AHIS 430 – Glossary

Amplification through Simplification
The idea that simplification of an image makes its representation stronger. It is important to remember that this concept isn’t just about taking away detail. One must figure out which are the most important details that anchor an idea and keep it recognisable and cut out the other details which don’t.

This concept is actually pretty important in cartoons, as it aids in self-identification. The idea being that the more detailed and developed a character is, the more we think of them as separate from us. While a more stylised and simplified character allows the reader to project onto them.

For example, which one of this do pictures can you more easily see as representing you as an individual?

A smiley face?

Or perhaps

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa?

Scott McCloud defines closure “phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole.” In other words, it is when readers imply what happens between the gutters of the panels. We can think of closure as the reader filling in the blanks. The example which McCloud utilises is one panel showing an axe being raised and the following panel showing a scream.

The space that separates panels from each other. It might be helpful to think gutters akin to a cut when watching a film. Their size and placement are up to the artist. They are integral to the pacing of comics, as they can be used to slow down time by spacing it out. Likewise, events can also occur between a comics gutter’s without ever being drawn out explicitly (this is when closure comes in!)

A picture contained within some kind of border. Similarly to gutters they also contribute to the pacing of a comic, for example, the repetition of very similar panels can be used to slow down a story and focus on a specific moment. Panels come in a large variety of different shapes and are these can be use for different effects. For example, irregularly shaped panels are used to convey different states of being (for example, a dream state or a flashback) and add dynamism to action scenes or imply conflict.

What one could be considered a panel except that the image is not contained within a border. They often have the effect of slowing down time in comics, as they give a substantial amount of space and time to one moment.

A visual representation of a person, place, thing, or idea. These are everywhere and there are too many to name them all, but we can use a smiley face as an example. I know what a smiley face is meant to represent, and almost everyone does, even though it bears very little resemblance to the face of an actual smiling face. Icons are often not not direct representations of what they are meant to invoke.

This is a common type of icon used for phones, even though this type of phone is no longer relevant to most people’s lives. Its not a direct representation of what most people see as a phone, but the idea is communicated strongly regardless!

The idea that visual elements such as lines, shapes, colours, patterns, etc. all hold a potential to express and link to senses. A lot of good examples of this being shown is in the expressive lettering of comics. Specifically, sound effects are usually lettered in a way that links them to a sense. 

Motion/Action Lines
A stylised element made up of lines meant to communicate speed and or movement. Sometimes they’ll include streaking, which is the trail which an object leaves when moving quickly. 

This this panel from Lynda Barry’s “One! Hundred! Demons!” contains a subtle example of motion lines as well as streaking, which shows the path of her arms in movement.

Mono Sensory Medium
A medium which only engages a single sense. Comics for example, are an example of this as they engage their audience solely through visuals. Another example could be radio, which only engages through audio. A film would not fit into this category because it is a medium which combines audio and visuals.

Speech Bubbles
Speech bubbles Contain the speech of a cartoon. The most recognisable version is an oval with a tail that points towards the speaking character. However, they have as much potential to be expressive as any visual element of comics. The shape generally indicates the way something is spoken. For example, a broken up speech bubble often indicates a character is whispering, while a jagged speech bubble can indicate that a character is shouting.

Here are just a few examples of the different shapes which speech bubbles can take!

AHIS 430 – Working Digitally vs Traditionally

Whether to work traditionally or digitally: its a question that we all have to ask ourselves! And its especially relevant to artists, as sometimes it feels like digital art and traditional art are two beasts which develop completely separate from each other. I tend to use a combination of both methods.

Specifically, I often find myself working traditionally when creating a solid foundation before I move forward. Paper and pencil provide the quickest vehicle for getting out all my ideas, no matter the project I’m working on.

At this stage, (perhaps ironically) I find the precision and control that working digital allows to be overly restricting. At this moment, I don’t need to have much control, because its not producing ready to go, beautiful working. My sketching process is about figuring out my plan of action and getting stuff onto paper.In my experience, the undo button or the backspace button is my worst enemy. It’s very easy to fall into a cycle where you work for hours and in the end, having nothing to do to show for it because the option to get rid of your work exists. For that reason, when sketching I find it can be helpful to avoid using erasers or even to pens or markers instead.

I find I have less of a problem using my ipad and ipad pencil than typing (if I’m writing something). It’s a feature , which by all means is supposed to mimic the process of writing. It requires the same physical actions and the “pencil strokes” even mimic that of graphites. I’m not sure that I’d consider it the same as writing on paper. It’s definitely not my first choice, I think I’ll always prefer working on paper, but it is a definite upgrade than just tying.

