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

You've come a long way, baby

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This illustration from MCall's November 1959 issue is the first piece I ever saw by Andy Virgil. It made me want to find more work by the artist. Compare its dynamic and complex compositional approach, its daring, vibrant colour scheme, its confident, masterful painterliness to the tentative, though competent illustration credited to one "Andrew Virgil" shown at the bottom of this post. That illustration from a 1955 issue of Collier's is the earliest example I've found by the artist.

That's why I find it so frustrating when there's no information available on the careers of illustrators like Virgil; how'd he get to be so good in such a short span of time? Was he sharing studio space with some other more established artist(s)? How did he manage to get assignments from the best national magazines when so many other talented artists could not? Was he part of a major studio's staff or did he have a well-connected rep?

In just four short years, the talented new-comer, Andrew Virgil, had become the daring and confident Andy Virgil - a worthy competitor to top dogs like Joe Bowler or Joe DeMers, and in my opinion, a rung above other third generation boy/girl artists Kurt Ard and Mark Miller. How he came such a long way in such a short span of time remains a mystery. For now.

2 comments

  1. Nice pieces. Love how he left the guy's shoes in the first illo 'unrendered'. Makes for a nice transition to the text page.

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  2. You're so right, Dom! That "unfinished" effect, perfected by the realistic illustrators of the fifties and sixties, is something we could all do well to keep in mind when working on current assignments.

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