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

Joe Isom Illustrates The Rubayyat of Omar Khayyam

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I found a remarkable little book at a local thrift shop last week. Published by Hallmark Cards Inc. in 1967, it's beautifully illustrated throughout by an artist named Joe Isom.

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(Above; the dust jacket image and below, the hardcover artwork)

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"Chester Joe Isom Jr. grew up in Kansas City and started his freelance career at Hallmark among other great artists/friends of the time. He worked as a freelance illustrator for over 35 years. In November of 2000, our dad passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 58." ~ Matthew Isom (Joe Isom's son)

Thanks to Dave Groff for locating the brief biographical information above, originally posted in a comment on this blog.

6 comments

  1. I like the background washes and his incorporation of pattern. Would love to see the original artwork as I suspect the printing quality does not do his work justice.

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  2. that is so beautiful!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. A few originals exist though we are not able to find them all.
    Joe was my Dad. Incredible artist, wonderful father and irreplaceable friend. He is dearly missed. How timely that this is posted as on May 28th he would be 71.
    He most certainly left a legacy that will remain in and around us always...

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  4. He would be 71, turning 72 today, that is.

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  5. Someone recently gave me a box of old cookbooks and I found this same copy mixed in today. It is beautiful and im glad I found it.

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  6. Just wanted to say that I took an Illustration class with Joe at Syracuse University in (I think it was Fall 1966). He was a very supportive and relatively hands-off teacher, and let me do my pastel version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, heavily pulled from the classic Laughton version (in the movie books)... His comment was that it wasn't enough to just find the photographs if you were going to use them for imagery, you had to make the originals. He went into Rockwell's procedures with the local townsfolk, etc... My style at the time was really Hippie Psychedlic meets Pop Art...so Rockwell, even though I was very aware of his fine craftsmanship..,was old hat, in terms of attitude to me. Actually, so was Joe's... He was finishing up the Hallmark Omar Khayyam at that time) So anyway, I replied to his comments, "Yeah, but I don't know any hunchbacks." What do you expect from a Sophomore in College? Sophomoric humor.
    I am happy to see some of these fine illustrations now.
    Best wishes.
    Dennis Hermanson
    Hillsboroough, NC

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