Search This Blog

Loading...

Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Fred Ludekens, Close-up

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Summer 1964 issue of Famous Artists Magazine contains an extensive interview with Fred Ludekens (1900-1982), a member of the Famous Artists School's founding faculty.


Ludekens was born in Huoneme, California on May 13, 1900. When his father died the family moved to Canada and the artist grew up there, in Victoria, BC. After returning to California as a young man, Ludekens took a night class in art at the University of California Extension School. This would be his only formal training. Ludekens enjoyed drawing but was unsure of his ability to pursue commercial art as a profession - so he never submitted a single drawing until the last day of the class. His teacher, Otis Shepard, praised it highly, and this gave Ludekens the confidence to try free-lancing.


Ludekens worked for San Francisco ad agency, Foster and Kleiser painting billboards. In 1931 he joined another SF agency, Lord and Thomas, as an art director and moved in 1939 to that agency's New York office.


He returned to San Francisco in 1945 and devoted himself to illustration for the next period of his career.


He later became co-creative director of one of the most prestigious advertising agencies in the world, Foote, Cone and Belding (FCB).


With his extensive understanding of both the free-lancer's and the art director's perspective on advertising art, Ludeken's interview in Famous Artist Magazine provides the reader with some remarkably astute advice - as relevant today (dare I say, even more so) than when the interview was conducted nearly half a century ago.


This week, let's listen to what Fred Ludekens had to say about commercial art and artists. Along the way we will learn a little about this most distinguished mid-century illustrator - and about ourselves as well.

* My Fred Ludekens Flickr set.

17 comments

  1. This confidence building man, Otis Shepard, must have been a born teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Leif,
    Fred Ludekens was one of my all time favorite illustrators, I'm anxious to see this weeks posts.
    Harry

    ReplyDelete
  3. Charlie Allen12:46 AM

    Fred Ludekins was, next to Robert Fawcett. the most intimidating illustrator/AD I ever met. He tolerated nothing less than the best....radiated confidence and discipline in his work, and expected that of others. I received a compliment from him one day....and he called me Charlie. That was enough!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm Otis Shepard's granddaughter and it was with pleasure that I read your article on Fred Ludekens, who was an amazing artist and a very close friend of my grandparents.

    I have a brochure of one of his showings, I'll scan and upload to Flickr to share.

    Thanks for the lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rich; I hope that sheppy will tell us abit about her grandfather, who so boosted young Fred Ludekens' confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Harry; I can easily imagine that FL would be one of your great inspirations - hopefully this week's offerings will not dissapoint! :^)

    ReplyDelete
  7. tonci; yay, indeed, my friend... what do you think of that blue and black "Battle" scene? A bit Jorge Zaffino-ish, no?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Charlie; Your comment says it all - if Ludekens merits that kind of praise from you, no one can questions his stature.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sheppy; well, small world! What a delight to hear from you - and thanks for offering to share that brochure with us. :^)

    ReplyDelete
  10. leif: that black and blue scene knocked my socks off today- also reminded me of the sickles' the searchers illustration

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi,

    I forwarded the post to my father, who said:

    "I could write a medium size book about Fred & Eva Ludekins! Suffice it to say, they were my parents best friends. I have several of mother's albums which record their trip to Europe in 1936. Fred built an absolutely fabulous house overlooking Richardson Bay on the back side of Belvedere island. It was "Architectural Digest" in innovation and imagination. They were both VERY bright people but also very intense. I remember helping Fred with photos of current air force planes for illustrations he was doing. I can also remember he showed us the marketing for the Edsel LONG before the car was debuted."

    As for my grandparents, I have some information and photos that I can share, but have to piece it together...

    More later!
    E

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks sheppy! Its great to learn about these family connections and hear anecdotes we might otherwise never know about. I appreciate you following up on my request. :^)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am Fred Ludekens grandson. He was indeed an amazing man, self taught, exceedingly driven, bright, creative, visionary and generous. His life was truly rich ..starting off as a young man, working in the salmon factories, later as a cowboy, and then becoming a self taught artist and extremely accomplished businessman / art director. His vision of the Famous Artists School, resulted in his recruiting "successful" artists and writers (e.g Ansel Adams, Norman Rockwell) as teachers. He wished to help others find and nurture their creative skills. More than anything he loved to paint and draw, even in his final years, when his sight was severly limited he would paint, usually pictures of his beloved western themes. I will always treasure the memories of my all too brief opportunities to spend time with him, fishing, hunting, or just listening to him. John R.

    ReplyDelete
  14. John; I know many of us who work in the business today are glad to have learned about your grandfather and his career... having the benefit of your insight adds a nice personal touch - thank you! :^)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Recently a very elderly woman handed me a 12” X 15” envelope full of Stan Galli and Fred Ludekens prints. The envelope is addressed to the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, and on the Ship-To mailing label is typed these words… “Herbert C. Hoover, c/o Wilkins Pack, Graham, Washington. The postage is dated December 22nd, 1954.

    The contents: 30 each, 11” X 14” prints…
    The actual images on the prints are around 9 ½ X 7 ½ inches…
    All titles are followed by the words “on a western tree farm… illustrated for Weyerhaeuser Timber Company – (and the artist’s name)”

    Their titles are as follows…

    BEAR CUBS on a western tree farm - Stan Galli
    FAWN AND SQUIRREL - Stan Galli
    MALLARD DUCK FAMILY - Stan Galli
    GREAT HORNED OWL - Stan Galli
    ELK HERD - Stan Galli
    COUGAR AND CUBS - Stan Galli
    MOTHER FOX AND KITS - Stan Galli
    QUAIL - Stan Galli
    RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH - Stan Galli (2 identical prints)
    MINK - Stan Galli
    RACOONS - Stan Galli
    BAND-TAILED PIDGEONS - Stan Galli
    RUFFED GROUSE - Stan Galli
    KINGFISHERS - Stan Galli
    BLACKTAIL DEER - Stan Galli

    SKUNKS AND CHIPMUNKS - Fred Ludekens
    GREAT BALD EAGLES - Fred Ludekens
    COLUMBIA BLCKTAIL DEER - Fred Ludekens
    MOTHER AND YOUNG SKUNKS - Fred Ludekens
    BROWN BEAR AND CUBS - Fred Ludekens
    CHINESE RING-NECKED PHESANTS - Fred Ludekens
    MOUNTAIN GOAT on a western tree farm - Fred Ludekens
    LOWLAND BEAVERS on a western tree farm - Fred Ludekens
    GOLDEN-MANTLED GROUND SQUIRREL on a western tree farm - Fred Ludekens
    SPRING SALMON - Fred Ludekens
    SNOWSHOE RABBIT - Fred Ludekens
    WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER - Fred Ludekens
    CHICKAREE - Fred Ludekens
    CANADIAN GEESE - Fred Ludekens

    I am curious about the value of these extraordinary images.
    Do you have an idea of the worth of this package?

    Kenneth Dahl
    kennethwaynedahl@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous2:46 AM

    Around 1956 my mother took a flight on a United Airlines plane (DC-6B I'm pretty sure). She brought back a print of a watercolor painting United Airlines must have commissioned Fred Ludekens to do. The title of the painting was Mainliner Over the Grand Canyon. It depicted exactly what the title implies: a DC-6B flying over the Grand Canyon. Has anyone seen the original painting or know anything about it? Do I have the only example of the print of that painting?

    ReplyDelete

 

Followers

Recommended

HartfordMFA IlloMundo NCS

TI Around the Web

Archives