Friday, January 2, 2009
Old art school ads
If you're as old as I am, you'll remember ads like these, they used to run in Popular Mechanics and other magazines. These ads were real intriguing for a kid, although I never responded. But the thought of becoming an artist, especially a comic book artist, was always on my mind. My mother was very supportive but my dad thought I was nuts and that I should become a tool and die maker like him. Fortunately, throughout my school years I had many teachers that were very encouraging, some even sent me to special art classes after regular school hours.
Below are more art school ads, although these have been altered by me quite a bit, I just couldn't resist having a little fun.
The idea of teaching had always been on my mind through the years. When I got a scholarship to an art school I was shocked to find that none of the instructors that were teaching commercial art had ever been in the business. At the time I had already been working since I was fifteen and knew more about the field than my instructors. I decided to leave school in spite of enjoying the painting classes.
Years later in 1964 I was taking some classes in printmaking at the same school, the Society of Arts and Crafts, my former painting teacher Sarkis Sarkisian, now the director, asked me if I would be interested in becoming the Chairman of the Advertising Department and teach a few classes. I accepted and taught advertising design, illustration and cartooning for about four years. I was working at Al Hutt Studios at the time and teaching full time hardly ever conflicted with my work schedule. On Wednesday I taught morning and afternoon classes, all the other days were just morning classes. The classes were large, consisting of 48 students for which I had to come up with daily assignments and check and grade them as well. It was a bit draining at times but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
Above is the 1967-68 school catalog cover. The drawing is a self portrait that I did for the school newspaper in a Pop Art style.
During my time at the school I really couldn't find that many good instructional books to recommend to my students so I began toying with the idea of writing some art instructional books. They would be very current as I could actually use some of my own assignments as examples in the books. I sent Watson Guptill Publications in New York a book presentation idea and they were very enthusiastic and gave me the go ahead. Donald Holden at WG had some great advice for me after accepting my presentation, he said "You don't need to know how to spell and don't buy a yacht." I wrote several "How to" books for Watson Guptill over a period of a decade and really enjoyed these projects.
My most popular book was DRAWING IN INK which sold very well. At the time I was specializing in ink line illustrations and had a lot of material available to use in the book. A Japanese version was also printed. Below are a few of the other books I've written.
These books are all out of print except for PEN AND PENCIL DRAWING TECHNIQUES at the bottom right which is still available from Dover publications. The others can be found in used book stores and on the internet at Amazon.com.
DIGITAL DREAMS is a recent book dealing with computer art experiments. This book is available from Xlibris.com. Bookstore.