Noma Bar- Lecture 10/11

“Bar’s work has been described as “deceptively simple”, featuring flat colours, minimal detail and negative space to create images that often carry double meanings that are not immediately apparent.”

Noma Bar is an Israel born graphic designer and illustrator who’s work has gained numerous recognitions and awards in recent years. His provocative, stark works are extremely conceptual while utilizing the most simplistic forms. He has truly refined the conceptual image, and is known for his flawless rendering of the “visual innuendo.”

Bar boasts a heavy publication list, including, but not limited to the likes of:

“Time Out London, BBC, Random House, The Observer, The Economist and Wallpaper*. Bar has illustrated over one hundred magazine covers, published over 550 illustrations and released three books of his work: Guess Who – The Many Faces of Noma Bar in 2008, Negative Space in 2009 and Bittersweet 2017, a 680 page 5 volume monograph produced in a Limited Edition of 1000 published by Thames & Hudson.”


Noma’s career is currently based in London, but began in his childhood. He would make caricatures of his teachers at school, and although crude, showed his potential from an early age. He also credits his creative influence to his neighbour, who would create life-sized sculptures out of extra farm machinery parts. He says that this laid the groundwork of his artistic visions, saying that it showed him that ‘you could take something and make it into something radically different, just by composition. That is the basis of all my work now.’

During the 1990 Gulf War, while seeking refuge in a bomb shelter in Israel, he noticed the striking resemblance that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s face had to a radioactivity symbol, and he created the first portrait that would later exemplify his symbolic style. He would go on to create similar images of Hitler, as well as icons of the times.

He would study calligraphy, graphic design, and Hebrew typography at the Jerusalem Academy of Art where he would refine his graphic style. He would meet his wife and fellow graphic designer Dana Bar. Upon graduating in 2000, Bar would move to London to pursue his career, with his first major publication afterwards being a full page of William Shakespeare for the popular publication Time Out London. The couple is currently settled in Highgate, where they work doing freelance and contract labels, and live with their two daughters Mia and Lili. Bar has produced multiple books collecting his works in recent years, the most popular being “Guess Who? The Many Faces of Noma Bar,” and “Negative Space,” both acting as a purchase-able portfolio of his extensive works.

In summary, Noma Bar is a unique illustrator of the day. There are not many who can compare to the sheer intellect and wit that is able to be conveyed by such minimal shape and line. As a budding designer and illustrator, I can easily say how admirable his work is. It’s always easier to include more, to overcomplicate your pieces and to justify them via the image. Bar’s work sits on a level of sophistication that makes this a non-issue. He’s able to convey recognizable and high-level concepts while providing the smallest amount of information possible, something that I think all illustrators should strive for sometimes. He really redefines what the word “graphic” (giving a vivid picture with explicit detail) means. Unlike others, Bar trusts the audience to fill in the missing pieces on their own. The work stands on it’s own, and that’s hard to come across.

Henrik Drescher – Lecture 9

“In his artist statement, Drescher writes: “Since an early age I’ve been an image scavenger, my mind has always been alert to image debris, keeping ideas and images in books, which then spill into my painting and illustration. In my image making I try to register the idea of ‘everything at once,’ a sort of Sears & Roebuck mail-order catalog filled with an inventory of all that has ever existed in the course of organic history and human memory…scars, tattoos, cracks, memories, impressions, flashbacks, and forgotten instructions.”


Self describing his works as “everything at once,” Dreschers work is loud loud and visually abrasive in the best way possible. He incorporates so much texture into his work that viewing it is almost a tangible experience. If it was possible to use a physical sensation to describe an artwork, Drescher’s peices would be itchy.Although an illustrator, he manages to blur the line between fine art and classic illustration, bringing personal metaphor into every work he creates.

His children’s books are for the most part, more comfortable, although his titles are anything but. (See below, McFig and McFly, a Tale of Jealousy, Revenge, and Death). Through using a calm colour palette and a decisively more friendly line, he changes his jarring style into one that is more viscerally settling.

