Pacific Mills, ran a series of advertisements painted by the artist John Gannam. They are prime examples of great magazine illustration art during this period. Here are a few of them. Life magazines are a good source for these.

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Admiring the art of Mortimer Wilson, Jr.

March 11, 2016


Several years ago I happened to pick up an old copy of the Saturday Evening Post magazine, and was floored by the artwork of an artist I had never heard of, Mortimer Wilson, Jr.


Wilson struggled early in his career as a fine artist and illustrator until getting work for the Post in the late 1930’s, following a meeting with Norman Rockwell who recommended him. He soon rose to a level of being among the highest paid illustrators with work appearing in other magazines like Cosmopolitan. Problems with his eyesight caused an early retirement to Arizona. As his sight improved he returned to a career as a gallery artist, painting Western themes and still lifes. He passed away in 1996.


These scans show some of his work for the Post when he was at the peak of his abilities. The style is reminiscent of other great illustrators such as Dean Cornwell and Andrew Loomis.


He had a marvelous control of values and form, plus an excellent sense of staging his actors in the scene. It’s a shame he’s not as well known as a few other of his contemporaries, but that was often the fate of many commercial artists of his time.


His illustration art shows up in auctions rarely, but you can see some of his latter work at the Tubac Center of the Arts in Arizona, or the International Museum of Art in El Paso, TX.


Appreciating the Art of Robert Maguire

October 6, 2015


I was showing a collection of paperback book cover scans to a friend recently that were made by the artist Robert Maguire. A couple of them were spotted as being misattributed to him; a common mistake with so many cover illustrations not signed or credited. This forced me to sort through my collection and become more familiar with his work.


He has quickly become my favorite cover artist. I think you can see why with these examples. This site has a good biography about him:



Jules Guerin Illustrations for “The Holy Land”

March 6, 2014


I came across this book recently, “The Holy Land” written by Robert Hichens, and illustrated by Jules Guérin that I wanted to share. The scans of Guérin’s paintings for the book are very good. You can find the book, as I did, at the site, and here’s a wiki page on the artist.

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Illustrations From The Saturday Evening Post

October 25, 2013

“The Saturday Evening Post” magazine is a very good example of the state of American magazine illustration in the 20th century. When most people think of the Post, they probably only go so far as the sentimentality of the Norman Rockwell covers. In fact, their interior stories offered a wide range of themes from romance, to action and adventure. Some well known characters started there, like Earle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason, and movies were made from it’s stories, such as “The Sand Pebbles” or “The Guns of Navarone.”

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As with Rockwell, they used many of the top American illustrators, and their art was of the highest caliber; Coby Whitmore, Stan Galli, and Lynn Buckham to name a few.

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I’ve been slowly digging through a massive collection of the magazine, starting in the mid 70’s, and have to gotten to the mid 50’s with a couple more decades to go.

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Sadly the magazine, still in production, is a poor shadow of it’s former self, as far as illustration is concerned. Very little illustration art has been used since the 70’s, and there has been a drop in quality. Their theme now is mostly nostalgia.