Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sandy Kossin on his Bay of Pigs series: "Life magazine has resources... no one else can match."

Part 2 of Herbert Rogoff's 1969 interview with Sanford Kossin from American Artist magazine...

HR: In 1963, I believe, you did the illustrations for the Bay of Pigs story in Life magazine. How did you go about doing that job? What research was involved?


SK: Happily, that job was for Life magazine, and Life has resources that probably no one else can match. They have a picture file second to none. I worked with a Cuban who was an explosives expert and had been part of the invasion. But prior to that, I met many times with the editors and art directors to iron out the mechanical problems: what to show and how many drawings to show it.


SK: So when we finally decided on the nineteen spreads, we knew pretty well what each picture would depict. After that, it was a matter of making sketches that were appropriate for the page. My compositions were based on the pictures that preceded them. It was one step at a time. The opening spread dictated the next step, and so on.


SK: Finally, I had to pose models in the attitudes that were necessary for each picture.


SK: Research for the technical elements, the guns, the tanks, the airplanes...


... and even the terrain on which the battle was fought...


... was provided by the magazine. It then became a matter of creating the types,


the people in their roles,


... and trying to recreate the atmosphere of the battle.


* Continued tomorrow

* Thanks to Tom Watson for providing many of today's scans.


  1. Great series with Kossin. Waiting for the next.

    I'm enjoying your blog greatly. Beautiful references, amazing artists, transcriptions, keep it up!

  2. Thanks C. ! I will. :^)