Monday, July 22, 2013

John McCormick does Millers Beer Ads...

 

Scratchboard art is a thing of the past...Not anymore ...it's coming back strong...In 1954 when I was apprenticing at a large art and photography studio (Kling Studios) in the city where I grew up, Chicago ... I met an illustrator by the name of John McCormick...He had some Scotch blood in him and he grew up  in Australia...He had a gift that made him famous...He knew the art of scratchboard...and he knew it well...
There were other famous artists working there...Ralph Ballantine ...H. Charles McBarron Jr...to name a few....My job was as a gopher...(go for this...go for that)...I also matted and framed art work ...Back then the studio provided a still photographer for the artists so he could photograph various models in the poses which the artists has laid out before they finished their final illustrations...The apprentices (there were three of us) were ready models to be used by the artists ..Once I posed as a Roman centurion fast asleep while guarding Christ's tomb...the artist was illustrating a bible...I also posed as a WW I soldier on a scouting trip down in Panama...The in-house photographer was quite  character...He would always ask us if we knew any young girls who were aspiring to  become fashion  models to send them to him so he could work up a portfolio for them...This was how he would make extra money...

But let's get back to John McCormick...He would allow the apprentices to come into his small studio to watch him as he worked...I had never seen anything like this before and so I would spend as much time as he would allow to watch him bring his art to life...The ads you see here are for Miller High Life Beer...They respected John's work so much they even gave him a byline..Look at these ads closely and you will see why...



Check out the leather of his shoe...and the softness of his cap...


Check out all the textures of the various elements in the picture...

John had a fine sense of humor and would keep a bottle of whiskey in the bottom drawer of his short file cabinet... Back then it was common for the owner  of the studio to lead potential clients around to see the various artists while they were working.in their small studios ..Once ever so often ...when John heard them come to his open door which was to his back...he would pause as if he didn't hear them and then reach down to get a swig from that bottle...I think it might have disturbed Mr. Kling at first, but then I think once he knew John was teasing them and he would lead them to John's studio on purpose...

 I spent two summers working at that studio and I was fortunate to know this fine man and great artist...

3 comments:

Tommy said...

While reading this I could only think "gee sailor, been around much?".

Ron, you certainly have met some very interesting people. It's a treat to read about them. Thanks.

Trahern Cook said...

Hey Ron,
Thanks for posting these wonderful illustrations.
Love your Blog.

Uncle Ron said...

And I love yours also...You are a gifted artist...There's a lot children's books out there and if you can create a new one (s) and they work...you're good!