Otherwise, his work is similar to that of a mushroom trip. Don’t worry, I’m not basing this off of a personal experience but rather the work of Bryan Lewis Saunders, a fine artist who has become famous for creating a body of work that can certainly relate to Drescher’s aesthetic. Lewis has created upwards of 8500 self portraits under the influence of different drugs (I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even know there was more than 8000 drugs). The piece I’m specifically referring to, seen below, has that same itchy and tangible quality. Both Saunders and Drescher’s work has the same effect on me. I’m not sure if it’s the searing stares of Bryan’s self portraits, or the way I can practically feel the beard hair of Saunders 2-cap taking portrait that reminds me of Drescher’s unsettling, almost auditory line work.

The rest of Saunders work can be found here:

Although his pieces vary greatly, they bare a striking resemblance to Dresher’s illustrations, mostly in the way that they both induce that tangible physical response. Some of them are plain terrifying, and they’re certainly an anti-drug PSA if I’ve ever seen one, but they’re worth checking out.

Back to Drescher: his signature noisy style began in notebooks, taking form in rough sketches he created while travelling. Originally born in Copenhagen, Drescher immigrated to the United States when he was 12, and would attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on a full ride scholarship. In the years after his education, he took his career on the road and travelled throughout North and Central America and Europe. His sketchbooks are the root of all of his portfolio work, he claims, filled with ideas, images, and icons from his travels. He still creates extensive sketchbooks today, and claims that the majority of his ideas come from them. Drescher takes inspiration from these for client work and for his personal fine art career.

“Winter,” from Drescher’s ambiguously titled “Geriatric Kamasutra”

Publishing his first book in 1982, he would go on to create more than 50 books in his career. The titles range from children’s books, fine art collections, notebooks, kamasutra’s, and others. Drescher is currently working as a freelance illustrator for major publications in North America. Nowadays, he credits the work of Chinese landscape painters as the main inspiration for is work, a result of 10 years living there. He has been recognized by the United States Library of Congress, showing his work in an entirely solo exhibition.

Overall, Drescher brings a completely fresh perspective to what it means to be an illustrator. His work stands out from his contemporaries in a way that in my mind is rivalled only by 8000+ drugs. His work defies category, but still resonates with the viewer. Although they do admittedly make me physically uncomfortable–if I haven’t mentioned that enough in this post–they bring comfort in other arenas. His pieces harbour and indescribable sense of nostalgia and familiarity. Maybe it’s the fact that his illustrations have so much going on that doesn’t make sense that make everything else in the world of similar diagnosis feel better. Or maybe I’m reading into it way too much, but the more work of his I discover the more I appreciate its business and jumble of textures.

Francis Livingston

The word “extraordinary” didn’t mean much to me until I discovered the world of illustration. Unlike photos, or even abstract fine art, illustration was able to take the mundane and make it just that, more. More than ordinary, but in a way that was believable and somehow more than real.

I’ve often found that while searching through the lists of illustrators for these blogs that there is one who stands out among the rest. While perusing this particular collection of names, however, there was nobody that jumped out to me. There was Braldt Bralds who has one of the most interesting names of all time and happens to paint only cats, which was interesting enough, but then I stumbled upon Francis Livingston.

Livingston’s work didn’t immediately catch my eye. The first images that come up after searching his name are city landscapes and beautifully lit buildings. Sure, they’re well done, and somebody else could easily write five hundred words talking about his quality of light and faithful devotion to intricate colour studies. But I wasn’t about to spend my time on just buildings when there were so many more attention grabbing artists out there.

But then I found this picture.

“Light Stream, 2012-2019”

I was in awe, and immediately enthralled with the work of this man that I knew quite literally nothing about. He could be a murderer, for all I knew, but I didn’t care. This was one of my most favourite pieces I’ve ever seen, and it will be for a long time. Something about the quiet grandeur of the scene, the humbleness of the paint strokes and the nonchalant nature of the whale that peacefully swims above the unassuming crowd. This illustration makes me want to be there, to live in the world that Livingston has so deftly crafted.

And yes, obviously his quality of light and immaculate handling of colour and brushstroke quality is incredible. We can’t really talk about his work without recognizing his ability as the rest of the artistic world has. His biography on touches the edges of his reputation, stating:

“Born in Cortez, Colorado, Francis Livingston is in the top ranks of American illustrators, and his work has been widely published. Francis Livingston’s paintings have been exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Livingston was awarded both Gold and Silver Medals from the New York Society of Illustrators, San Francisco Society of Illustrators, and Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.”


