H.P. Lovecraft wrote him fan letters and composed a poem about his art. The fine hatching and pebble board were all used to give his images a texture and depth beyond anything seen in the field. Finlay and another illustrator at this time named Lee F. Conrey (see above) both provided lots of imaginative drawings for both magazines and books (BPIB).
Comics were another genre that started hiring illustrators. Born in Humbolt, Minnesota, Austin Briggs studied at the Wicker Art School in Detroit, and then attended the Art Students League in New York City. He settled there and worked for an advertising agency and freelanced for various magazines, like the Dearborn Independent, Collier's, McClures and Pictorial Review. He started his comic strip career as an assistant on Flash Gordon, then took over the Secret Agent X-9 strip, and began anonymously illustrating the Flash Gordon daily in the 1940s and early 1950s. He then left comics to focus on his illustration work and became one of the founders of the Famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut, and a member of the Society of Illustrator's Hall of Fame.
Illustrators traveled and sketched areas of the world that many of the viewers had not seen. During his long career, John Clymer illustrated the history of the American West. First, he and his wife, Doris, would thoroughly research the subject and then travel to the proposed site for a firsthand feeling. As a result, Clymer's works rich in accurate historical detail and capturing the essence of the geography. He was able to recreate an historical event or era and bring the viewer into the physical scene. By the time he joined the Cowboy Artists of America in 1969, he had attained a very successful career as both an illustrator and painter. Through his work for the Saturday Evening Post, he brought images of the West to literally thousands of Americans. From 1942 to 1962 he had over 70 cover illustrations (Ask Art).
Illustrators told stories through their artwork, which the viewers loved to follow.
Tom Lovell told stories such as about a Native American finding a Raggedy Ann doll on a lonely Western road, a settler teaching his wife how to shoot a rifle and Indians warming their hands over the chimney of a snow buried cabin. His attention to detail was incredible, and he rarely completed more than 12 works a year. His peers considered him one of the deans of Western art. For 39, Lovell worked as a freelance illustrator for magazines such as Colliers, McCalls, National Geographic, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post. He was as known for his Western art as his emotional images of Civil War battles, that were telecast as part of a public television documentary and published in the accompanying book (Cowboy Artists of America).
Through the decades, many of the illustrators, including Ron Cobb, continued their political involvement. Between 1966 and 1976, his political cartoons were the voice of America's new anti-establishment generation. These included artwork about the Vietnam War, inner city race riots, gun culture, and the felling of ancient forests. Cobb was born in 1937. www.cdfnd.donavan.org/Gallery.htm" as a teenager, his main interests were science fiction and later, science and art. By the age of 17, Cobb was working for Disney Studios in Burbank, California, as an animation breakdown artist, progressing to become an 'inbetweener' on the animation feature Sleeping Beauty the last Disney film to be produced with hand-inked cels. He then began working for the underground paper LA Freep and expanded to over 90 university papers. He is known for his striking use of black lines and white. In June, 2005, he wrote: "As a middle class, white, sappy secular humanist, I desperately wanted to learn how to convert my bitter disappointment and anger into a clarification of the debate and a contribution to the winning of real social and cultural transformation, no more, no less. I still think this opportunity is as open now, as it ever was, only it's just getting harder to be heard." (Watson)
Some illustrators were "heard" through their film-related work. Hired for first film poster work on "Hello Dolly" while he was still going to art school, in his short life and career, Richard Amsel produced many posters, often exceeding the visuals of the movies they depicted and usually overlooked when those movies were brought out on DVD. In addition to film, Amsel had a strong career as a TV Guide cover artist and did album covers for Bette Midler. His style was a combination of pulpishness with strong outlines and the swirling curves of art noveau. He was very well-known in the 1960s, and is now part of a Smithsonian permanent exhibit.
Illustrators had varying notoriety during their lifetime. Bernie Fuchs has gained a degree of recognition rarely experienced by a living artist. For his accomplishments, the American Sport Art Museum and Archives selected him as its Sport Artist of the Year 1991. Before he turned 30, Fuchs was named "Artist of the Year" by the Artists Guild in New York, and in 1975, he became the youngest artist ever selected to join such luminaries as Norman Rockwell, Frederic Remington and Winslow Homer in the Society of Illustrators' prestigious Hall of Fame Golf has been a familiar subject for Fuchs. His first assignment for Sports Illustrated was of the Masters in Augusta. Fuchs subjects are clearly not limited to sports. He has done works dealing with the New York Stock exchange, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, famous London pubs and the "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, as well as many well-known individuals reaching to President of the U.S.
Throughout the decades, illustrators needed to be eclectic, in order to make enough money to remain in the art field. They used their artistic skills in a number of different ways. Patrick Nagel was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1945, but was brought up in LA. He attended and taught at Pasadena's Art Center School of Design, then Chouinard Art Institute, and in 1969 received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University at Fullerton. First he worked as a freelance artist, accepting commissions from major corporations and magazines. He was most known for his "femme fatale," women who were stand-offish and independent. In the mid-1970s, Nagel began contributing regularly to Playboy, which extended the popularity of "the Nagel Woman." He then created his first poster image for Mirage Editions and his work became the modern counterpart to the "posterists" who had proceeded him such as Lautrec, Mucha, Cassandre, and Holwein. His work synthesized a several artistic traditions, including. old Japanese woodblock print and modern-day manga, Post- Impressionism and Pre-Raphaelite and "art deco." (Ask Art).
Women have not been represented clearly as much as men in the field of illustration. However, presently in Japan women are a major creative force. Of all Japanese illustrators, about 80% are female. These women are responsible for creating the characters, images, and packaging that promotes some of the most influential companies and events in the country. Some of these female illustrators are independent professionals who are sought after for their skills and some have become celebrities, such as Aranzi Aronzo, creator of Morizo and Kiccoro, the mascots of EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan; Sakazaki Chiharu, the creator of East Japan Railway Co.'s Suica Penguin character; Maruyama Momoko, who came up with Qoo; and Suzuki Sachiko, the creative force behind Kinoko-gumi.
Illustrators, as with any artists throughout the centuries, both follow the direction that history takes in terms of art and society as well as lead in directing others and opening up new historical vistas. However, the life of illustrators is not an easy one. Artists have the ability to be creative and fulfill their passion. Yet, it often takes years or even decades, if even then, to be recognized. Many who desire to become illustrators have to support themselves with other jobs or use their savings to pursue their dreams. They must deal with working only part-time or on a temporary basis for many years, not knowing when success will come, or if it will come at all. Thankfully, a large number of men and women continue to follow their artistic ambitions and illustrate the world as they see it. This gives both the present viewers and those who live in the future a better understanding of the world in which these artists and the rest of society lived.
American Art Archives. 16, November 2007. http://www.americanartarchives.com/
Ask Art Blue Book. Oscar Edward Cesare, Artist. 16, November 2007. http://www.askart.com/askart/c/oscar_edward_cesare/oscar_edward_cesare.aspx
BPIP. Jessie Wilcox Smith Biography. 16, November 2007. http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/jwsmith.htm
Comic Art Fans. 16, November 2007. http://www.comicartfans.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1127
Cowboy Artists of America. 16, November 2007. http://www.cowboyartistsofamerica.com/members/deceased/Tom-LovelleSortment. John Singer Sargent, painter and colorist. 16, November 2007. http://arar.essortment.com/johnsingersarg_rner.htm
Frye Art Museum. John Sloan. 16, November 2007. http://www.fryeart.org/pages/sloanmain.htm
Giambarba, Paul. One hundred years of illustration and design. 16, November 2007 http://giam.typepad.com/100_years_of_illustration/