Thursday, June 28, 2007

So... who are you anyway?

As this is sort of a momentous occassion (having presented you with my 500th post), I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to my Site Meter. I visit it about a dozen times a day. Its the last thing I check each night before shutting down the computer and going to bed. Why? Because it tells me about you.

That's the one frustrating thing about running this blog, dear reader... you're just not very talkative. Now I don't mean the ten or twenty folks who regularly leave comments or send me email -- to those of you (you know who you are) I am incredibly grateful. You provide the feedback and information and interaction I so thoroughly enjoy. You make the effort of putting together this blog each weekday that much more rewarding. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Its the other seven or eight hundred of you I'm talking about. We need to chat.

Really, each day I'm astonished to see that you visit me from all over the world. That boggles my mind. I'm ecstatic to know that my little blog is reaching someone in Dubai and in Dublin, in Hong Kong as well as in Hamilton (my home town).

You can see from these stats below that many of you just drop in for a brief visit ( the 0:00 timeframe means you're just looking at the first page without clicking anything... Sitemeter can't record the duration of your visit unless you click on stuff).

Its the visitors who stay for a while but leave no comment that I'm really curious about.

For example... Mr. Mandeville, Louisiana (below)...

He found me via a Google Image Search and stopped by twice for approximately 15 minutes in total to look at this:

And then clicked through to look at my Flickr Beverage set:

And then *boom* -- he's gone without a trace, leaving no comment. This drives me nuts! What was he searching for? Is he a designer? An illustrator? A student working on a research paper? Is he a she? Mandeville strikes me as a person with a mission -- and I'm dying to hear what it is.

My friend Ward Jenkins recently wrote about you guys on his excellent blog, The Ward-O-Matic. I did not know it (and perhaps you don't either) but you, dear reader, are a blurker.

Blurker (BLUR-kur): n. 1. One who reads many blogs but leaves no evidence of themselves such as comments behind; a silent observer of blogs. 2. One who reads many blogs but has no blog of their own; a blog-watcher or blog voyeur.

Now I must admit, I've done my share of blurking - even on the blogs of the people I know and love. And I understand you may not have a lot of time for fiddling around with comment passwords and usernames, especially if you are shy, busy, or just don't have much to say... but to all you blurkers out there, why not take a minute today and pop your head up into the sunshine! Tell me a little about who you are and why you visit here. Where are you from and what do you do?

I'd really love to know why you drop by every day and what you think about the blog. What would you like to see more of? Or less of?

C'mon... I promise not to bite. ;-)


  1. Anonymous11:32 AM

    Well, I mostly make my comment s on your flickr page, so there's 1 guy from Toronto, Ontario off the mystery list.


  2. Leif,

    Let me be one of the first today! Congratulations!!!! I LOVE your site! I post when I can, but most times it's my first stop before I start my work day and I run off without posting. I'll try to be more interactive. You deserve our participation gor all your efforts!

    BTW, your tracking software is just a little scary! LOL What did I have for breakfast this morning> C'mon! I know you know!! :-)

  3. Chris Ferguson11:47 AM

    Hi Leif,
    Wow, Big Brother really is watching us! I never really thought about being able to track visitors to various blogs; it's pretty cool.
    For my part, I'm the Art Director for IGA Grocergram, a custom published magazine for retailers in the Independent Grocers Alliance. The magazine has been around for just over 80 years, as long as the company. As you may remember, I sent you an ad scan from an old issue of a Del Monte Round-Up promotion. I'm also going to (when I get off my lazy butt) send you those Peak and Fuchs lessons from the FAS notebooks.
    I really enjoy receiving the Today's Inspiration e-mails. I usually try to visit your site at the end of the week, when the final piece of a particular subject is posted, and read the entire week's worth of posts. Your site is an invaluable treasure trove of amazing art, and really makes you lament for the days where that kind of work was being done (and more importantly, being used) for advertising, story illustration, etc. I often look at the magazine article layouts to inspire me to better my own work.
    I may have mentioned to you before that I have a modest collection of Saturday Evening Posts and Look magazines, so if there's ever any additional pieces of artwork you're looking for, feel free to let me know.


    P.S. Joe Jusko, you're the man! Your Mary Jane and She-Hulk posters from the 80s were an adolescent's dream come true!