Livingston credits his inspiration to the likes of Sargent and Whistler, and studied Diebenkorn alongside the more modern Wayne Thiebaud. Looking at his more traditional illustrative works, this makes perfect sense. We can see that his landscapes strike a jarring resemblance to Whistler (as shown below), but add a twist of the “Bay Area flare” that Livingston was surrounded by during his formative years as an artist.

Winter Landscape by Livingston
“Crepuscule in Flesh Color and Green: Valparaiso” James Abbot McNeill Whistler, 1886.

After a 10 year teaching career in San Francisco at the Academy of Art College, Livingston and his family relocated to Idaho. Much like James Elliot Bama Livingston completely switched genres and client bases. His earlier career had consisted of painting the San Francisco Board Walk for years, but now focuses on the stretching plains of the mid-west (see “Winter Landscape,” above).

However, his newest work consists of ones similar to the original “Light Stream” that caught my eye. Livingston continues to combine natural elements with 20th century architecture and mundane scenes to create striking, jealousy-inducing images. He creates a whole other universe within his paintings, which now tend to fall under the category of fine art instead of illustrations. Livingston brings to life the classic “Night at the Museum” concept in a lively, mature, more believable way. Additionally, he does so with the intent of making it seem situationally realistic. It’s this factor that makes these works of Livingston’s resonate so intensely with me. It appears as if you’ve just hung around Penn Station too long and you’ve just caught a glimpse of some of the largest creatures on earth commuting home from work.

That being said, I think this quality will give Livingston’s work lasting importance. Perhaps not in the eye of critics, or even in the world of professional illustration. These are the type of images that children see that make them want to become illustrators–much like the drawings that I credit my ambition to–that leave lasting impressions and stay in their mind forever. Dreamlike images (in my experience) tend to be far more impressionable than landscapes or portraits, no matter how great the lighting or colour palette is. I guess what I’m trying to say, in my oh-so-round-about way, is that Livingston’s works deserve value and permanence because of how inspirational and extraordinary they are. They made me feel like I did when I first discovered art and illustration, sitting on the carpeted floor of my childhood bedroom, putting together puzzles of a golden fairy queen, realizing that I wanted to create things like that. Personally, it’s works like these that deserve recognition and lasting praise over landscapes and immaculately done portraits.

Etienne Delessert

Originally born in Switzerland, and now residing in Connecticut, Delessert creates work that could be summed up in one word: unnerving. Upon visiting his website, one of the first sentences written in to his biography states the following.

“For more than thirty years this self-taught artist has been translating his-and the world’s-ideas, passions, fantasies and nightmares into the visual language of books, magazine illustrations, posters, animated films, paintings and sculptures. He reaches both children and adults with his imaginary creatures and landscapes, juxtaposing the familiar with the fantastic to clarify this world and create new and lasting universes”


Ok. Reading this the fist time, I thought to myself, “Yeah. Yeah! That seems like a normal artists statement.” And then I reread it, and reread it again, because something didn’t sit right with me. Later I realized that it was the use of the word “nightmares” in such close proximity to the phrase “reaches both children and adults.” I let this sit for a moment while I clicked my way over to the gallery portion of his self-titled website. And then I understood.

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Although Delessert’s most identifying pieces are geared towards children, there is an undeniable uncomfortable quality to every single one of them. Sometimes it’s as simple as the unnatural colours of his characters eyes, or their strange, elongated features. It’s hard to put it into developed, educated words, but let me try and explain to you how these pieces make me feel.

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It’s almost like these scenes all occur in the opening scenes of CSI Miami, or even worse, Law and Order. There’s always the sense that you’re watching something that you’re not supposed to; or that you’re doing something immoral by observing the scenes Delessert creates. That aside, though, these creepy illustrations have appeared in over 80 books, translated in over 14 languages, and have sold millions of copies world wide. So I’m seemingly alone in the whole crime show sentiment, and the public and professional world is enamoured with his work.

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So much so, that his website states: “Twice he was honored by the Premio Grafico of the Bologna World Children’s Book Fair. His illustrations have appeared in leading magazines and newspapers such as The Atlantic Monthly, Le Monde and The New York Times. His animated films include the adventures of the endearing Yok-Yok and creations for Sesame Street.” 

