"Illustrators vary in their working methods," writes Norman Kent in the September 1954 issue of American Artist magazine. "Some make very rough sketches in black and white and then follow up with a comprehensive sketch in color. Others turn in a carefully worked out color plan in the first instance."
"One of the most amazing facts of human endurance in the first World War was the engineering task of transporting a makeshift gunboat over pontoon bridges and through the trackless African jungle. The commission to illustrate this story was given to William Reusswig."
"Apart from the design of scale and deep space which contributed so much to the reader's understanding of the difficulties involved, there remained the problem of models, both human and mechanical. These were composed from separate pencil studies and fitted into the large, almost abstract design of dark and light."
"Good illustrators are painstaking craftsmen and indefatiguable researchers. We are sometimes asked if they actually read the manuscripts. This, of course, is a ridiculous question. Not only do they study the script thoroughly; it is not unusual for them to do considerable supplementary reading related to the story for background information."
"Characteristic of the insistence upon convincing reporting that I have already mentioned was the procedure of Warren Baumgartner..."
"... who was given the commission to illustrate the bear and whale story. After making a series of rough sketches for arrangement and composition only, he began his research on the script calling for a Kodiak bear dragging the tethered body of a white whale upstream. A visit to the Museum of Natural History provided him with photographs of the white whale - it was the smallest known variety - with details of length, head construction, fins and other characteristics. Sketches of the gigantic stuffed kodiak bears at the Museum recorded proportions and color. Although armed with this research material, Baumgartner was still faced with the problem of visualizing the action in a landscape setting. He modeled the animals in plasticine, coated the bear and whale models with general coloration, then set them on a table under artificial light."
"His comprehensive sketch in watercolor (made final reproduction size of 8 x 16 inches ) was submitted to the editors and was okayed with several minor changes."
"The final painting in watercolor was made out-of-doors by placing the scale model in shallow water so that the reflection of the 'dead' white whale could be studied in natural illumination. Even pebbles were collected and placed as they appear in the sketch to simulate rocks in the stream. Other researches of Alaskan landscape and vegetation were taken into account for background vista."
"Even in the black and white reproduction of the final painting shown here I think one can see that solid reality I mentioned earlier - a picture illustration of an unusual incident so convincing that readers will have no doubt of its reality."
* my William Reusswig Flickr set.
* my Warren Baumgartner Flickr set