Monday, May 14, 2012

Illustration Features Coby

The illustration above (click to enlarge) is by Coby Whitmore (1913-88) whose career flourished in the years before television began killing off the big general-interest magazines.

Whitmore could be classed as one of the "big head" school of illustration, where backgrounds disappeared and the focus was on a gorgeous women who sometimes had a handsome man in the scene as a supporting cast member. And there might be a few stage setting details such as an end table, doorway or chair sketched in. That "big head" phrase was derision from a slightly earlier generation of illustrators who included detailed backgrounds in their work, the implication being that the new breed was lazy.

Me? I think Whitmore's work is terrific.

And if you are a Whitmore fan or are curious about my enthusiasm, grab a copy of issue number 37 of Illustration Magazine. It contains a long, well-illustrated article on Whitmore that features many quotations from the artist. Such quotes are rare in Illustration because in many cases their subjects died many years earlier and left little trace other than fading pictures in crumbling magazines.

Be warned that Illustration can be hard to find on news stands (try Barnes & Noble bookstores first) and the publisher often sells off his on-line order supply fairly fast. I got to the point where I subscribed to the magazine to ensure that I could get a copy.


Siolo Thompson said...

Be still my heart! Coby Whitmore, swoon, I love his balance of sketchiness and definition. He consturcts a scene with such ease. Wonderful. These are always my favorite posts :)

Donald Pittenger said...

Siolo -- Yep, he was good, and so were others of that era. When I was in art school, seeing their stuff told me in no uncertain terms that I could never compete. Since it was way too late to change majors, I completed my coursework and went on to other things once I got out of the army.