However, that’s not to say that digital mediums don’t have their place in sketching process. I find working digitally at a later stage of my sketching process to be immensely useful. Especially when I’m creating different colour palettes for an illustration. Digital media allows me access to whatever colour I want (which sometimes is also not a good thing) and I don’t have to worry about any kind of mess or any limitations of traditional media. Additionally the copy and paste features are very useful when I’m trying to create lots of different variations. When writing, it’s easier to edit sentences and to compare variations of possible sentences I could use. In summary, when I’m trying to create and compare variations I find digital media a better option.

When approaching the final product, I tend to find myself using digital media. Less so in art, but definitely when writing. In art, I appreciate the flexibility that is inherent in the media, although I don’t think that is necessary at all. Additionally resizing options, rotation and symmetry tools, are very convinient tools to have and significantly speed up the processs.

I think when doing illustrations digitally, it requires a less thought out of plan. The ability to undo things and change my colour palette along the way and straight up paint over what i’ve already done and still have the possibility to undone it all (thank you layers) acts as a very good safety net. Additionally, in my experience it’s usually faster (although that may be due to a  lack of experience working with traditional artwork) . So while I often do work digitally and I think its an option that works very well for me, I’m definitely interested in seeing if it’s truly the best medium for me to use.

In short, I find that there are advantages and disadvantages to each and I often change my direction in order to take advantage of each medium. I think that working traditionally has massive benefits but I wonder if those benefits outweigh the negatives for everyone.

AHIS 430 – Graphic Novel Project

For AHIS 430 class, I’ve chosen to adapt Edgar Allen Po’s “The Tell-Tale heart”. Here I’ve complied a few intial thoughts about the overall tone and direction that I want to take

The Tell-Tale heart is a classic of the gothic genre, and thus I feel lends itself to a simple black and white colour palette. That being said, black and white feels very obvious, so I could still keep the same tone but use dark, desatured tones.

As for the actual style of the writing, it very much comes across as a stream of conciouness and the narrator relays their version of events to the reader. The narration plays a huge role throughout the story, supporting the plot and tone of the story. While I don’t think a wordless adaption is impossible, I wonder if the gothic charm of the story would be lost. However, I will need to drastically shorten the script as Po can be rather long winded, and ultimately comics are a visual medium. Additionally, I want to keep the vibes of the original script as I feel that it is a huge source of charm and interest.

I’m also playing with different ideas on how to include the narration into the story. I tend not to prefer boxes with narration as they run the risk of creating a halting rythm. The story very much has a stream of conciouness feel and the only really pauses are moments of high tension such as the seconsd leading up to the old man’s murder and when the narrator is convinced they can still hear the heart beating beneath the floorboards. Additionally I think that typesetting the narration would make the story feel a little too stiff and impersonal, especially as the narrator is addressing the reader. I want the writing style to look a little frantic and fluid.

Additionally, I think this story gives a lot of oppurtunity to give the panneling unique characteristics. The panels would be an interesting avenue of relaying some of the emotions the narrator is feeling instead of soley relying on narration(especially as I’m going to have to cut down the script). One idea I’ve considered is drawing panels in where the narrator is espeically stressed with with wobbling lines. Another idea it so have use overlapping panels. I would have to use this second idea rather sparely though. While I think that the former idea communicates the idea of anxiety (and specifically how overwhelming the narrator finds it), I wonder if I’m sacrificing legiabiliy in the process. However, a chaotic page might add to the story, tonally speaking. 

Decolonization Project – Process

I began the process of picking a topic by reading the Calls to Action of Truth and Reconciliation, where I was intrigued by the inclusion of child welfare. Admittedly, I hadn’t actually considered the role of the child welfare system in systematic colonization, probably in part due to the tone surrounding the entire issue. To be more specific, I had always seen the separation of Indigenous families framed as a perhaps regrettable, but necessary act. However, upon the barest research, that whole idea comes into question, especially when looking at Canada’s history with the subject.

I thought that an awareness campaign targeting non-Indigenous Canadians, specifically parents, would be a good idea. However, I wanted to specifically encourage non-Indigenous Canadians to pressure the Government to enact some for tangible change of Indigenous families.

And thus, I began ideating!

