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.


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



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.


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.


Cole Phillips – Week 2

Clarence Cole Phillips, better known as Cole Phillips, was an artist most famous for his unique use of negative space, usually featuring stylish women. Phillips was an extremely popular illustrator of his time, and his popularity has not dismissed. Many tie his popularity to his signature fadeaway, but Phillips was much more than a one trick pony.

Beginnings & Time Magazine

Phillips initial contact with art was perhaps not the most conventional. Instead of drawing in a classroom, he sketched while working as a clerk for the American Radiator. As he came from a purely lower-middle class family, Phillips began with no other ambition to be a prominent illustrator, and took the job as a clerk, a job which he had no talent or interest in.

He soon quit his job there in order to attend Keyton College in 1902, where he published his first official works. More specifically he illustrated for the college’s monthly magazine, The Reveille. However in his junior year he dropped out, with the intention of working as a professional artist in New York. When he moved, he brought a recommendation letter from his old clerking job, which helped him gain a position as a clerk (and later a salesman) at the company’s New York location. However, a less than flattering illustration of his job cut his time there very short.

However, not all was over. A co-worker of Phillips recounted the story to  J.A Mitchell the publisher of Life Magazine. Upon his request, the co-worker presented him Phillips illustration, and Mitchell loved it so much he offered Phillips a job as an illustrator at the magazine. Phillips initially refused the job offer, opting instead to take art lessons. However, after a short and sweet three months at art school he dropped out, and in 1907 he accepted the job. He proved to be immensely successful, and a favourite of the magazines audience, which got him many jobs to illustrate the covers. Within just a year of working at Time, Phillips established himself as popular as other illustrators of his time, such as Charles Dana Gibson and James Montgomery Flagg.

Fadeaway Girl

In 1908 Phillips would debut what would later become his most perhaps the most iconic signature: The Fadeaway Girl. The first example of this was his 1908 but it became a technique which he utilized many times throughout his career. The figure’s clothing blends into the background, with the form of their clothing is still clearly defined and readable through minute details and careful planning on Phillips part. While the fadeaway could be (incorrectly) dismissed as a mere gimmick, it is a technique which demonstrates Phillip’s skillful compositional skills. When arranging a n image in such a fashion, immense attention has to be paid to the shapes that the positive and negative spaces make, and how they interact. This is a skill easier said than done. He didn’t just limit the technique to clothing, he applied the fadeaway in many different ways such as in the poster below.

Phillips utilized this technique many times, and it remains very popular for contemporary artists to take their own stab at it.

Phillips Girl

Women were a primary subject of Phillips, and the women he drew can be seen as
as an modern reiteration of other ideals of beauty, such as Charles Dana Gibson’s illustrations of the “Gibson Girl”. The changing time for women were expressed in Phillip’s illustrations. The ideals which the elite, prim and proper socialite which the Gibson Girl stood for where replaced with more modern values. The women which Phillips drew were often depicted as active, fun, and modern. Some even cite these illustrations as one of the first pin ups.

In all, I quite like all of Phillips work. The lines are very clean and the colours are well picked : overall it has a very clean and sleek look to it. His fadeaway style in particular is very interesting and amazingly executed. I hope to improve my own work by studying and adopting some of his techniques.

Walter Crane – Week 1

Walter Crane

Walter Crane, ca. 1886

Walter Crane, born August 15th 1845 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England was an illustrator and prominent figure in the Arts and Crafts movement but is remembered as the (unwilling) king of children’s book illustration. He worked in various different mediums, painting, designing wallpaper, ceramics, and stained glass yet he could never match the success he gained from illustrating children’s books.  

Beginnings & Apprenticeship

As the son of Thomas Crane, a portrait painter and miniaturist, and Marie Crane, daughter to a successful malt-maker, Crane’s interested in art was always fostered by his family. In fact, his brother Thomas would also go into illustration and his sister Lucy, would go on to become a noteworthy writer. In fact, it was his father, who was so impressed with his early watercolour work, that he introduced him to the wood engraver WJ Linton, who he would later be apprenticed to.

