Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sandy Kossin: "... I found out some time ago that I'm not infallible."

Concluding Herbert Rogoff's 1969 interview from American Artist magazine...

HR: Commercial artists have to develop tricks for the purpose of saving time, and also for meeting the problems of reproduction. What are some of yours?

SK: Well, my biggest problem had always been trying to save my drawing or painting after I found I didn't like the way it was going. In washing it out, I lost not only today's painting, but yesterday's and last week's as well.

bantam s2600

SK: I've overcome this by using a crystal clear spray to isolate my drawing. I start my picture by projecting my sketch onto my illustration board and then using pen and ink to draw it in. After my drawing is finished I spray it.

bantam f2339

SK: I'm not restricted to India ink, mind you, I can also use water-based materials such as the felt tipped watercolors. In this way I can do drawings in colour without any real problem.

bantam a1690

SK: Once having sprayed the surface, the next problem is trying to paint over that glazed surface. To start this I use a polymer matte medium, diluted with half water, which I brush over the area.

This is a very thin coat because I don't want to build it up to the extent that I find it beginning to peel away. Once the matte medium is on, I have a surface on which to paint in gouache.


SK: Then if I'm not satisfied - if the gouache painting comes out wrong - my escape hatch is a sponge and water to wash it off the isolated drawing. This is why I don't use the polymere colors - I'd never be able to wash them off. Although my painting is no longer in existence, my drawing, isolated under coats of plastic, is completely intact - I haven't lost it at all.

Sandy Kossin

SK: Once I'm satisfied with my painting, I spray over this stage. Again, I've got to go through the process of using the matte medium, but it permits me to come back to this second stage if I'm in trouble.


SK: Not only is this a safety measure for me, but I can see the doors open as far as technique is concerned.

berkley X1640

SK: It's very important for me to have complete control...


... because I found out some time ago that I'm not infallible.


* Thanks to Flickr members Boy de Haas and Ondiraiduveau, who both provided some of today's scans.


  1. terrific series. so direct in the drawing stage, powerful, artful, inventive, with great authority. then the color goes on, even better. thanks, Leif.

  2. Thanks Chuck - glad you enjoyed it :^)

  3. Anonymous2:43 PM

    Terrific series is right. Thanks to you, and thanks to Herb Rogoff. When Alter-Ego ran a piece on him, I was surprised to learn about his career in comics; as an amateur painter, I was probably one of the few A-E readers who knew him as the husband of author-painter Helen Van Wyk. I'm happy to now learn, years after the fact, of his contributions to the history of illustration. --Bob Cosgrove

  4. He did a number of the Mr. Moto covers -- you can find them on Bookscans -- Bantam 1600 to 1800. Very cool style -- playful, colorful, clever. I'm sure the covers are better than the books . . .

    Great stuff.


  5. I must say thank you so much for publishing this kind of interesting post.Thanks for all the tips mentioned in this article! Keep up with the same work

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