There were a few ideas here that I thought might have potential if carried out further, but I felt that my strongest concept was the idea of splicing images, which I felt could aptly represent some key elements associated with the problem.

Namely, the idea of splicing could represent culture and cultural identity lost through the separation of Indigenous families. This is an especially important idea to express because historically, the eradication of Indigenous cultures and cultural identity was purposeful. It was one of the driving forces behind Residential schools and the sixties scoop. Additionally, many Indigenous families report that this same motive drives much of the current separation of Indigenous families.

Another aspect which the splicing idea neatly expresses is the concept of time. Specifically, it can be used to clearly juxtaposed multiple different periods of time. The juxtaposition creates a system of rhythm and pattern, which establishes the fact that the separation of Indigenous families is a recurring problem.

However, the idea of splicing images is hardly new, and thus I had to find a way to put a new spin on it.
I thought about different ways in which I would apply the images which would strengthen the idea. One of the first ideas I settled on was the idea of using stairs. Ideally, the design would be placed near libraries and other places that parents regularly frequent.

I spoke with others who suggested that my campaign also be included as digital banner adds as well as on bus shelters. After looking at the breakdown of bus shelters, I thought about the natural division in the panels (three in total, two ones on the side and three ) and how I could take advantage of that. I considered breaking it down the center panel into three, and including my message on the side panels. Each panel would represent a different time period and would together they’d read “How Times Change”.
However, I ultimately rejected this idea in favor of spreading the photographs among the three main panels and placing my message underneath the middle panel, which represents the modern-day. I felt like this would emphasize the fact that it is not a problem of the past.

In the end, I think the idea has potential but still needs more work to push the idea further. Additionally, I think that my execution needs much more work and I intend to refine it as my design skills improve. Overall, I would give myself a 7.5/10. 

Colonization & Child Welfare

The Canadian Encyclopedia defines child welfare in Canada as “a system of children’s aid societies established by provincial and territorial governments, at times in partnership with private organizations, to provide services that supplement or substitute for parental care and supervision”. Which seems fine. Its a system often framed in the context of helping both children and their families achieve what’s best for them. However, upon any further inspection its history with colonization and the cultural genocide of indigenous people becomes plainly clear.

To begin with, the welfare child system is sometimes colloquially called “the millennium scoop”. And that within itself, that already says a lot. The name itself is a callback to the Sixties scoop, in which Indigenous children were taken (without either their parents or band’s consent) and readopted/redistributed into almost always non-Indigenous and middle-class families. This wave of family separation in 1951 and began to falter in the 1980s. Social workers were not obligated to have any sort of training or knowledge of Indigenous Welfare. Up to the 1980’s they weren’t even obligated to tell bands about the removal of the child. As one might expect, the mass forced separation of Indigenous families came with adverse repercussions for both the family and the child. Readopted children reported experience feelings of shame, isolation, and a total loss of cultural identity, and some reported sexual, physical and other kinds of abuse by their “adoptive” families. In almost all cases, the “adoptive” families were not capable of providing culturally specific care. To make matters even worse, birth records were kept hidden unless parents and children consented. This meant that many adoptees learned the nature of their heritage much later in life.

This act of cultural genocide was completely legal at the time thanks to the Indian Act. Specifically, section 88 which allowed provinces’ power over Indigenous child welfare.
The federal policies which Indigenous communities were dealing with (for example, the Indian Act and Residential schools) made many of this community’s prime targets. The combination of various legacies of colonialism and this new jurisdiction led to the mass removal of Indigenous children from Indigenous communities. Families living on reserves were especially affected, as they were even more likely to be dealing with poverty, socio-economic barriers, and high death rates. The “scoop” was framed as a solution, an act of “kindness” towards Indigenous children and communities (to problems which were created by settlers). However, it was little more than a thinly veiled extension of a legacy of recurring colonialism.

We can use the sixties scoop as a benchmark to judge the progress of today. Between the time when the sixties scoop began to recede and the current day there has been little change. There is a lot of talk about improving child welfare in BC, especially for Indigenous communities, but virtually nothing of substance has changed. Indigenous children are still disproportionately represented in the welfare system. Indigenous children are fifteen times more be in government care compared to non-indigenous children. To better illustrate this, in 2018 6,698 youth were in BC care, and 4,252 were Indigenous. This statistic is worsened by the fact that Indigenous children only make up 10% of the child population. Social workers often cite low income, inadequate housing, food insecurity and health concerns as reasons why Indigenous children should be removed. Like the past system, child welfare doesn’t take into account intergenerational trauma, systemic racism, marginalization, and disparities in social health. All of which are direct products of colonization.