His apprenticeship to Linton began in 1859, and there he furthered his skill. He took influence from many sources and studied the work of old masters and contemporary artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Millais. Crane showed a particular fondness for the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and their intense attention to detail is a quality which Crane absorbed and applied to his own work. However, Crane’s work is also indebted to the work done by Japanese illustrators. Many stylistic motifs which these artists utilized are present in his own works, such as the deep space and the flat perspective and colour. This particular quality would be most strongly expressed in his work with toy books. Additionally, during his apprenticeship, he was instructed in several printing and engraving techniques.

Political Work

Just as Linton helped develop Crane’s artwork he also impacted Crane’s views and morality, which were largely coloured his own ones. Linton was a staunch socialist, a position which Crane took up as well. Crane believed that his art was a tool to inspire social reform (many of which he was involved in). In his own words, he stated that capitalism was an “unwholesome stimulus” for art which only created a “catch penny abomination” of cheap, commercial art. In his mind, a socialist society would only benefit art, as it would allow artists to dedicated themselves solely to their art, and not how to make a living.
Crane was held to be one of the best 1800’s socialist artist and when not illustrating children’s books, he worked for many socialist periodicals.

Socialism and the Imperialistic Will O the Wisp, 1901 (engraving), Crane, Walter (1845-1915)

Additionally, he found many like-minded artists and was a prominent member of the Arts and Craft Movement with William Morris.

Toy Books

But all good things come to an end, and in 1816  his apprenticeship with Linton ended. However, he was quickly rewarded with a position as an illustrator for Eduman Evats, a leading woodblock colour printer at the time. Evans had him designing covers for “yellow back” books when Crane was only 18. However, it soon began clear that Crane struggled to produced everyday scenes. Evans aptly recognized his aptitude for illustrating children’s nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables and switched him to illustrate “toy books”(illustrated children’s books). He also illustrated children’s colouring books. Here is where Crane formed his reputation, illustrating 17 toy books throughout his career.

“The Frog Prince and other stories”, 1874

The Academy

While Crane’s most recognizable works are his children’s book illustrations, he resisted his association with toybooks. While they are undoubtedly what solidified his career as an artist and illustrator he had no fondness for them. In an attempt to distance himself for children books illustration and completed some allegorical paintings and took to designing textiles, stained glass and wallpapers. His paintings were exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1862, but enjoyed very little success, probably due to their heavy socialist leanings.

Crane gave up submitting his work to the Academy and focused on taking his children’s book illustrations to a new level. In these works, he developed his style, with an intense focus on detail. His style was also greatly reminiscent of medieval wood engravings and illuminated books. In the end, he devoted his life to these books and changed the course of illustrations for children’s literature.

While I am aware that Crane wanted to distance himself from his children’s book illustrations, it’s clear why they were so popular. Crane developed a beautifully nostalgic style which call back to medieval paintings, all without sacrificing immense detail. While I also enjoy his realistic work, I still think that his stylized work demonstrates more of his skillset. It was harder to find his other works, I found several examples of his wall paper designs which I thought were beautiful.

Cover Rationel

My partner Tina and I were assigned to create a cover for the Idea 22 History book we’ve been making spreads for this term. We first struggled a lot with the design, and our initial sketches very much dependent on literally depicting the events, people, and inventions from different time periods. Unfortunately, these thumbnails would be rather weak cover designs, or at least would blend in with the hundreds of other history books.  

So, Tina and I switched gears and turned towards a more conceptual approach. Namely, we wanted to depict our major takeaways from the course, namely: the cyclical nature of history and the connections between the different events. From this ensued many thumbnails, including one with a map. I did some more thumbnails with the map, and while I could plot the main events and important ideas down, I found it difficult to connect them. Especially in a way illustrated timing well. I ended doing some more digging and came to look at some subway maps, which ended up as our final design plan.

