Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mr. Whitcomb Goes to War

Good propaganda art is as much about design as it is about illustration. Colours and shapes must be strong and well arranged. The design should be simple but attention grabbing. The message should be clear and compelling: "See and obey!"

By the time World War Two began, Jon Whitcomb was already a master propagandist in the art of love. As a commissioned Lieutenant j.g. in the Navy, first serving in mine sweeping duty, then with the public relations department in Washington, then as a combat artist in the Pacific theatre, Whitcomb showed his chops as a propagandist in the art of war.Whitcomb, self-admittedly not a strong painter, did have an excellent sense of design, and those who would dismiss him by comparison to some of his contemporaries might do well to consider this: strip away the veneer of romance his clients demanded of him and you can see why his work is so effective.
You'll find all these images at full size in my Jon Whitcomb Flickr set.


  1. An interesting period for Whitcomb that I wasn't as aware of, thanks for sharing.

  2. "Mr. Whitcomb goes to war?" Let me know what country has an army full of cadet nurse glamour girls. I'm ready to enlist!

    Like Dominic, I wasn't aware of this period in Whitcomb's past. Thanks, Leif!

  3. The Glamour girl squad of cadet nurses, sadly was disbanded with the end of WWII, David. They were replaced with the unglamorous girl grunts - with a co-related drop in voluntary male enlistments. ;-)