Monday, June 29, 2009

Painting for Ford Times

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Here is a western painting that was rendered with colored inks, one of the last ones done in that medium, I was beginning to enjoy working with Designer's Colors.

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My first cover painting for Ford Times done using Designer's Colors. This was rendered using washes of color, later I began to use the paint opaque.

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Above and below are examples of some of the cartoon type work that I produced for the magazine.

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I was quite busy at this time with advertising assignments, but still managed to do a lot of paintings for Ford Times Magazine, which was the fun stuff.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

My first big break: Ford Times

In may last post I showed a sample painting that I had done, it was a western scene with a little old red Ford car. Jim Donahue, the owner of the studio that I was working at, Allied Artists, was very excited about the sample. He had a great idea, show it to the editor of Ford Times Magazine. Sure enough, Jim came back from his visit to Arthur Lougee, the art director of the magazine, and said that they bought the painting. They also said that they would buy everything that I painted providing I add a little red Ford in the picture. This was my first big break in the art business. Below is a profile of me that was printed in the magazine.

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Here is a painting that I did without the little red Ford, it's a rendering done with colored inks, a medium that I frequently worked with at that time.

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The above painting was done using Windsor and Newton Designer's colors and the one below I rendered with colored inks.

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This was a real big break for me. I did a lot of work for Ford Times from 1947 through 1951. The exposure that the magazine gave me brought in many advertising assignments from new clients. I was a very busy fellow. Jim Donahue was a great salesman, he brought in a lot of work from the newly formed auto company Kaiser Frazer. I was also fortunate to work with a couple of other artists, the great Cliff Roberts and the wild Don Silverstein. Cliff and Don did a great deal of decorative and cartoon type work. I was the oldest at 19, Cliff was 18 and Don was 17 years old.

Cliff 2

Above is a photo of Cliff and below is a shot of Don in a wild mood. We were all fortunate to have been part of the Detroit commercial art scene at that time, there was a lot of work and tremendous opportunities for young artists. To see some of Cliff's and Don's great art go to, Cliff's art was posted on October 6, 2007 and Don's work was posted on January 25, 2008.

DON "painting"

Harry 2

Here's a shot of me at the time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1946: More art and a trip to the Big Apple

This is a two color linoleum block print done in Margret Stein's class before I graduated in 1946. She always had us working on a variety of projects.

Here is a sketch that I did for a Christmas Seal stamp design contest.

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Sometime after graduation from high school in June 1946, Herb Schiebold and I decided to take a trip to New York City and try to visit some of the artists that we admired. I found this old note paper in a file recently with names and telephone numbers of several artists in New York. We did manage to meet and speak with illustrators Philip Dormont, Ben Prins and Bernard Baily who at the time had his own company that produced comic books. He was famous for drawing the Spectre strip in More Fun Comics, it was scripted by Jerry Siegel, one of the creators of Superman. We decided to visit Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and went up to the Timely Comics offices but they didn't actually have an office there, working out of their homes in Mineola, Long Island. They gave us their addresses and we hopped on a train to Mineola. Herb and I finally found the street that Simon and Kirby lived on and we spotted a man carrying what appeared to be comic strips. We raced to catch up with him and asked "Are you Joe Simon ?", to which he replied "No, but I could be Jack Kirby". He was headed for Simon's house , Herb and I finally met our favorite comic book artist heroes. They were very gracious and we chatted for quite some time looking at a lot of their artwork.
Little did I know that twenty years later I would be doing work for Joe Simon on Sick Magazine. I will post some of that art at a later date. We had a great time in New York and headed back to Detroit brimming with enthusiasm.

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I began working at Allied Artists as a graphic designer, but did some illustration as well as many cartoons for various projects. Often during slow periods I would work on sample illustrations. One day I did a painting of a western scene, I added a small little old red Ford car in the scene. Jim Donahue, the owner and a salesman for Allied was very exited about the illustration. This was a turning point in my career as you will see on my next post.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Some cartoons and art school sketches

36-2 Detroit Mag 1946
Above and below are a couple of cartoons that I drew for Detroit Magazine in 1946, the year that I graduated from High school,
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My best friend, Herb Schiebold, and I won scholarships to a Detroit art school, The Society of Arts and Crafts. Below are some pages from my sketchbooks. I rarely sketched in pencil, preferring ink and a brush because one can't erase an ink line. I felt this would train me to be more observant and more careful about drawing accuracy.

