Monday, April 8, 2024

Some Very Early Jon Whitcomb Illustrations

Jon Whitcomb (1906–1988) was an illustrator best remembered for depictions of glamorous women.  I wrote about him here and here.  Some biogrphiacal information is here.

When writing those earlier posts, my Internet searches turned up nothing of his work prior to the Cadillac advertisements dealt with in the second link above.  I just did another quick search and noticed nothing done earlier that the very late 1930s.  What were his earlier efforts like?

Although I lack examples of Whitcomb illustrations from the first decade or so of his professional career, a reader of this blog, Frank Pauer, kindly provided me with some 1920s illustrations from the Ohio State University humor magazine.


A typical Whitcomb illustration
Later in his career, he experimented with some of the styles trendy in the 1960s.

Himself, earning a few shekels promoting a cigarette brand
Fatima stressed its Turkish tobacco content.

Himself pictured in the Senior class segment of the 1928 Ohio State University yearbook
Delta Tau Delta (the "Delts") was his college fraternity.  Sun Dial was the college humor magazine. Delaware is a small city in Ohio.

March 1928 Sun Dial cover by Whitcomb

Cartoon from the same issue
Note Whitcomb's signature here is similar to the 1920s style of Ralph Barton and Russell Patterson. Compare to his signature in the top image above.  The cartoon style also is very 1920s.

Cartoon from the December 1927 issue
Sigma Nu is a college fraternity. "D.U." refers to another fraternity, Delta Upsilon.  This cartoon shows a touch of glamour that will be the basis for his later career.