Monday, November 24, 2008

Another career phase: Freelancing

Welcome to the world of freelancing ! It can be a tough way to go as you don't have a regular check coming in every week and you also have get out and hustle. You have rent, telephone, other bills including paying your apprentice. Sometimes you even have to prod your clients to get paid.
But in the early '60's it was a good time to go on your own, the art business was booming, there was enormous demand for artists in Detroit, primarily because of the automobile business. Art studios were trying to hire freelancers as well as artists from competing studios, there was a lot of moving around going on. Out of town illustrators such as Bernie Fuchs, Mark English, Charlie Shridde, Tom Shoemaker, Del Nichols, Frank Saso and others moved to the Motor City. Detroit was brimming with great talent and the prices generally were higher than those in Chicago or New York.
When I first began freelancing I shared studio space with Dave Lindsay, Ted Lodigensky and Jack Mills, some of the best automotive artists in the business. Later top illustrators such as Jim Jackson, Charlie Schridde, Del Nichols and others joined us and we even hired a rep, Bob Witmer. Del and I were also represented in New York by Neeley-Mulvey Associates.

Chevy 1

I did a few ink line Chevrolet ads for Campbell Ewald, Joe Kidd was the Art director. Shown is the line art from which I had a film positive made, then I finished the illustration by painting the car's gray tones underneath the film positive on illustration board.

Chevy 2

Another ad done for Joe Kidd. When you finished the art you had to have it approved by Chevrolet engineers that scrutinized your illustration, every chrome strip in the grill was counted, they checked every little detail on the car. Sometimes there was a design change in the chrome trim, hubcap or logo and you had to correct the art. This could be rather trying as you also had a deadline to meet as well as an art director to satisfy. It could get complicated.

Chevy 3

This art was done for art director Jim Bernadin, I believe there were a couple of other illustrations for the same ad but I don't have copies of them.
In addition to newspaper ad art we also had to illustrate various smaller views of all the different models, these were called "mat cars" and would be sent out in proof form to the Chevrolet dealers so they could assemble their own ads. Of course, when finished, all these car illustrations had to go through the same grueling detail check by the engineers. It's a wonder how we ever met our tight deadlines.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Delightfully awesome!