By guest author, Daniel Zalkus
Richard Gangel, the art director of Sports Illustrated from 1960-1981, encouraged reportage drawing. He sent artists all over the world to cover topics such as golf, spring training in Florida, and football.
Gangel sent Bob Peak on an assignment to travel with the Shah of Iran during a tiger hunt.
Peak said it was his most exotic assignment as well as his most rewarding: “To do pictures for this assignment I spent seventeen days on horseback (the grandstand at the racetrack was my only previous relationship with horses)..."
"... lived in the Shah’s hunting palace..."
"... had eight-course meals at dusk in tents with Persian rugs."
"It was an unbelievable experience – exhausting physically, but an emotional skyrocket. I did some sketches on location, but one doesn’t sketch well on top of an Arabian Steed, so I took a couple of thousand photographs. The days and evenings kept me so busy that I didn’t have the pictures processed until my return to New York."
"There a case of dysentery, picked up by drinking from a sparkling, apparently harmless stream in Iran, put me in the hospital."
"Ninety percent of the drawings were done on butcher’s paper with watercolor and crayon while I was flat on my back. The finished art in this case is hardly discernible from the on-the-spot sketches."
"Although I worked largely from photographs, I could never have understood the fantastic color and uniqueness of this subject without having experienced it myself. Reportage of this kind is one of the most valid functions of the illustrator.”
*Bob Peak quote from the 1967 Famous Artists Course Book
Austin Briggs traveled to Idaho to follow a group of elk hunters for this series in 1962.
The feature was printed as a portfolio with the text consisting of Briggs talking about his experience on the trip.
* Daniel Zalkus is an illustrator with a passion for on-the-spot drawing. You can see some of Daniel's own excellent work at his website.
* The Bob Peak scans in today's post are courtesy David Apatoff