His illustrative work’s reputation surpass the threshold of expectation. Delessert boasts a one man retrospective housed by the Louvre, as well as a separate travelling collection that now lives in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. His autobiography, titled “The Blue Bear”, was published by Slatkine Editions in 2015. Perhaps the most remarkable fact of his career is that Etienne is self taught. Still working as an illustrator, his process changed from an entirely traditional approach to a combination of tactile mediums and digital methods. His primary goal of his career, he states, is “to create stories that make children ask questions.” And whether the viewer is a child or adult, there is no denial that Delessert’s work does exactly that, and will for the rest of his promising career. That being said, his work is creepy as hell. Just saying.

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Ben Shahn

Ben Shahn is most well known for his fine art, illustrative and literary works. He was born in Lithuania to parents Joshua and Gittel, but his family was exiled when he was four for revolutionary activities of his father. Continuing his families ideals of speaking out against political injustices, Shahn’s work took on this very characteristic and would for the rest of his career.

He would study at the National Academy of Design, where his main interests would lie in lithography, graphic design, and egg tempera painting. During his travels Shan studied European masters but afterwards shifted his efforts toward a realist style that served as a vessel for his social/political commentary. This came to light in the form of a 23 piece series detailing the case of Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian-American anarchists. Two Italian men had been convicted for murder and were sentenced to execution by electric chair after  only a couple hours of deliberation. Afterwards, the case was deemed unconstitutional due to instances of racial-prejudices, refusal of retrial and disregard for political civic liberties.

Shan’s work was heavily influenced by current events as often as it was by the people he surrounded himself with. Walter Evans, Shan’s temporary roommate, worked alongside Dorothea Lange to document the Great depression in rural america under the Farm Services Administration. Evan’s influence can be seen in Shahn’s unflinching confrontation of the human figure, and his acknowledgment of flawed facial features. The same could be said for Mexican painter Diego Rivera. with the depiction of the human form and facial expressions, as well as the politically charged images that appeared in both Shahn and Riveras works. Shahn would assist Rivera with his Rockefeller mural, and would go on to apply Riveras methods to numerous federal mural commissions.

Following the Great Depression, Shahn worked for the Office of War Information. The OWI hired him to create anti-war pieces, but the companies idea of the sentiment differed greatly from Shahns. His pieces lacked the essential nationalistic views that the company advertised, and as a result the OWI would only publish two of his posters. . Afterwards Shahn changed directions and worked with large scale “general” publication companies, including CBS, Time, Fortune, Harpers, and others. Going forward, Shan set high bars for himself. Post OWI, he only accepted commissions that aligned with his moral values.

After the 1940’s, Shahn changed styles from what he called “Social Realism” to “Personal Realism,” which has been described as “a universal expression through the devices of symbolism and allegory, the stylized line, and the colorful palette…he could evoke worlds with a single pen stroke or color overlay.”

In summary, Shahn’s reputation lives on in that he was a powerful political activist who prioritized citizen voice. This is unquestionably displayed in his works surrounding Jewish identity, citizen voice, war protests, and civil political liberties. He inspires countless generations of artists who came after him, his unique style and combination of colour and line gaining a timeless reputation.


Edwin Georgi

“His depiction of sultry, sensual femininity, with a bewildering palette of pearlescent hues, created a powerful image in fifties America – and one of impeccable morality. His quality of light was unique – the highlights burning with adjacent areas of pink and lilac. The reflected light he loved so much seemed to come from beneath, and scattered around the face giving an almost unearthly glow.”

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What do you get when you combine pin ups, Monet, and science fiction lighting? Edwin Giorgi. If that equation doesn’t quite seem to add up, the proof is in the pudding; Giorgi was one of the few artists who were able to seemingly combine genres and pull it off effortlessly. At the same time, he appealed to the mass audience by creating works with exciting colour palettes and pop-culture centric images.

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For the most part he was self taught, and started his career in advertising and fine art. He possessed a degree from Princeton and left with the full fledged intention to become a writer, but his love of fiction and story telling led him down an alternate path of illustration. Starting out as a copywriter in an agency, he was told the cruel but essential phrase “You would be better as an artist.” Rough, yes, but this pushed him in the right direction.

