Friday, January 06, 2012

Susan Perl: "The drawings are just there in my head."

When she was young, Susan Perl rejected the formalized study of art at the academy in Vienna...


... but that doesn't mean she ignored the fundamental tenets of picture making. Perl simply needed to "draw her own conclusions."


She had a knack for observing and remembering everything she saw.


When she was out and about, she took careful mental notes of people, places and things.


When she returned to her West Side apartment and her drawing board, she would begin drawing from memory.


Explaining her process to an interviewer in 1968, Perl said, "the drawings are simply there in my head."


Perl did no rough sketches... she felt they destroyed the spontaneity of her art. Starting each picture directly with crowquill pen and india ink on a blank sheet of one-ply board, the prolific Perl created an endless stream of artwork for books, magazines and advertisements throughout her career.


Perl had an always been intrigued by psychology and philosophy. After leaving Vogue in 1952, she took a two year 'sabbatical' at the Jung Institute in Switzerland to pursue the study of those interests. While there, she continued to do commissions for Swiss publishers and advertisers - and even produced costume designs for a ballet company.


Upon her return to New York in 1954 Perl connected with an artist's rep, Lester Rossin Associates, and her career began to take off.


One of her pieces was included in the 1956 NY Art Director's Annual - and many awards and citations followed.


But she was dismissive of these many accolades. The official recognition of her accomplishments by her peers did not mean nearly as much to Susan Perl as did the many letters she regularly received from fans of her books - especially when those letters came from children.

Tomorrow: Susan Perl's books - and kids.


  1. Oh! This was the woman who drew all those beautiful Health-tex children's clothing ads years back, wasn't she? I've always appreciated her talent.

  2. Yes indeed, joecab. We'll be looking at a couple of those tomorrow :^)

  3. Thanks! I still own one of the bunny from her book Park Peepl! I still searching for its spare on the Internet but I know the chances are low. Here the link

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