Illustrating for Men's Magazines



Sketch Number 1

This was the first sketch I submitted, with the idea that it was to be a two-page spread.



The whack-'em, wham-'em and wow-'em magazine market is at the moment a lucrative field for the young illustrator. The editors of these virile, he-man periodicals are always on the alert for fresh talent. The artist who can render a tight, contrasty, convincing illustration replete with a handsome, muscle-bound hero, lush saronged native girls, and a dash of authentic local color is their man -- and for good hard cash, too.

The ruggedly handsome young man in your neighborhood can become an adventure-bound hero (if you can manage to keep him quiet long enough to take his photograph). Girls are native to every locale, so wrap one up in a gaudy cotton print or clinging black chiffon, give her doe-eyes with an eyebrow pencil, let her hair down, and you're on your way to a successful career in the He-man magazine market. (Any good travel magazine is crammed with backgrounds and local color -- a file of them is indispensable in this market.)

One or two other things are necessary, the first of which is a good camera. For my own purposes, the Polaroid ("picture-in-a-minute") camera, Model 95 or 110, is the least expensive and turns out the most satisfactory end product. One of these cameras with a couple of Number-2 photo flood lamps (with reflectors) can take enough photographs in an hour to turn out any illustration. Because you get a finished, contrasty print in just 60 seconds, you can reshoot half-a-dozen times in as many minutes to get exactly the information you need. Number 44 film gives the best definition -- and is inexpensive: for less than three dollars you will have raw materials for a three hundred dollar painting.

You will soon be able to turn out photographs that can be laid out on a tracing board and transferred directly to your illustration board. A 40-watt frosted light bulb in an empty box covered with ordinary window pane glass will serve the purpose nicely. Make a fine ink tracing with a crowquill pen on tracing paper or thin bond paper, then enlarge the tracing to about one-and-a-half times the paper size of the magazine.

Polaroid photo of model worked up in pen outline for enlarging


These tracings can be enlarged in any of the usual ways -- a pantagraph, lucied up with a prism, projected, or photostatted. I prefer to enlarge them freehand. This is not only the cheapest, but also has the advantage of developing discipline and drawing ability, and allows me to make whatever slight changes I wish. It gives the finished product the stamp of personality.

Polaroid photo of machine gunner is worked up in pen outline for enlarging