Barron Storey – Week 7

Barron storey is an illustrator fine, artist and art educator born in Dallas Texas on April 6th, 1940. Storey studied at the Art Center School in Los Angeles and at the School of Visual arts in New York.

Storey has worked as a commercial illustrator since the 1960’s, mostly for magazines. He has completed many covers and illustrations which have graced the pages of many prestigious magazines such as Time, National Geographic, Saturday Review and Reader’s Digest.

An example of one of Storey’s Time Magazine covers

Additionally, Storey is a leading figure in graphic novel circles, having illustrated and published a variety of different works. His most famous example is problem is illustrations for The SandMan : Endless nights by Neil Gaiman.

Storey’s illustration for SandMan

Storey also worked as a fine artist exhibited in galleries. One example of his works was his first solo exhibition at Anno Domini gallery which dealt with victims of suicide. The topic was unfortunately entertwined in her life, having lost his mother, his uncle, his brother, his ex wife and a close friend to suicide. He posed the question, asking if others had lost loved ones to suicides. Many responded and Storey sketched out portraits of each individual in his journal.

A view of the installation

Barron Storey
“The Dead Mother Drawing

Much of his work also resides in museums, including the Nation Air and Space Museum, American Museum of Natural History and the National Portrait gallery and at the Smithsonian institute.

Apart from his artistic career, Storey also worked and practiced in different fields. For example, he was a prominent art educator in various prestigious institutions. Storey taught at the School of Visual Arts, the Pratt Institute, and currently teaches at the California College of Arts and the San Jose State University. Many successful illustrators (especially in graphic novel circles) such as Peter Kuper, Bill Sienkiewicz and Daniel Clowes, have studied under him. Aside from teacher, Storey is also a gifted musician, as well as a playwright.

I am quite fond of Storey’s art style, especially his usage of texture. Interestingly enough, I find his fine art pieces to be especially compelling, which is usually not the case for me.



John Alcorn – Week 6

John Alcorn has an incredibly versatile illustrator and designer, born of February 10th, 1935. His career spanned throughout the 60’s to the 80’s and through that period he accumulated an versatile body of work. His portfolio included everything from children’s book illustration, packing, corporate design, and dimensional design.

Alcorn began his art education by studying graphic design at The Cooper Admin. The first two years of study also included courses on illustration, graphics and advertising design which proved to be invaluable to his career. In his early career he worked he worked with a variety of clients, including Esquire magazine, a pharmaceutical advertising agency as well as the mythic Push Pins Studios. Afterwards in 1958 Alcorn joined  CPBS Radio and thus the CBS TV art department.

Image result for john alcorn cbs
Alcorn’s logo for CBS TV weather show

A year later, Alcorn halted his work there and opted to freelance. During this time he and his family moved to Florence where he mostly worked on book design. Specifically Alcorn designed the the typography, binding and advertising for Rizzoli books, as well also redesigned two Italian local Italian newspapers. In 1962 Alcorn designed and illustrated books. In 1981 he moved back to the United States and became the first artist in residence for Dartmouth College.

One of Alcorn’s book covers for Rizzoli

Some of Alcorn’s important accomplishments include the credits he designed for Amarcord, and other Federico Fellini Films.

Additionally Alcorn was commissioned to design a stamp for the US postal Service with the theme of colour in 1987. His finished product was a brightly coloured abstract flower which created the shape of a heart.

Alcorn’s postage stamp

Additionally, Alcorn’s work has been shown and exhibited internationally and in  many prestigious venues. He has had many one man shows hosted in Manhattan, Paris, Milan and Dartmouth. Additionally his work has been featured in Push Pins studios, who have toured all over the world.  Furthermore, he was received numerous awards, including form The New York Art Directors Club, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Type Directors club, The Society of Illustrators, The Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Cooper Union.

* https://visualmelt.com/John-Alcorn
* http://www.historygraphicdesign.com/the-age-of-information/the-new-york-school/249-john-alcorn

Leonard Baskin-Week 5

A woodcut self-portrait but Leonard Baskin, 1970

Leonard Baskin was an incredible Jewish artist, who worked in a variety of mediums such as sculpture, woodcut prints and illustration. Apart from these mediums, Baskin also contributed various different memorials including one for the Holocaust.

