Monday, September 29, 2008

Al Parker Step-by-Step: Part 1

Recently, I lucked into a nice stack of Famous Artists Magazine back issues, the publication of the "students and alumni of the Famous Artists School".

Wow, what a wealth of rare artwork, photos, and information contained in these deceivingly slim magazines! We will be digging treasure out of their pages for quite some time - beginning with this week's Al Parker step-by-step demonstration.

I know Christmas in months away, but set aside the subject matter and consider what an amazing opportunity this is to see - not so much how Parker worked with media - but how he thought through an assignment.

Illustration, ultimately, is not about technique... its about visual problem solving -- and this is why Al Parker was so admired by fellow artists and art directors alike. Parker said he often spent the first ten days of a two week assignment preparing to do the illustration, and only in the last couple of days did he work on the actual finished art. This week's demo goes a long way to providing a concrete example of "the Parker Method."

I'll be taking a back seat this week while the master does the talking. Let's listen in...

* A while ago, I was delighted to receive the following note:

I assume you know that Famous Artists School is still going strong here in Wilton, Connecticut (right next door to Westport). One of our instructors saw your entry on Robert Heindel and called the blog to our attention.

It's wonderful to see this online celebration of all these great illustrators. We're in close touch with Walt and Roger Reed at Illustration House, and they recently spent time with us going through our archives and files of hundreds of drawings for the Famous Artists Course textbooks. It's a real treasure trove; next question is how best to preserve them and make them available to students of this era.

We'd certainly love to have a link to our FAS website on your blog. Would that be possible?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Magdalen Livesey

I'm more than happy to include the Famous Artists School in my sidebar links - and ecourage readers to check out the school's website.


  1. I always love reading and seeing how the great illustrators develop their drawings, but from Al Parker! You are too good to us. Thanks for the early Christmas present.

  2. Anonymous12:43 PM

    fantastic post. I am sorry I always mean to comment on your blog to say thank you, but like most i am forgetful. Anyways thank you for this information from week to week, it always brings me joy. It would be amazing if somehow there could be some type of online archive for the FAC's treasure trove of drawings for students. Anyways, hope all is well.


  3. Thank you both for your kind words - its always good to hear from readers and knowing you enjoy visiting the blog, find inspiration here, and are learning along with me is very gratifying!