  4. I'm relieved to discover that 0:00 doesn't really mean 0 seconds. I get a lot of those visits on the blogs I monitor.

    I visit your blog a few times a day and use some of the scans for my desktop image, which I've set to change every 5 minutes. I'm an illustrator and graphic designer, and all the information is interesting.

    Thanks for your hard work!

  5. Leif,
    I know nothing about art and illustration. I'm a writer -- primarily grants and other stuff for non-profits. I subscribe and visit your site almost daily because I love looking at the illustrations, reading the stories, and absorbing information (slowly) about a totally different way of looking at the world.

    I often visit first thing in my morning. I live in the Hudson Valley of NY. When I'm under the gun with a grant deadline, you become my 5-minute refresher. I click on Today's Inspiration to clear my brain.

    I've never commented before, so let me take the opportunity to thank you. You are integral to my daily life in a way you probably never suspected.

  6. Anonymous12:20 PM

    Well, I don't blame you for feeling frustrated: all those wonderful images and acknowledgment so thin on the ground! I'm here on a regular basis for my daily nostalgia fix. A feature of my childhood and adolescence was the free run I had at the magazines in my Dad's Connecticut grocery store. You can't imagine how these illustrations carry me back through the many, many intervening years!
    Bob Bollini

  7. Congrats, Leif! I for one have enjoyed these daily gifts from you...though my harddrive was recently wiped out.

    Sooo...I was mind resending all 500 images. ;)

    I'm joking of course...god, I really shouldn't joke about it...I'd really hate for something to happen to them...I better back them up now!!!


  8. Hi Leif
    As an illustrator, impossible to live (to work) without your site! Your sets of images are abolutely amazing. each day begins with your RSS feed. Just fantastic.

  9. Hi Leif,

    Well, since you asked, I am an alleged artist in Saskatoon. I run a small design and illustration shop called 'EYECATCHER Graphics & Design" and I specialize in "retro" images, usually comic book style (which makes it a big thrill to see the renowned artist Joe Jusko on this thread!). I've been published in MAD Magazine and in CRACKED, among others. This may explain why the latter went out of business, I guess.

    My website, if you're interested, is at:
    (although there's not much there right now)

    Probably a better example of my work is this website belonging to one of my favourite clients:

    Essentially every graphic or logo on this site (except the Vancouver Canadians crest) was perpetrated by me so you can probably see my tendency toward the "oldschool" look.

    Since this makes your blog right "up my alley", I greatly appreciate your efforts and I can't believe how diligent you are in getting the "Daily Inspiration" up like clockwork! It's such a great way to start the day and I don't think you've missed a single one yet.

    I can't say enough about the marvellous service you provide. I guess the only suggestion I would have is that I would enjoy seeing each illustration even larger but I understand that's asking an awful lot for something you are so generously and efficiently providing pro bono.

    All in all, I just absolutely love your site. Thanks so very much (incidentally, your own artwork looks great too!).

    Please keep up the fantastic work!

    Huw Evans, Owner
    EYECATCHER Graphics & Design

  10. Oh yeah, and congrats on 500 posts!

  11. Congrats on the big Five-Oh-Oh, Leif! :)

    I thought I was the only one who amused myself by obsessively tracking my blog visitors...I feel sooo much better now!

    And let me just say that even when I don't leave a comment, I'm actually mentally commenting on all the wonderful stuff you post--you just can't hear it.


  12. P.S. Forgot to say 'who' I am--designer/illustrator in Lovely Lansing, Michigan!

  13. See, Leif? They like you -- they really like you! Ha ha! Seriously, I find myself not commenting sometimes because of my schedule and my obsessive multi-tasking -- haven't got the time. But you know I really really appreciate all the time and energy you spend on TI and the TI blog. Without you and your efforts, where would we be? To have you out there researching past masters in the illustration world gives us the rare opportunity to be reminded of our legacy. Thank you.

    And you know me -- I draw things for a living in my new home of Portland, OR. Woot! Keep it up, my friend.

  14. Marc Nischan2:30 PM

    Okay, Leif, here's my story. I'm an artist in the Detroit area. I was turned on to your blog by a tremendous artist (and hot rodder) named Jeff Norwell from Toronto. I met him through a message board we both frequent that is dedicated to people who build and drive traditional hot rods and customs.

