For quite a while now I've been setting aside these ads featuring the ultra-cute Karo Kid. The artist managed to develop a formula for drawing a kid that is so cute it almost becomes... unsettling. I knew I'd have to present these ads to you eventually and what better time than "Cute Kid Week"?
And then - wow! As I was scanning these ads for today's post I suddenly noticed that tiny initialled signature, "A.S.", and realized that this was the same illustrator who did the Thermos ad from Monday (and no doubt the other Thermos ad I featured a few weeks ago). It was one of those neat moments in my ongoing study of the history of mid-twentieth century illustration when two pieces of the enormous puzzle fit together!
Whoever "A.S." was, this illustrator sure could paint cute kids! And, as is often the nature of a career in commercial art, may well have been a specialist in that specific subject matter.
Since those Thermos ads appeared about a decade after these Karo Kid ads, we have the unique opportunity to see how "A.S."'s style evolved. Quite nicely, I think.
His Thermos kids have a touch more realism - while still being very commercially idealized - and the more painterly approach lends them an appealing softness.
You can get a closer look at all of "A.S."'s illustrations at full size in my Cute Kids Flickr set.