They Illustrated What Now?

Artists, bless them, need side jobs. And even if at the peak of a career, it’s nice to branch out and dabble in something, well, different.

1. Salvador Dali: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Illustrated an edition of Alice in Wonderland, published by Maecenas Press-Random House in 1969. He created 12 heliogravures, one for each chapter. It’s fascinating to view these works, knowing full-well what inspires him.

2. Andy Warhol: Children’s Stories

Warhol was making a living in the 1950s as a freelance artist for Doubleday, illustrating children’s books and business literature. He illustrated six stories for Best In Children’s Books series, including a story called, “Card Games Are Fun” from Best of Children’s Books #27 (1959) and “The Little Red Hen” from Best of Children’s Books #15.

3. Dr. Seuss: War Propagranda

During WWII, Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka. Dr. Seuss) joined the New York daily newspaper PM as a political cartoonist creating wartime propaganda. From 1941 to 1943, Seuss was the chief editorial cartoonist for PM, and he drew over 400 editorial cartoons for the journal.

4. Dr. Seuss: An Adult Book

It’s true! Dr. Seuss left his Vanguard publisher to join Random House in 1939. He had one condition for the switch: they let him write an adult book. Hence, The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family, the tale of nudist sisters. After their father’s demise, the sisters vow never to marry until each has “brought to the light of the world some new and worthy Horse Truth, of benefit to man.”

5. Frank Lloyd Wright: Graphic Design

Let’s not limit Wright’s genius to architecture. He designed murals for Midway Gardens, hand-drawn typographical studies, and jacket designs for his own publications. He even designed covers for Liberty, but most were considered too radical to publish.

6.  René Magritte: Album Covers

Before his career as an artist took off, Magritte designed about 40 sheet music covers in the 1920s. A man’s gotta pay the rent.

7. Marc Chagall: The Bible

Famous publisher Ambroise Vollard commissioned Marc Chagall to illustrate the Hebrew Bible in 1923. Matisse engraved 105 etchings for the project. However, the death of Vollard in 1939 delayed the book’s publication until 1956.

8.Henri Matisse: James Joyce’s Ulysses

American publisher George Macey commissioned Henri Matisse to produce illustrations for a special edition of Ulysses. Matisse was to create as many etchings as his $5,000 budget could afford.

9. Edouard Manet: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

Edouard Manet created illustrations for a special edition (and French translation) of Edgar Allan Poeʼs “The Raven”in 1874 and 1875. According to the New York Public Library:

“[It was conceived] as an elegantly produced book, printed on a choice of two papers (Holland and china), complete with bookplate (ex libris), illustrated cover, and slipcover on parchment. With bold and spontaneous brushstrokes, Manet imaginatively interpreted specific passages in the text. Whether it was the sketchiness of Manetʼs illustrations, or [the translator’s] then still modest reputation, the publication was not a commercial success.”

10. Shel Silverstein: Reporting on Fire Island’s burgeoning gay scene for Playboy Magazine

Yep. Before entering the world of children’s books, Silverstein made a living working for Playboy, contributing articles and cartoons to the magazine.  In 1965, his assignment was to visit a resort on Fire Island (New York) and report on the rise of the gay scene there. Here’s a quote/look at the illustrated intro:

“In the last few years homosexuality as a social phenomenon has emerged from the shadows, to the extent that today there are clearly recognized gay enclaves in most big cities…. Here, sans stares, homosexuals of every stripe gayly enjoy the amenities of a thriving vacation community. And here, through this summer fairyland, strolled our straight John, bewhiskered, bare-pated, and bewildered, recording for posterity his walk on the Wilde Side.”

Thanks, BrainPickings, for the info/inspiration!


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