Coby Whitmore: the Saturday Evening Post illustrator (lecture 5)

illustration for the March 28, 1953, issue of Saturday Evening Post

Coby Whitmore was an American illustrator best known for his front cover illustrations for Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s and others. He grew up in Dayton, Ohio where he always aspired to be an artist and began his career studying at the Dayton Art Institute. He later apprenticed for Haddon Sundblom in Chicago where he first started on the track of creating magazine covers. His art often featured post-war families and couples.

To me, Whitmore’s style reminds me a lot of Coles Phillips and his use of the Fade Away Girl. However, Whitmore uses a more minimalistic approach with all his illustrations, rather than just an individual figure (fig. 1). I love that his style ranges from loose clothing/lost edges to tight details and smooth skin tones. In my opinion, Whitmore is a talented illustrator and his drawings were very function-able for the day. But I don’t think his work is entirely profound, which isn’t saying that he didn’t fulfill his purpose. He was very successful in conveying an image and emotion, which I think is also a notable success.

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Figure 1
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The Ugliest Woman in Town, Unknown
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Saturday Evening Post
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Saturday Evening Post, March 22, 1958

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