Cartoons were popular in all kinds of advertising in the mid-century -- but perhaps nowhere more than in advertising directed at artists. The ad pages of old 1950s issues of American Artist magazine are a virtual goldmine of cartoon styles and subjects.
Well known art materials suppliers like Bainbridge...
... and Royal Crest seem to have felt that the best way to win over customers was to take a lighthearted approach - often running long series of cartoon ads month after month...
... even year after year.
No American Artist advertiser was more committed to cartoon art than the Iddings Paint Company, which ran small space ads in the back pages of the magazine that featured a new, tiny, always beautifully crafted cartoon nearly every month throughout the '50s.
Its also interesting to see how competitors sometimes chose remarkably similar ad concepts. Both of these pencil ads appeared in the same issue of AA -- both featuring cartoon art.
Meanwhile, Marshall's had a different idea. Though still using cartoon art.
I don't know how many other people there are out there who will share my fascination with this stuff. It is admittedly pretty obscure; but I love it. In fact the smaller the ads, the greater my delight for the tiny images that decorate them.
I can't help but marvel at the quality of the work done by these (usually anonymous) advertising cartoonists. This was not the work of amateurs.
Who drew all this marvelous stuff? Some thoughts and some clues... tomorrow.
* My Ads with Cartoon Elements Flickr set.