Friday, February 08, 2008

Sandy Kossin, The Artist Himself

I was surprised and delighted to receive the message below last night:

Dear Leif;

As you know, I was recently introduced to your blog by my good friend Mike Lynch. When he discovered The Bay Of Pigs being analyzed by Tom Watson, and my finding that he knows what he's talking about, I thought I might clue your readers in on some "studio secrets". Perhaps if they emailed you some questions.

Anyway, You have a terrific site, and convinced me that I need my own!

Sandy Kossin

So there you go, TI blog readers... if you'd like to take advantage of this rare opportunity to learn directly from the artist himself, contact me at my email address and I'll forward your questions to Mr. Kossin.

Finally, I must once again express my gratitude to Tom Watson for his unprecedented efforts in providing all the scans (including the Sandy Kossin photo above, from the May 1969 issue of American Artist) and his intelligent, engaging analysis of Sandy Kossin's "Bay of Pigs" series.

Tom's final post begins immediately below this one...


  1. Wow, yet another contact with one of the giants of illustration! I for one, would simply like to hear more about the story in Mr. Kossin's own words. How much push or pull did he have with the art editor? Were there debates or arguments about the general style for the illustrations (and I ask this after seeing just how versatile Mr. Kossin is. What feedback and reaction did he get? Is he still illustrating for work or pleasure?

  2. Kathryn11:44 AM

    Hi Leif,

    I have been really enjoying the discussion this week of Sandy Kossin on your TI blog. That series of illustrations is simply incredible!
    The questions I would like to ask Sandy are:

    •Would he be willing to tell us what his major art influences were, and how he got started as an illustrator?

    •Would he describe what his illustrations tools were, such as did he use gouache, ink, and what type of paper did he paint on?

    •The Bay of Pigs artwork looks like Sandy had an incredible amount of creative freedom. Is that true? How was the art direction for the Bay of Pigs work, and for the book covers?

    •It would be fascinating to hear any other studio secrets he might be willing to share.

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Anonymous2:39 PM

    My father, one of the top commercial illustrators in Canada, from the 50's to the late 80's, was really impressed with the Bay of Pigs illustrations created by Sanford Kossin, he'd explain to me, how well these illustrations were composed, to depict the essence and character of the story being told. He was a big fan of Kossin's artwork, along with the likes of Austin Briggs, Noel Sickles, and many others. He left commercial art to do paintings that were of topics he liked most, like wildlife and aviation art, there was nothing he couldn't do. I inherited his files and have files on most of the known and lesser known artists of the last half of the last century, along with a huge art library and many of his fine paintings.
    We were working together on a book of his artwork, when he passed away from a heart attack, and I intend on finishing the art book as he wanted it to look. My father, David EL Ranson, had some favorite artists he worked with, competed against, and trained, like Stuart Main and Alex Taylor, among many others in Montreal and Toronto. He held Sanford Kossin in high regard, and I'm sure, it would've been a thrill for him to have met Mr. Kossin, but as it turned out, the only place where they did meet, was in his work, and that fortunately was, and still is, the best meeting place of them all.

    I'm glad Mr. Kossin has decided to pass along his talent, experience and wisdom, to future generations of young aspiring artists. The real masters are always the best of teachers.
    Thank you Mr. Kossin, for giving us, your magnificent gift of art, for all these years. It's been greatly appreciated. Randy

  4. His covers for Bantam's reprints of "The Shadow" are incredible.