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What made Giorgi stand out so much from his contemporaries was his dramatic depiction of light, colour, and feminine sensuality. Much like Russel Patterson, Giorgi created women who were powerful and sensual, strong in their emotions and structured as a crucial character within the scene. Paired with his expert illustration of light and colour, the figures worked with it to communicate a precise feeling and mood within the illustration. He does so marvellously, as the figures could easily be overtaken by the aggressive brushstrokes and unapologetic use of colour.

His career consisted of illustrations, personal commissions, advertising, and works that accompanied entertainment mediums as well. His work was extremely well received among the public, and his career was long and prosperous.

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Rose O’neill

Last summer, I spent a good amount of time rummaging through old things in our house. I was moving out for the first time, and I was fully engaged in the stereotypical teen-moves-out-for-the-first-time montage. I was emptying my parents costume trunk (which had been a go-to for halloween costumes for the majority of my childhood) when I came to the bare floor of the trunk. All the costumes were on the ground, the old wooden box empty, and staring up at me was this… thing.

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It wasn’t until further research that I discovered the importance of the naked child in my costume trunk, or his origins. The baby, more well known as the Kewpie, was created by Rose O’Neill in 1908. O’Neill was American illustrator most known for the creation of the character. She started out in rural Nebraska and from a young age harboured a love for fine art, illustration, and sculpture. Her illustration career started with an art contest when she was 13, entering and winning with a piece titled, “Temptation Leading to an Abyss.” At the age of 15, she was creating illustrations for local Omaha magazines, gaining herself a decent-sized reputation.

Her early works were extremely well done, composed, and were interesting to look at. From the start O’Neill’s characters had personality and presence. As seen below, the young woman emanates power and seduction, while the old woman appears cooky and senile. Even the cat looks pissed off, and the audience is able to learn about the scene and the exchange without seeing the article this illustration would have gone with. Rose’s work was consistent in this way, and it was what gained her so much respect in the illustration world. She could draw, and she could do it well, but instead turned to a much more exciting route with her comics and characters.

One of O’Neill’s earlier illustrations for an Omaha magazine.

In 1983, Rose and her father moved to New York City to help further her career. She joined the team at Puck magazine, where she was the only female on staff. While experiencing this, O’Neill became heavily involved in the “New Woman” movement, which focused on the central idea of women as strong independent figures in society. O’Neill accompanied many other female artists in this movement, including Violet Oakley. “

“[Female artists] played crucial roles in representing the New Woman, both by drawing images of the icon and exemplifying this emerging type through their own lives”

` Art historian Laura Prieto

It was during this time of suffrage and feminist movements that O’Neill started creating original artworks and not just magazine commissions. It’s here that the Kewpie came about, his name derived from the traditional “Cupid” of roman mythology. She incorporated the characters so often that O’Neill once stated; “I thought about the Kewpies so much that I had a dream about them where they were all doing acrobatic pranks on the coverlet of my bed. One sat in my hand.””

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The little cherubic characters were debuted in Ladies Home Journal, and as they gained popularity, would appear in Women’s Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. The comics style would become just as iconic as the beloved characters, and would become a signal of the mid-century comic. O’Neills characters were featured constantly getting into trouble and causing mischief in their little lovable way. Most importantly, they frequented advertisements and campaigns favouring women’s rights. The Kewpie’s may have seemed out of place on a Suffrage poster (as seen below) but were actually highly effective. The mischievous character who always ended up doing good was a well thought out placement. It was almost as if O’Neill was saying “Of course it’s going to be troublesome to get there, but everything will work out in the end.”

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Eventually the well loved characters would be produced in porcelain as one of the first mass-produced toys in America, and became a household, well loved toy. So well loved in fact, that it ended up in the hands of my dad. It still sits in the basement, but now on a shelf standing upright and not laying in the bottom of a costume chest.