We felt that the subway idea was particularly well suited to illustrate the idea of connections, as different art movements and events could be connected through subway lines. Additionally, we feel as though the railway lines also create a very linear movement, which also acts as a timeline to place points upon. This would solve the problem which the earlier map idea problem created, where I couldn’t show multiple events happening in conjunction with each other. To add more authenticity to my design I referenced various subways systems around the world, especially Paris’s one. Paris subway system, in particular, was particularly interesting because it follows Paris’s radial city plan. I borrowed the radial design, and make it the epicentre of my “city”, where I placed the text which reads “IDEA” twenty-one. Additionally, epicentre also could represent our current day, as all past events and design and fine art movements feed into.

We decided to extend this design into both the cover and the back, as we felt splitting it would greatly weaken the design.

Overall, I feel that our spread was fairly effective and I would give us an 8/10. I think that we had a very strong concept, but there were aspects that could have been perfected. This was especially evident in the way which the text was added. Additionally, the execution could have been a little cleaner in some areas. Perhaps markers would be a better medium compared to the paint.

Spread #2

Spread #2

I was the designer of for survey 5, for which I had to create an object spread which occurred during the time period. I decided on focusing on the furniture and jewelry produced by the arts and crafts movement.

Through the research I realized that arts and crafts furniture is very easily recognized through their very unique and streamlined silhouette. I really quickly latched onto this idea and wanted to use the silhouette as the main focus of my spread, and thus use the negative space of the silhouette to slot in the text. However I found that when I zoomed up so much, the image was no longer as recognizable as furniture. For this reason, I chose to zoom out a little, so that the entire piece of furniture was featured in the piece. Additionally, I added in a piece of jewelry hanging out from one for the drawers, to include that part of my group’s research. The typeface used was also an arts and crafts movement font.

Overall, I’m not happy with this spread at all. Out of ten, I would give myself a 6 or 7.  In all, I feel as though I had a rather weak composition. Now that I see the final result I’m not sure if zooming out was the right way to go. I feel as though it almost flattens the image, and gets rid of a lot of the interest. . I think the font choice was good, but the black is perhaps a little too overpowering. The only thing that I’m happy with is was the wood on the furniture, and even then it could have been darker in some areas. Additionally, the jewelry should have been incorporated better, and been painted more cleanly. In short, there is room for much improvement, and I hope to take these lessons to my next spread.

Spread #3

Spread #3

For the third spread, I was in charge of creating a comparison spread for survey 8. As this period of time encompassed both world war 1 and the the jazz age, which I thought would make for a very interesting contrast as you could see the direct aftermath of the war.

I halved the page into two, one for each era. On the outside of each page, I placed a figure to represent the life of women during these time periods as it was a distinction which was marked compared to the times previous. To further reinforce the idea of constrast, the figure for world war 1 was done in cool colours, while the jazz age figure was done in warm colours. I wanted to amplify the dreariness and hardship that permeated the time period, even back at home. The jazz age figure was done in warm colours to show the rebound of the economy and culture that occurred after the first world war.  Behind them I placed a background. For the background for the world war 1 side, I put the silhouette of the trenches with an explosion. To contrast against the figure I did it entirely in warm colours to represent the constant danger of life in the trenches. I felt like this was a good contrast, as it represents the hardships for the soldiers fighting on the front lines. For the jazz age page, I created a city, as they were the cultural centre of the time. The city is also done in cool colours to create a colder impression of the city to represent the flaws of the time (namely how the iconic speakeasies were almost all controlled by gangs).
I brought the image together by creating a border, and I added in two white motifs in the art deco style to each corner to add more interest.

Out of ten, I would give myself an 8 on this spread. I think that in all, the spread is alright, but the composition could have been a little more interesting. I think the contrast between warm and cool colours did work well though. I think I should have put the background lower down on the page, as makes the figure disappear into the background, which is the opposite effect I wanted to create. Additionally the art deco motifs I added in the corner only really serves the jazz age page, as it was a style which was created in the jazz age.