Baskin’s “The Morning Mother”, completed in 2000

Above all else, Baskin considered himself a sculptor, a view which was not shared with many others. Baskin is actually more widely remembered for the work he completed on paper. These illustrations and prints. His prints and illustrations are commonly celebrated for their unique line quality and the inventive use of woodcut printing. However, a large part of these works are in fact preparatory attempts for his sculptures.

Baskin began his art education at age fourteen, when he set on  being solely an illustrator, and attended the New York University’s school of Architecture and Allied Arts and at Yale University. It was in Yale university where Baskin first discovered his lifelong passion for printmaking. After briefly serving the US Navy during world war one, Baskin attended the New School for Social Research (now known as the New School) and studied in Paris and Florence. In his later years he taught at Smith College and at Hampshire college.

In 1942 he founded the Ghena Press, a publication company for which all fine press books were measured against.

Baskin’s Holocaust Memorial

Baskin also explored his Jewish identity and the holocaust in his works. Baskin’s father was a rabbi, and his brother followed his path, and went Baskin was young we worked at a Synagogue for extra cash. This upbringing helped create the context for much of his art pieces. Baskin went on to create many religious works, such as his illustrations of the Haggadah and of the 5 Biblical scrolls, as well as his “Angels to the Jews” series. Additionally he also created a memorial for the Holocaust which was erected in 1944 and  is in the First Jewish Cemetery in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The sculpture depicts an anguished, seated figure, with one hand covering its face, and the other outstretched towards the sky. Baskin also created a series of woodcut prints about the Holocaust.

One of the prints was five feet long and depicted a skeleton encircled by birds (owls and crows). The Yiddish proverb “The resurrection of the dead; we don’t believe in it. In any case, the owls and the crows will represent us” was printed onto the piece.

Additionally Baskin cited Ancient Greek and Egyptian art and mythology to be sources of inspiration. The influence and imagery of Greek mythology is notably prevalent, especially through his repeated usage of the prophetic character Sibyl, in many of his works.

Aside from visual art, Baskin was also a writer who wanted to bring attention to overlooked artist.

I am very disappointed by the fact that I’ve never heard of, or seen of of Baskin’s incredible work. Normally, sculpture isn’t my favourite medium but it’s impossible not to be captivated by Baskin’s sculpture. His prints and illustrations are also incredibly interesting, and I greatly admire Baskin’s quality of line.

Another Self-portrait, completed in 1952


  • https://www.davidsongalleries.com/artists/modern/leonard-baskin/
  • http://www.rmichelson.com/artists/leonard-baskin/
  • http://www.artnet.com/artists/leonard-baskin/

Saul Tepper-Week 4

Saul Tepper,  1899-1987 “Out of the Discussion”,Saturday Evening Post magazine story illustration

Saul Tepper was a American prominent illustrator, born on Christmas day 1899 to eastern European immigrants. Tepper began his career with art very young and continued with it for most of his life, eventually be inducted other illustrators hall of fame.


As the son of immigrants, Tepper inherited their work ethic and demonstrated incredible resolve, working hard all his life. By the time he was 19, he held a full time job in his own lettering studio. On top of this already arduous workload, Tepper continued his studies in art in the evenings. Specifically, he attended Cooper Union’s composition class (taught by William De Leftwich), as well as George Bridgeman’s “Ideas in drawing” at the Art Students League. He didn’t emerge as an illustrator until 1925 where he worked in the Van Dyke Studios. Afterwards he continued developing his illustrations with his apprenticeship under Harvey Dunn(which is generally cited to be his greatest influence).

Editorial Work

Tepper, 1931, “Electrolux

From there he began to illustrate for magazines. He started with Liberty Magazine, which then attracted the interest of other magazines such as Colliers,  which then got him commissions from more magazines including, Saturday Evening Post and Country Gentleman), Woman’s Home Companion, The American, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping.

Tepper, 1928,
, an advertisement for Chesterfield Cigarettes

By the 1930’s Tepper had established himself in the field of illustration and could afford to request a high commission rate. His most noteworthy  commissions came from an advertising campaigns for Chesterfield cigarettes and General Electric and his WW II posters, and by Stetson Hats.

The next 13 years of his illustration career are often said to be his most productive years, working in the Hotel Des Artistes.

In the 1950’s Teppers worked as an adventure illustrator, but began to tire of the trade. He switched from illustration and worked as an television art director for  J. Walter Thompson and BBD&O. He mostly created work for commercials.


