Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Albert Dorne: Illustration not "artistic"? The fault usually lies with the artist.

Albert Dorne's 1950 article from American Artist on "The Satisfaction of Compromise" continues...

Commercial art and illustration should be as artistic as easel art. There is no reason why a clinch for a magazine should not be as full of painting quality and emotion as any easel painting.

The fault, I'm sorry to say, usually lies with the artist who simply does not have the ability to make a really good picture - or has developed an intellectual snobbery toward what is really an honest and objective art form.

Please don't get me wrong - I have the most profound respect and admiration for those artists whose work in that field does not provide for compromise with their sincere convictions. But it is just as much a challenge to be a fine illustrator as to be a good easel painter.

In fact the requirements of the art of illustration with their due dates, editorial restrictions and reproduction frustrations are infinitely more exacting than fine art.

Much is printed and said about the role that the fine arts is supposed to play in the cultural education of the public - and it most certainly does.

Still, it always surprises me that illustrators so often lose sight of the enormous audience which they enjoy compared to the fine artist. Every time an illustrator does a picture for a magazine or an advertiser, literally millions of people see his effort.

Therefore, it behooves all of us to do our part in this cultural education of the public by raising the quality of our pictures - this in spite of our restrictions, both fancied and real.

* My Albert Dorne Flickr set.

Note: I've included extra large scans of the smaller panel pages today - be sure to click on the images in this post so you can get a really good look at Dorne's wonderful artwork!


  1. This comment posted with Dave Broad's permission:

    Hi Leif
    After viewing your latest TI on Dorne I want to relate an experience from 1947- just back from the army in Europe and enrolled at Pratt Institute I had the chutzpah to call Mr Dorne to request a visit. He was very kind and invited me to his studio. It boggled my mind and though I can't remember the details I shall never forget upon entering the studio in the foyer were dozens of beautifully framed works of all the famous artists of the times. The actual studio was huge and luxurious with a large window, more framed pictures. a pool table and a large tabouret and drawing board. He was extremely gracious and kind when I showed him my portfolio and generous in his criticism and advice.

    At one point a gorgeous blonde lady came in and he introduced her to me. (Can't remember if she was his wife, friend or model) All I could think was that this was the life! He was a wonderful person.

    All the best in the New Year - Dave

  2. I cannot even wrap my head around how someone could draw like this!

  3. "the requirements of the art of illustration with their due dates, editorial restrictions and reproduction frustrations are infinitely more exacting than fine art."

    "Infinitely" might be a bit strong of a word here, but it is a real point he's making. There's a lot of skill involved in making a picture mass-reproducible in a way that maintains the integrity of that picture.

    I've really enjoyed this series on Dorne... thanks for sharing it with us!