Monday, November 26, 2018

Lovell's Leatherneck Illustrations

When he was a sergeant in Marines, Tom Lovell was stationed in the barracks in Washington, where he "fought the war at his easel" for the official publication Leatherneck

The technique for these grisaille illustrations was transparent watercolor wash rather than his usual oil paint (which he used for covers). In the picture above, there are a few small touches of gouache, such as in the initials at upper left and the wisps of smoke. 

Due to the low pay and need to produce a lot of pictures, Lovell often had to work without models, and had "to learn to draw from the mirror or do without. It was an ideal way to learn composition."

Lovell said that this technique "reproduced well on the poor stock and depended little on a middle tone; the picture story had to be told with the greatest economy of means and at a small scale. It was a question of boiling down and closing in on the subject."

"You had to learn to make your pictures with the greatest economy of means, to tell your story simply." That served him well later in his professional career as an illustrator for the "slick" popular magazines, for which he used oil paints in full color.  
Quotes: from North Light and Persimmon Hill magazines.
Previous Posts on Tom Lovell
Thanks, Jim Pinkoski

1 comment:

Steve said...

Strong compositions and value structures.

And, of course, the middle image reflects the cultural norms of the day; depicting a “Jap” as barely human — the untucked strip of loincloth evoking a monkey’s tail — while a comely, scantily clad white woman awaits. I remember seeing many variations on this theme in Argosy magazine at the barber shop in the 1950s.