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Herb and I only stayed at the school for about six months, the commercial art teacher obviously had never been in the business, so we decided to quit. We both already had been working in the commercial art business and the school seemed like a waste of time. I now wish that I had stayed and took more life drawing and painting classes, it would have helped me later in the business. Sarkis Sarkisian was my painting instructor and he was excellent. Later in 1967 Sarkis hired me to head the Advertising Department where I taught graphic design, illustration and cartooning.
Herb and I decided to start our own studio with a salesman named Denny, I don't remember his last name at this time. Denny was older than us and had experience as a commercial art salesman. We rented space in a downtown Detroit office building and were in business. Denny brought us in a lot of graphic design work from Chrysler. We were doing pretty well until the Detroit auto workers went on strike, then business dropped off to nothing. We had to close up shop and look for a job.
Soon I ran into Jim Donahue from my early days at Brophy's, he had just started a new art studio, Allied Artists, and wanted to hire me as a graphic designer, another real break. I've been very lucky to run into some great opportunities throughout my career. Right from the start at Allied Artists I was kept quite busy doing mostly graphic design assignments and some illustration. Below is one of my first illustration jobs, an ad for Wettlaufer Manufacturing Corporation. It was done in 1947 or 1948.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Yearbook design and art

1945 Yearbook035

As I have mentioned before, I had an excellent art teacher in high school. Margret Stein was originally from New York City and had some commercial art studio experience. She was responsible for producing the high school yearbook and appointed a staff who would handle the writing, photography and artwork and design. I was assigned the job of art director. Above is the cover that I did for the 1945 yearbook. Below is the 1946 cover which I designed and my good friend Herb Schiebold did the artwork.

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Here is some of the artwork that I drew for the interior pages, these were done with a brush and India ink. Some of the drawings were printed in red as shown.

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Working on the yearbook with Miss Stein was a great experience for all of us involved. It was a real benefit for me as the Brophy Engraving Company in Detroit hired me to work in their art department. They produced the printing plates for the yearbook and also had an art department. Their artists had all been drafted into the army, World War II was raging. That happened in 1943, every day after school I would go downtown and work at Brophy's.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Poster for my gallery

This is a poster that I designed for a dinner party that Craig is having next Saturday. The poster was created on the computer using Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.

Some of my acrylic abstractions and sculpture as well as the other gallery artist's work will be exhibited.


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Monday, June 15, 2009

Early art and a prize winner

I was fascinated by scratchboard, a unique illustration board which had a special surface that could be worked on with a special tool after a drawing was inked. Scratchboard is still available today at artist supply stores.

Another drawing done on scratchboard.

One of my brushes split and I did this drawing with it.

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This cartoon won first prize in the 1946 national Scholastic art competition. The drawing was done in ink using a brush. The tones when added with a litho pencil.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Early illustrations and cartoons

Margret Stein, my high school art teacher, was from New York and had worked in a commercial art studio. She was responsible for producing the Denby high School yearbook and put together a staff, running the whole operation like a commercial art studio. The staff consisted of writers, artists and photographers and she appointed me as the art director.
The engraving plates for the yearbook were done by Brophy Engraving Company in downtown Detroit. Brophy also had an art department, but their artists had been drafted into the army as World War II was in full swing. In 1943 I was hired to work in the art department at Brophy's, a very lucky break for a fifteen year old kid. I went to work every day after school, it was quite a learning experience. I had to do graphic design work as well as cartoons and various types of illustrations. Jim Donahue, who later began an art studio called Allied Artists, was the art director. An older gentleman, Fred Bredemeyer, was the only other artist working there. He was an old timer and had even worked with James Montgomery Flagg sometime in the 1920's.

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In 1945 I won second prize in a Boy's Life magazine cartoon contest.

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An early attempt at a color illustration. At that time I was experimenting with colored inks.

A political cartoon done at the war's end.

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Brophy's produced the magazine Michigan Educational Journal and I drew cartoons for it, one of my many jobs there.

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Another 1945 cartoon also done using colored inks. Are you old enough to remember zoot suits ? Those are real cool cats on the left.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Early comic strip work and ink drawings

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These two frames were part of a comic strip I drew in 1943. I was determined to become a comic strip artist, however my high school art teacher, Margret Stein, steered me into the commercial and fine arts.

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An early ink line drawing done with a crowquill pen using the crosshatch technique. Little did I know that I would specialize in this technique for many years as a commercial artist.

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As I do today, I have always experimented with various techniques, here is an early ink drawing done on scratchboard. This illustration board has a special surface that can be scratched away after inking a drawing.

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I did a comic strip for the high school newspaper, here are a couple of examples. I also designed and did the art for the Denby High School yearbook.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Early illustrations

Here are some illustrations that I did when I was 14 in 1942. These were probably my first attempt at painting with watercolors. I must have been reading a lot about historic naval battles. You may wonder where I found all this old art, my mother saved a lot of the things that I drew and painted when I was a kid.

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This illustration looks a if I were influenced by Fred Harmon, the artist who drew the Red Ryder comic strip. This was done using gouache, not watercolors.