Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Eric Gurney's Tiny Santas

Your looking at some of Eric Gurney's earliest work as a freelance illustrator.

Gurney, who grew up in Toronto, Ontario, not an hour from where I sit as I type this, left home in 1938 to work for Walt Disney studios in California.

Ten years later he was in New York City, represented by Lester Rossin - the same agency that also repped David Stone Martin - and this December 1948 ad for Proctor was undoubtably one of his first assignments.

Gurney, who won the 'Best in Advertising and Illustration' award from the National Cartoonists Society in 1961 and again in 1971, went on to both write and illustrate children's books which, as he says in his NCS bio, "sold in the millions."

* My Eric Gurney Flickr set.

* Eric Gurney's 'Calculating Cat' at GoofButton.


  1. nice stuff. I'm curious about the whole Toronto artist spawning ground. Excuse my American ignorance, but there seems to be and overabundance of talented artists illustrators and cartoonists that have come from or work there. Even today there are a lot of comic artists and illustrators there. Do artists go to Toronto for work, lifestytle etc or is it just a coincidence???

  2. That's an interesting point, Michael;

    I can only speculate, but I suppose its because since Canada is a huge country with a relatively small population (and therefore relatively few large urban centres) Toronto has traditionally been where those with the ambition to become illustrators or cartoonists have migrated to... the "New York of the North", I guess.

    Before the internet, it was really advantageous to be close to your clients (I kept a studio in Toronto for 14 years) and most of the print media, ad agencies, and publishers traditionally had - and still have - offices in Toronto.

    Toronto still attracts young hopefuls and seasoned pros because it really is the hub of most big, urban cultural activity in Canada --

  3. Hi...This question is a little off topic I realize...sorry. My grandfather worked with Eric Gurney @ Eaton's in Toronto before Eric went on to Disney. I have several of his originals that my grandfather owned. Are they valuable? Thanks.

  4. Sander; I'm afraid those originals probably have more sentimental value than monetary value. You can always send some digital photos of them to an auction house for appraisal... Heritage Auctions, for instance, specializes in cartoon and illustration art. Good luck!