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

VISUAL JOURNALISM: The Artist as Reporter - Part 4

Thursday, May 03, 2012

By guest author, Daniel Zalkus

CBS television, under the art direction of Bill Golden, assigned many on-the-spot jobs. One such assignment was the CBS calendar, which was illustrated by a different artist each year.

Eric_cover

Artists were sent to the television studio to capture, through drawing, the behind the scenes activity. The drawings generated were printed without studio tweaking or editorial modification.

In 1958 the famed fashion illustrator, Carl Erickson (“Eric”), was assigned the job.

Eric_CBS_Spread

Utilizing a variety of tools, from ink to wash to pencil, he drew the actors, television men, producers, costume designers, etc., whose daily routines were the typical scene of that time.

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“The Blue Convention” is another CBS project from that era.

Theblueconventions_cover&back_100dpi

Artist Felix Tolpolski was sent to report about both the Democratic and Republican national conventions of 1956, work that was later printed as a book.

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From the inside front cover:

“Felix Topolski is one of the very few artists who can draw at top speed with 12,000 people milling about him. And because he is a Polish-born Londoner who has drawn his way through four continents in war and peace he can draw the American Scene in an election year with political neutrality. Since these were unique qualifications for such an assignment, CBS Television invited him to attend both national conventions where he recorded these free and spontaneous reactions to a uniquely American political institution.”

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Visual journalism had reached its height.

Concluded tomorrow.

* 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.

7 comments

  1. There's a story to the Eric drawings in today's post. A few years ago I was contacted by a guy named Bob who saw my name under a comment in a blog post. He had a copy of the Eric CBS book!

    We went back and forth about it. He wanted to sell it to me but I could only afford so much. In the end he said "I'll send it to you for free. I know it'll have a good home". I was floored!

    When I got the book a note was attached that said: "Sometimes it's nice to do something for a stranger that is not attached to a dollar sign.

    Enjoy the notebook. I've had it for about twelve years; now it's time for someone else to enjoy it."

    Thank you Bob! I love Eric's work and would like to think the book got a great home. If it hadn't been for his kindness I wouldn't have the samples to share with everyone here at Today's Inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, the third drawing with the singing woman is a perfect Toulouse Lautrec; and the seventh, the one with the masks, would fit James Ensor. Almost surreal scenes in the TV studio.

    Nice to compare the different styles of both these drawers; one with rather economic outlines, the other voluptuous.
    They are equally great, imo.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rich-

    Interesting that you mention Lautrec. I've heard Eric compared to him before.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Carl Erickson's singer is sorta Lautrec; guess it's the black gloves and simple shapes. Great sketches, thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ha! Posted before I read the other comments...
    Shows that HTL's poster imagery is fixed in our minds.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Eric passed away in 1958. I wonder when he actually did these drawings?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous10:31 AM

    beautiful

    ReplyDelete

 

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