Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Exploratory-Line Illustrators

This is an expansion of a topic I wrote about last year in this post about David Stone Martin. Martin is best known for a kind of scratchy, exploratory pen-stroke illustration style that was popular in the 1950s and for a while thereafter. Read the post linked above for my take on him.

But Martin wasn't the only one employing exploratory lines. Nor can it be said that he invented the style.

Take a look at some examples while I continue this narrative.


By David Stone Martin
To set the stage, here is a drawing by Martin. He illustrated many covers for jazz albums, but I'm not sure whether or not this drawing was one that became part of a cover.

Ben Shahn - Scotts Run, West Virginia, 1937

Ben Shahn - illustration, 1957
Ben Shahn worked as a painter and illustrator during his career. The 1937 work is fairly typical of what he was doing at that time, combining paint with thinly drawn linework. It is likely that Martin was aware of Shahn's style while his own was evolving. The 1957 piece shows that Shahn was still using that style of line. And why not? It was trendy in 1957.

By Robert Weaver
Robert Weaver also made use of a Shahn-inspired technique during the 1950s and later. Like Shahn, he didn't mind putting a political twist in his choice of subject matter.

By Tracy Sugarman
I am not familiar with Tracy Sugarman, only having come across examples of his work while researching this post. Again, the style is similar.

Harvey Schmidt - book cover

By Harvey Schmidt (probably)
Harvey Schmidt is best known as the composer of the off-Broadway show "The Fantasticks" that ran for decades. However, Schmidt began his career as a commercial artist using a style similar to those of the men mentioned above. Unfortunately, I could find almost nothing of his on the Web other than what you see above. That might be because he mostly or entirely dropped commercial art once The Fantasticks became a big hit.

1 comment:

Balfegor said...

Reminds me a little of Egon Schiele