Tepper, 1934

In general, Tepper’s art is often realistic, however he does include stylized elements. For example, Tepper generally but he often amped up the contrasts in lighting. Teppers bold usage of dramatic lighting is perhaps the most striking quality of his art. He often employed broader, less detailed strokes in background figures and objects.

Dean Cornwell, 1923,
Couple sitting at opposite ends of bench in moonlight

Teppers style of art is often compared to that of Dean Cornwell, another extremely successful illustrator of the time. This similarity is often attributed to the fact that both of them studied under the great Harvey Dunn.

Tepper, 1948, an illustration for the Saturday Evening Post

As for subject matter, Tepper didn’t really constrain himself to anything in particular. He did practically everything from romantic to adventure illustrations.

An Illustration by Tepper

Other Works

However Tepper’s talents and interests outside of illustration .Aside from his successful illustration career, Tepper had a love for music and produced several songs. He was eventually rewarded with a membership in ASCAp in 1941 for the songs he published. Tepper’s work would be recorded by artists like Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller and Harry James.

Likewise, he was also a lecturer. Teppers spoke to students and professionals and alike and in many establishments, including Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, and the Society of Illustrators and Art Directors Clubs.

As a fan of Dean Cornell’s work, I am quite fond of of Tepper’s work. I think he has a very unique and successful style of semi-realism, which is both believable and slightly stylized. Additionally, his dramatic and excellent understanding of lighting is something I would like to apply to my own art.

* http://www.thekellycollection.org/a_tepp01.htm
* https://www.societyillustrators.org/saul-tepper

Neysa McMein- Week 3

McMein working in her studio

Neysa McMein was an incredible woman of many talents and interests, and being a successful illustrator was only one of them. McMein was born in Quincy Illinois January 24th, 1888. McMein’s art education began after she graduated from Quincy high School in 1907, and she moved to study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It seems that McMein may have had some doubts about what she wanted to do, and she moved to New York city in 1913 to pursue a career as an actress. Her time as an actress was rather brief, but she participated in a few of Paul Armstrong’s plays. However, in 1914 she returned to visual art and studied at  the League of Arts Students. Additionally, 1914 marks the year where she sold her very first illustration. The illustration was sold to the Boston Star magazine.

In 1915 McMein began her career as a cover illustrator by selling her illustrated covers to The Saturday Evening pOst, and Puck Magazine. In later years, she would be commissioned by many prestigious magazines for her pastel illustrations women who were described as the “All American Girl”. These magazines would include, magazines such as McCall’s, Collier’s, McClure’s, Woman’s Home Companion, Liberty, Associated Sunday Magazine and Sunday Magazine.

McMein’s 1917’s cover for McClure’s Magazine

As the First World War began, McMein moved from the states to France. While in France, she worked for both the United States and French Governments and created posters. These posters were also utilized by the American Red Cross to fundraise. However, while in France she also helped worked as an entertainer(for the troops on the Western Front),and as a speaker in fundraising events. She was even awarded with an honorary position as a non-commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, an honour which was only awarded to three women.

McMine’s 1918 United War Work Campaign

Afterwards she worked primarily for McClure’s, and Good Housekeeping magazine. After the  war, it can be noted that she primarily depicted proud and confident woman for the New Woman Magazine. This can likely be attributed to her stance as a suffragette.

A cover for The Saturday Evening Post by McMein, 1917

Her 1917’s cover for The Saturday Evening Post exemplifies this quite nicely. It depicts a female aviator, long before there was much there were well known female aviators . In fact, it was 6 years before Amelia Earhart would receive her pilot’s license.

Other notable achievements include her creation of the Betty Crocker character ( a fictional housewife which embolden middle class domestic values of the time, and was used in advertising).

A portrait McMein completed in 1916 for a book cover, which she did not receive credit for.

However, in the late 1930’s the demand for her work decline. In 1938, McCall’s Magazine didn’t renew her contract to work as the cover artist. This was partly due to the fact that due to technological advances, photography was cheaper to print. As she was out of work,McMein turned to portrait. Interestingly enough, she continues to be remembered as a portrait artist. Initially she favoured pastels, but later in her career she used oils to complete her portraits. In 1984, McMein was inducted in the Illustrator’s wall of Hall of Fame.

I am fond of all of McMein’s work to some degree. I like the contrast between the soft medium she used, and the proud women she depicted. However, while I find that her older, pastel portraits of women are beautiful, but perhaps not especially interesting. I like her portraits very much, especially when she lets her strokes show.