    I am very gratefull to you for keeping up the blog and look forward to visiting it each week. It is truly a treasure. Thanks!

    ~ Marc

  15. Argh! I wrote a long comment and then the system ate it. Anyway, I'll try to remember what I said...

    I comment from time to time, and you even visited my blog once, so I guess I'm not much of a blurker, but I understand the urge to blurk. I always want to say something insightful or add something to the post in my comments, but usually I just end up saying "thanks for the beautiful pictures." Posting that as a comment on every single post you make would probably be a little tiresome of me, wouldn't it? ;-)

    They are beautiful, though, and thank you for posting them.

    I'm not any kind of illustrator, just a hobbyist, but I appreciate this blog for the inspiration and the education it provides. I come here every day, sometimes more than once, and stare at the pictures, trying to figure out how they were done (and just enjoying them for the works of art they are).

    I must say, it is a bit scary that the tracking system is so detailed. My profile probably shows I linger a bit too long over the pictures of pretty ladies. Don't tell anyone!

  16. I just found this place today, but I love looking at illustrations from the past. It's like playing catch-up on images I was too young (or non-existent) to enjoy.

  17. funnily I have to say that so many times I thought I would love to thank you for making the newsletter so inspirational : )
    But I thought you would simply be annoyed to get a mail for that only ^_^
    So I have to make apologies for being so silly : )

    I 'll know it from now !

    So , let me tell you :
    I 'm french, illustratress, I discovered your newsletter via Marguerite Sauvage, french illustratress, who wrote on her blog how she loved this idea and the artwork she got from it : )

    And I thank you for this wonderfull work !

  18. Hi Leif,

    yes I think I'm a blurker:) Once in a month or so I leave some little comments on my italian friends' blogs, but I'm so lazy when it comes to write in English, it takes a tremendous effort to me!
    Anyway, I look every day at your Flickr photos page, which I find terrific! You're making me discover artists I've never heard before, and I think you're doing an unvaluable job for all the people like me who weren't very familiar with classic illustration, but do want to learn something from the masters of the past, or simply love to contemplate their art!

    Thanks for sharing, Leif, keep posting and forgive us shy blurkers!

    I'm a comic artist who works for the italian market.

  19. I'm from New Zealand and I read it to be inspired

  20. I'm in nyc about to move to houston, tx. I'm a big time blurker I guess. I do comment, but not as much as I lurk.

    If I had a blog, I'd obsessively check the tracking of my readers too.

  21. Oh, and I'm an electrical engineer and I come here for the candy.

    Thank you for your hard work.

  22. Bob-O8:52 PM

    Congratulations on your 500th post. My name is Bob-O, and I'm in Milwaukie,Oregon (home of Dark Horse Comics, and birthplace of the Bing Cherry). I'm in the process of starting an illustration/cartooning career.

    I don't recall how I found your blog, but I think it was a link from another site(perhaps Lou Brooks, Shane Glines, Ragnar or Font Diner?) I'm sorry I've been "blurking" I didn't realize there was a name for it. Anyway, I love your site, it brings me back to all the children's books, advertising, etc. from when I was a kid. I really appreciate you sharing all of your hard work.

  23. Anonymous9:02 PM

    It's true... I must be one of these so-called 'blurkers', I watch a tonne of blogs but rarely to never say anything.

    You're in my my info blog folder, so that means I come here for the art and information that you share.

    I'm just a mediocre animation student from Australia. Tried the blogging thing, but it didn't really work out.

  24. I'm a design student living in Seattle. All I want to do is make comments but school's making me design spreads and whatnot so I come here for help.

    I think I found you through, which is also pretty great for daily inspiration.

    Congrats on your 500th post!

  25. Hah! "Blurkers." I'll have to remember that. I guess I'm one of them. I can't recall how I came across your site initially, but I've been a reader since. I love the illustrations you've been posting. I'm more of a web developer, and not so much a designer/illustrator, but I love the art.

