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

We Have Only Till Friday!

Friday, May 12, 2006


...and then our time to look at the Childcraft textbook series is over! Well, for now.

Along with Walter Baumhofer (above), such well-known mainstream magazine illustrators as John McClelland, Denver Gillen, Don Almquist, Isa Barnett, James Lewicki - all regular contributors to magazines like The Saturday Evening post - did work for Field Enterprises' textbook series. And that's just from the two out of fifteen 1964 volumes I have. Many other artists who were very talented but perhaps not as well known (for the lack of magazine credit lines) or who specialized in areas outside of magazine illustration are well represented in these books.

It was not typical back then to hire artists who lived far from your offices. Art directors wanted to brief artists in person whenever possible and finished art was usually dropped off by the illustrator. This arrangement was still typical well into the 1990's, even after the internet had made it possible for digital files of artwork to be transferred by email or FTP.

So I wonder just how many of the dozens and dozens of artists who did work for Childcraft lived near the Chicago area where the publisher was located.

If, in fact, most of them did live in and around Chicago, then truly we don't know nearly enough about what must have been a commercial artist's mecca to rival New York!

1 comment

  1. Hi Leif, I'm always coming back to this blog, even if I don't post much to let you know.... anyhow, yes indeed Chicago is second only to NYC in the mid-20th century. And a lot of Canadians started there. The pull was a combination of huge department stores - which had begun in Chicago around 1860 - and the car industry.

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