Thursday, October 18, 2007

Atherton Challenges Briggs, Ross & Fawcett

Since I brought up the names Austin Briggs, Alex Ross and Robert Fawcett in conjunction with yesterday's pieces by Coby Whitmore, I thought it would only be fair to show you some examples what sort of work those other artists were doing for Cosmopolitan magazine AD, Robert C. Atherton.

Austin Briggs (above) was always experimenting with new styles and techniques. What you see here, I've come to realize, is one of Briggs' signature approaches to line art. Another example by the artist from 1954 here. Recently, a commentor wrote that he heard Briggs used a matchstick as a pen tip to accomplish this unique inking style. I'd be very curious to hear from anyone who might actually know if that's true.

* You'll find many more examples of Briggs' work in my Austin Briggs Flickr set.

Alex Ross, who did the spot illustration below, also loved to experiment.

Robert Atherton obviously liked using Alex Ross (his work appears very regularly throughout the issues I have from the first half of the 50's)... and the artist rarely handed in the same style twice - preferring to try something a little different at every opportunity. One of my favourite pieces by Ross is this one from the September 1950 issue of Cosmo.

* More examples by the artist in my Alex Ross flickr set.

Finally, this beautiful piece by Robert Fawcett. I wouldn't say that Fawcett created any highly experimental work for Atherton...

... but as David Apatoff has mentioned in an earlier post, art directors had so much respect for Fawcett's skill, they would hire "the illustrator's illustrator" just so there would be one more piece by Fawcett in the world.

* More examples by the artist in my Robert Fawcett Flickr set.


  1. Once again, nice illustration and illustrators Team :9

  2. I remember reading in one of the famous artists books that Briggs used blotting paper to achieve this effect. I don't remember what instrument he used to draw with. Also he would draw with his left hand sometimes to remove mannerisms.