  26. First time I ever left a comment. I'm from Toronto and I go to OCAD! Your blog makes me smile since a lot of "cool" illustrations coming out now is all about drawing like you can't draw. tsk tsk tsk.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Leif,

    This is my third attempt to post a comment.My computer skills are meager.I hope this one goes through ok.I visit your site almost daily and I'm a blurker.

    I'm a Minnesota airbrush artist. I work with another artist, Rich Larson(penciler), to produce slightly lurid fantasy art.You can sample it at our

    I'm a baby boomer,influenced by Marvel Comics, James Bama monster kit box cover art,Frazetta's cover art,and Richard Corben's comic art.

    I love 1950's illustration.Parker, Saturday Evening Post art,Whitcomb and the Cooper Studio artists,and Loomis are favorites.I prefer the representational art to the more abstract stuff,but that's just my bias.Variety is a good thing.

    Your Andy Vigil post was a treat,as was the Mcleans artists, British artists and the recent Parker posts.Its like browsing through a copy of Illustration magazine.Your flicker page is a treasure too.

    Many thanks for your efforts.Keep 'em coming.

  29. "Blurking" from Berlin. I'm one of those RSS-blurkers. Thanks a lot for those masses of inspiration and information!!!

  30. Congratulations on you 500th post!
    I check your blog every day (sometimes more). I love it!Mainly for what the name says it is.... my daily inspiration.
    I don't know where you get all that material but there's no way I could find the same amount of info and images in books.
    But I'm in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and that doesn't seem to show up in you states... So just imagine all the poeple that are reading your blog and don't get picked up by the meter... There could be thousands of us!! ;-)

    Keep up the good work... please.

  31. Well, I found your blog by following links from other design sites. I was actually looking for an image that I saw a couple of years ago but haven't been able to find since. It's a painting (don't know if it's on canvas or part of a mural) by Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of the "Madeline" series of children's books. It shows some waiters decorating a restaurant for the Christmas season. They're putting ornaments on a huge Christmas tree, if I remember correctly.

    But anyway, I enjoyed your blog so much that I spent a long time (I'm sure you could tell me exactly how long!) browsing around and checking everything out. It's a fun site!

  32. jeff Norwell8:22 AM

    Hey brother...been with ya since day one.....I always need my daily dose of TI.
    I can't say enuff of what you have done here to spread the gospel of our glorious past!

    gotta go...deadline looming!

    Talk soon


  33. Hello Leif,

    I am guilty of looking at your blog everyday (sometimes more than once) and almost never posting a comment. I did, however, sign up with blogger several months ago for the sheer purpose of leaving you a comment. I told you that I loved your blog (even though I couldn't draw a stick figure to save my life) and you responded kindly. But your sight DOES inspire me and it is the third thing I look at on my computer every morning (after my emails!).

    As for me, I am a mother of a 4 year old and former TV documentary producer. I just moved from LA to Seattle 2 weeks ago and I am trying to decide my next career path - if only I could make a career out of reading you blog!

    Congrats on your 500th post. Please do keep up all the amazing work.


  34. I visit this place often, sometimes I read, sometimes I just look at the pictures.And I like to look at your flickr sets.I am grateful for all the images, for the information and the interesting stories you put in here.Some people may be able to see such pictures in person where they live but I can't so I should be even more grateful.I'd like to think I could learn something for all those great illustrators.In fact if it were not for several blogs and a drawing forum I vist regularly I don't have such environment around me.
    So thank you for doing this!

  35. Anonymous6:33 PM

    I'm one of your visitors from Ireland and check in every day because there is always something interesting to see. I do some illustration in my spare time. Thanks for all the work you have put in!

  36. Hi Leif,

    I have to thank Mark Harris for enlightening me about what you do. Maybe I could take you up on your offer of showing me around Hamilton some time this summer.


  37. scott Baldwin3:45 PM

    Hi Leif,

    I'm been diggin' TI for about a year (?) now. I'm a graphic designer/Illustrator from Oakland, CA. Thanks for all the great stuff!


  38. Hi Leif,

    This blog is such a valuable resource. I congratulate you on not only your unswerving taste but also on sharing the work by the (in general) unsung heroes of illustration. It's my first stop at the start of the working day and never fails to inspire - a blog that really does what it says on the can!

