Friday, April 1, 2011

Ink line art

Working in a Detroit art studio in the 50's and 60's was an exciting time as things were booming. There was more than enough work for many artists. Commercial artists came from Chicago, Cleveland, St.Louis and even from New York to work in this lucrative market. For years I specialized in ink line art and the assignments could vary greatly as shown by the two examples below.

The art director specified that he wanted a thin line drawing with no variation or tones. This was drawn with a technical pen.

This thick line illustration was drawn using a bristle brush. I don't recall the ad agencies on these pieces but the one above was probably done for my travel agency client.

I did all types of line art, from detailed crosshatch drawings to bold brush renderings, mostly for the Detroit automotive companies, but there were many other clients at the Detroit ad agencies as well. I was also getting work from clients in Chicago and New York as well.


Anonymous said...

What was the role of an art director? My dad, Bill Ayton, was an art director. But he seemed to create create a lot of art himself. He followed my uncle through art school and into advertising in London in the 40s and then in the US in the 60s and 70s.

Harry Borgman said...

Hi Long Runner,
An art director usually works at a advertising agency and is responsible for producing magazine ads, newspaper ads, posters and various other promotional material for certain clients. He designs the particular piece and then hires an illustrator to do the necessary artwork. Sometimes the art director might do some finished art also, which I did at times when I was an art director.

Anonymous said...

For whatever reason, it helps me now to understand what my dad actually did. When he wasn't working for an agency, he freelanced. It seemed like a really tough business. Cut-throat, he said, and warned me off anything to do with it.

I remember my dad mentioning "paste-up men" and I thought it had something to do with text. The names I remember from his LA days were Art Smith, Lew Harrison, and Joe Diaz.

I think my dad's specialty was catalogs. I recall one of his first gigs in the US being the blue chip stamp catalogs. And the last was tour brochures for Brendan Tours.

In the late 60s he was involved with Random House and Hallmark pop up books with a guy named Wally Hunt. Dad quit in a snit. Wally ended up being incredibly successful at it. I spoke to Wally a few years back to get the real story.

The same goes for the USC logo my dad designed in the 70s. I tracked down the guy who commissioned it and he gave me the history on it.