On a personal note, I find O’Niell’s work very admirable. She really emphasizes the importance of consistency in ones style, harking back to the saying “If you’re everything, you’re nothing. ” Especiallly seeing her early work, with her expert draughtsmanship and technique, I always have respect for an artist who chooses heavily stylized work over impressive academic skill. Overall, I think the most incredible thing about Rose O’Neill was that she created a world and lived inside of it. She describes her Kewpies as “a sort of little round fairy whose one idea is to teach people to be merry and kind at the same time,” and conducted her life in that exact same way. Her work could be summed up by the same principles. Both her early and mature work was merry, kind, and jovial to say the least, which is what made the Kewpie so adored by the public in the end.

Sanford “Sandy” Kossin

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“The art by this well-known illustrator will forever be preserved and it will remain an inspiration to other striving illustrators and artists of today and the future.”

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Sanford Kossin stands among a unique group of illustrators, ones that stand apart from the rest of history both in subject matter, style, and importance. Of course, I speak of the great post-war illustrators responsible for chronicling America in the late half of the 20th century. Among his contemporaries, Kossin provided his audience (as well as the present-day) with a unique interpretation of post-war culture, political commentary, and literature visuals all while doing doing so in an exciting colour palette. His collection of works is home to a wide range of clients, from “paper back book covers, science-fiction magazines, children’s books and magazines, and fiction art for Boy’s Life, Reader’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, and others.” (

Known as Sandy Kossin among his contemporaries, Kossin has been hailed as one of the greatest illustrators of the 20th century. Kossin started his artistic career with an education in the California Jepson Art Institute, and afterwards worked primarily in New York as an illustrator. However, Kossin’s prior service in World War Two would go on to influence every illustration created in his career, and would prove to be some of the most influential artistic commentary as the United States plummeted in and out of the Cold War and other international conflicts.

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Apart from subject matter, Kossin is most well known for his highly conceptual fictional content, as well as his striking dark line work and high contrast colour. He credits this unique approach to his work with lino-cuts at a young age. As seen above, Kossin developed a style that was bold, rough, and striking, all while maintaining his incredible skills of draughtsmanship and faithfulness to realism.

On a final note, during his peaking Kossin was, and still remains, an extremely important illustrator that helped break down the barrier between fictional illustrations and real-world events. He is equally recognized for his political commentary and for his science-fiction related drawings. Kossins unique style and ability enabled him to make a tangible difference in the every-day home, not just in the lives of avid-readers or art collectors.

Russel Patterson (1893-1977)

Many of us know that the iconic image of 1920’s fashion isn’t truly representative of the everyday citizen of the time. The average woman was not walking around draped in glass beads and with a parabola for an eyebrow. Much like the Gibson girl or the Arrow Collar man the flapper is a character made to sell products, experiences, and most prominently, a lifestyle. Russel Patterson was instrumental in creating the image of the flapper. He illustrated bold, desirable women who emanated fun and powerful sexuality, an image that previous to the 20’s was viewed as more taboo than not. Pattersons work teeters on the edge of pornography, but somehow still manages to keep the woman in a powerful position. Many of the other artists creating similar work at the time made the woman weak and powerless. Patterson reversing the roles set him apart from his contemporaries.

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In his childhood Patterson was confident about his career path, claiming from his teenage years that he wanted to become a magazine cover artist. However, he would attend McGill University for architecture, do cartooning work, and have a full career in interior design before attempting to join the army and getting rejected. It wasn’t until after an extremely expensive pleasure trip to Paris that he would decide to pursue illustration full time, and would do so at the Art Institute of Chicago. For a time Patterson attempted to work as a fine artist but struggled in creating work that was suited to the prestigious gallery environment.

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Patterson became frustrated with not seeing eye to eye of those in the fine art world, and in 1925 and decided to seek fresh ground in the artistic centre of the universe; New York City. He started to inject the glamorous culture of Paris into his illustrations, and appealed to the taboo humour of the American audience by making his subject matter blatantly suggestive and dynamic. He brought his lively characters to the covers of College Humour, Life, Ballyhoo magazine, and many more in the following years

His illustrations served not only as comical images, but soon became inspiration for clothing, creating that distinct appearance among New Yorks upperclassmen that is still known today. Pattersons women were however more revealing than the average women on the street, and his influence presented itself in the real world in a much more subdued nature. Specifically shape-wise, as Pattersons women had defined waists and hips, and the real trends were virtually the opposite.