    I'm an illustrator and lecturer in Illustration and Graphic design.

    btw my students use and really enjoy this blog too.

    much love


  39. Hello Leif

    I read your blog when I can, and in addition to your commentary, I love the fact that your images on Flickr are large enough resolution that one can appreciate the details. I run a message board which has a large collection of old art (about 20,000 images) and I enjoy a large selection of artistic styles in adverts.

    As to who I am, I'm an Engineer (a real one), manager of several consulting and IT projects involving coal power plants, an author with a few published works, and I sometimes teach a University course.

    I know what you mean about wanting to have people comment. In the past, I've spent woman-days researching and writing up a report on some science topic, only to have not one person comment on it.

  40. I've always been here, blurking and appreciating the stuff. Thanks Leif!

  41. hi leif and congrats on the 500th post. i came across your blog a year ago or so (thru Drawn, but not 100 percent sure), then stopped looking at it for a while because, you know... life, new job, moving across the country, kids growing up... i've recently come back to it more often since i put a link to it from my own blog. I enjoy seeing so much amazing illustration work from the past and reading all the interesting information you are able to research about the artists. thanks so much for all the work you put into it, your passion is contagious. i'm a newspaper artist in Seattle

  42. Congrats on 500 post and then some: as you know I have them ALL! From reading the comments, it's easy to see that most of your viewers are illustrators and the fact that they don't write: goes with out lifestyle: deadlines approaching... can't write now...! Like all your viewrs, I want to say thanks and good job: mostly the fact that you have been doing it for so many years: well thanks for taking the time. As I said before: you've also created a serious condition amongst your friends in Toronto: it's called dependence, we're all addicts now, we need our daily fix of illustrations! You're an illustration pimp! We all know that it takes time and work to put up these daily posts: and if you're not getting in words the appreciation for your work: the numbers of the (big brother) counter, should be a quiet reminder that a lot of people appreciate!

  43. Hi, Leif, and congratulations on your fantastic achievement. 500 wonderful contributions to the study of illustration, 500 tributes to artists who wracked their brains for creative ideas and sweated to make deadlines... as I've told you before, this is a wonderful thing you are doing. I always think that, even when I just blurk. When do you find time to do illustrations????

  44. Great site, Leif. I file away stuff from you at least once a week, and have recommended the site to all artists I know. I often wonder the shape my art would have taken, and how much more rapidly I might have progressed, had a resource like yours be available 25 years ago. Thanks for all.

  45. Bonjour Leif,
    Je viens ici de temps en temps, sans doute par masochisme, pour me faire humilier par tous ces excellents illustrateurs dont le style graphique a émerveillé mes yeux d'enfant. En fait, la presse française des années 50 à 70 était pleine de ce genre d'image, et c'est sans doute un peu de nostalgie, mais aussi beaucoup d'admiration pour ce savoir-faire élégant qui me conduisent ici. Merci pour ces agréables promenades dans le passé.

    ( google translation : I come here from time to time, undoubtedly by masochism, to be made humiliate by all these excellent illustrators at which the graphic style filled with wonder my eyes of child. In fact, the French press of the Fifties to 70 was full with this kind of image, and it is undoubtedly a little nostalgia, but also much of admiration for this elegant know-how which leads me here. Thank you for these pleasant walks in the past.)

  46. Leif,

    As a type designer, I'm sure I look for some different stuff than most here.

    I will say that the Pepsi ads you posted here provided some real inspiration. You can take a look here:

  47. Adding to the masses: I'm a designer in Richmond, BC (just outside of Vancouver) and I've been reading for a bunch of months now and love just looking at the images through my RSS. Occasionally I will go to the Flickr sets and make nifty desktops for myself, and otherwise I just love having that jolt of retro awesomeness everyday. Thanks!

  48. Tris Mast7:07 PM

    Your site is in my Top 5 best bookmarks. I always check it and pore over each illustration in wide-eyed awe. I am the art director for 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine (look for it at your supermarket!) and am currently doing painted illustrations for my second book. You have a devoted reader in Laguna Niguel, California, who thanks you a thousand times for inspiration today...and the day after...and the day after that...

  49. Leif, Your blog is cool. I found it from a link at Illustration Magazine. I commented because I also am mesmerized blog and your mention of your hometown, Hamilton. Mine too. Now in Rochester, only a little east of you.

