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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

"I did 22 covers..."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


"...for Boy's Life." Lowell Hess is clearly proud of that fact, as well he should be. When I first set eyes on the Hess cover you see here I was, quite frankly, humbled. Hess did covers for Collier's as well, and countless interior illustrations. I ask him if it was a good way to make a living... did it pay well for the time?

"Not as much as what I thought it should" is the reply. "I had to supplement my income by taking whatever other work I could get."

Did the clients typically return original art?

"Not that often. Collier's was good... they sent them back, but a lot of others didn't. I wish they would have, I'd like to have more of them than I do. They didn't treat them very well once they were done with them. The pressmen, they treated them like garbage. I once got a piece back with a footprint right through the middle of it."

Whom did you admire among your peers? Who inspired you, I ask.

"Balet." says Hess without hesitation, "Jan Balet. He did great work."

"But for the most part, I found my own way. I look back at the work now and I can see a distinct style, my style. And it still hold up today, I think."

2 comments

  1. It was great seeing the illustrations of Lowell Hess and learning something about the man behind them. There was a time in my distant youth when Boys LIfe loomed very large. Mr. Hess' illustrations were always done with a distinctive, fun touch and it was good getting reacquainted with them. Thanks Leif.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is fantastic! Well done on tracking this old master down & getting to talk to him about his life & career.

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