Pruett Carter (1891-1955) was an American illustrator who lived in Los Angeles and freelanced for the women's magazines in New York. In the days before email, faxes and FedEx, he often had to ship sketches back and forth to the art directors by special air couriers.
Here's a finished illustration, a double page magazine illustration for a story called "Summer Land."
But Carter himself planned this composition. After reading the manuscript he did several thumbnail roughs. This one includes a box for the copy and the title block, and a strong triangular shape awareness for the girl.
In his early days, Carter drew and painted from live models, but he later shot photo reference. This is the pencil underlay for the color sketch, made with the benefit of models. The original is 17 x 22 inches.
Ernest Watson writes that the acetate comp method "allows the greatest possible flexibility. If dissatisfied with any part, the painting can be wiped off and a new trial made. Usually, however, another sheet of acetate is laid down right on top of the first painting. This adheres to the wet painting and affords a fresh surface upon which the new trial for that particular area is to be made. The new transparent sheet may cover the entire picture or, as is usual, it may be a small piece designed only to cover the area to be corrected. There might be as many as fifteen or sixteen such overlays on a completed painting, a patch here, a fragment there....The advantage of this method of painting on overlays is obvious. The original drawing is not lost in the painting process; it is always under the acetate to be used as a guide."
|Illustration by Pruett Carter|
However, there is no Wikipedia page for Pruett Carter. Would someone like to create one? He had an interesting career, but he had a sad end. The material in this post is adapted from American Artist, March, 1950. These old American Artist magazines aren't online or digitized anywhere to my knowledge, so if you like I'll keep bringing you nuggets like this.