    I am honing my skills as an oil painter and hang out with "fine" artists. Many use "illustration" as a four letter word. To me it is a step beyond fine art in that it generally is art come to life, or with a story it IS telling, or simply it spurs one to action like, BUY this book.

    Illustration Mag is great and I am learning a lot from it and the likes of your blog.


  50. Artist and computer consultant in Chicago, IL -- thanks for the great images!

  51. Hi Leif,

    I probably found you through boingboing a while back. My love of 40's and 50's illustrations started when I worked at a used book store in Boston, the basement of which was literally filled floor to ceiling with old magazines. I've got a bunch of them and spend many a happy hour just flipping through ooh-ing and ah-ing over the ads. It's been nice learning more about the people behind a lot of them. (some of my favorites being the Pepsi smart set series).
    Oh, and the Andy and Anita Virgil series was incredibly moving and inspirational. Thank you for everything you've done here.

  52. Hello! Hello!
    Cheers from Lisboa, Portugal :)
    Yes, I can understand your frustration about "us", silent readers...
    Is not the first time I visit your blog but today I must say how much I really love it! I guess your images leaves me without words, heheheh.
    I'm an illustrater myself and a complete fanatic about classic illustration.
    Keep this great work!

  53. To all of you who continue to chime in, thank you! Its wonderful to "meet" you all! :-)

  54. I have the same problem with my site meter, Now I have become a person & place on yours, NOW come be a person & place on mine lolol

  55. Ted Benoit9:20 AM

    The way I found your blog is a long one. I'm an illustrator myself (french) and I've always been interested in american painting and illustration. But I almost didn't know any american illustrator's names, except Rockwell and Haddon Sundblom (found as I was writing a foreword for a book about Coca-Cola ads).
    I started spotting some on plan59 (, then this fascinating british site ( Then found yours by doing a Google search on Douglass Crockwell I believe.
    That's about me. As for your site, wow! Just great, and rare.
    I'll try to make more comments in the future. In the meanwhile, thanks.

  56. Hello. I am an illustration student from UK who regularly visits your site of my daily dose of artistic inspiration. Thank you for single handedly keeping the spirit a by gone age of illusration alive. Keep up the good work.

    -J. Elliott-Coleman

  57. jec, its a pleasure to hear from you!

    And to everyone else as well - thanks for letting me know who's reading!

    Leif :-)

  58. Heheh, right on. I'm a storyboard artist and sometimes illustrator. Was looking for Tom Vroman, google popped up with an image that turned out to be a Fletcher Martin piece (the baseball one with the guy sliding on base). Alot of nice stuff here - the kind of retro look that the guys in Emeryville salivate over (They had it all over the walls at the studio there... the art, that is) - they really love that graphic, dynamic character look a'la Mary Blair. So, is good solid reference for me to look at from time to time.

    ...Yeah, not much of a story, but there you go. I might have to link here sometime soon.

  59. Jenny9:38 PM

    Hi Leif,

    I discovered your blog while looking for fifties illustrations to use for my wedding materials, and then I just fell in love with all the images. I'm not an illustrator, but I feel like your blog is teaching me so much. Thank you! It's an amazing collection of images, and your narrative is so informative!

  60. Thank you, Jenny - what a delight to hear a bit about how you found me and that you have continued to enjoy visiting. You really made my day! :^)

  61. Anonymous5:42 AM

    I am from Istanbul, I design tshirts and tshirt graphics. I found your blog through google image search I think. And it is a very valuable inspiration resource for me. I appreciate your work.
    Thank you

  62. Hi Leif! Greetings from Australia. I'm a pre-digital era educated illustrator. When things changed I resisted the computer for years and consequently found little work. I've since managed to re-educate myself in the 'new ways', but still lament the tactility of actual materials. At present I am reinventing myself, as many of the Illustrators featured on your blog seemed to do. I found your site whilst looking for samples of 60's illustration. I'm learning a lot from your great effort compiling all this history. I am very indebted to you for that. I've been digesting ALL your posts for days now. It's slowly sinking in. Thanks for the great effort! Yes, I'm the lurker who visited, looked at everything, and never left!

  63. Anonymous2:06 AM

    I like looking at pitchers.