When speaking of Patterson’s style, there are a few key words that come to mind. Its as if he is the child of Aubrey Beardsley and Rea Irvin, with his simple line work, taboo topics and high contrast use of flat colour. His compositions certainly fit the era of Irvins New Yorker illustrations, but his characters and subject matter is rather like that of black-sheep Aubrey Beardsley (and by extension, Will Bradley).

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As the 1930’s approached and Pattersons fame was on the steady increase, he started to design sets for Broadway shows and musicals which were known for their elaborate and complex designs. This job of his was short lived, and when the Depression took hold of America Patterson had to turn away from the stage. Instead, he turned to department store window sets for the likes of Macey’s and I.J. Fox, as well as continuing his illustrative advertisements.

During World War 2 Patterson continued to build his multi-faceted reputation. While creating a comic strip of his own, he also designed the Women’s Corps uniforms, train and restaurant interiors, as well as hotel lobbies.

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Russel Patterson was one of the lucky illustrators who, although their work was heavily set in the style of the luxurious 1920’s, was able to continue building a name for himself throughout the Great Depression and the War. The public was enthralled by his curious and powerful characters. Additionally, his humour translated well into the years after the stock market crashed, keeping the attention of the suffering public. Pattersons comical sexuality was entertaining, and wasn’t at risk of being shut down with changing times. He was almost the opposite of contemporary John Held Jr, and evolved with the times to find work that suited the demands of the changing public.

Personally, I find Patterson’s work enthralling. Although heavily sexualized and most likely degrading in some senses, I find his work entertaining and funny. I think the difference between him and previous artist’s I’ve explored who focus on taboo topics like these is that Patterson never makes the woman weak. By no means are his works feminist or anything along those lines, but it is refreshing to see the depiction of the woman change. Perhaps thats why the public kept their attentions on him and not on his contemporaries. Additionally, I find that his diversity of skill ranging into all aspects of design is extremely admirable and shows in his work greatly. His curious compositions in his illustrations transfer over to his stage work, his fashionable drawn characters inspire his costume and fashion design, and so on and so forth. It is always admirable to see a “Renaissance man,” excel in every avenue of their work.

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Richard Doyle

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Growing up as the son of noted political caricaturist John Doyle, Richard grew up in his fathers art studio, absorbing any illustrative teachings he had to offer. Richard Doyle grew up in a creative environment, and aged with a love of the fantastical and the grotesque. Childhood consisted of a love of fairytales and stories, and would become his life’s work as he pursued his illustrative career.

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Doyle’s first published illustrations appeared in the Eglinton Tournament, a comedy set in the middle ages. The ornate, dark, and natural feel of Doyle’s work lended itself to the time period. It was a natural fit. Shortly after, he would collaborate with several artists to illustrate a set of Charles Dickens books, including The Chimes, The Battle of Life, and A Cricket on the Hearth. Once again this commission was perfect for Doyle’s style. Theres a traditional feel to his work, most likely because he originated the style, but the idea of Dickens and Doyle are almost synonymous because of it.

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Most prominently, and what solidified Doyle’s reputation, was his illustrations for the book “The Fairy Ring,” by the Brothers Grimm. From then on, Doyle was the go to name when thinking about fairytale illustrations. He provided the visuals for what are now the stereotypical images of fairies. Much like Howard Pyle’s creation of the typical pirate, Doyle was responsible for the modern day fairy.

The strange thing about Doyle’s career is that he was an extremely devout Roman Catholic. One wouldn’t expect a man of such intense faith to spend his life illustrating monsters and fairies, but that’s exactly what he did for many years. However, while employed under Punch he resigned his position when tasked with commissions that featured a theme of “papal aggression.”

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In summary, looking at an overview of Doyle’s work brought me back to many favourite childhood books. I hadn’t realized that Doyle basically formed the idea of the child-like fairy. Although seen before with previous artists and illustrators, Doyle left a lasting impression on the publics conscious in regards to the word “fairytale.” His dark, curiously fascinating world he created is most effective in the way that it is not covered in bright colours and sparkly characters. The illustrations make it appear as if this world is occurring at the same time as ours, in the corners of our gardens, in the middle of our forests. Reviewing his work, that’s exactly what I love the most about it, the mix between real and fantastic, and that my world could be equally as real and fantastic as Doyle’s.

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