The brilliant illustrator Bernie Fuchs is famous for his sleek, ultra-cool pictures that transformed the face of illustration in the 1950s - 1970s. The following details from an original illustration demonstrate one of his traits that I admire the most-- his ability to combine bold, innovative designs with rock solid traditional drawing skills.
The following detail is of Fuchs' close friend Austin Briggs, reflected in the window of an old car.
Nobody is born with this kind of facility, not even the great Bernie Fuchs. The proof is in Fuchs' childhood drawings which were carefully kept by his high school sweetheart-- now his wife.
Fuchs was seven years old when the movie The Wizard of Oz came out. It obviously made a big impression on him.
I like these childhood drawings, but at some point Fuchs went from drawing like lots of other kids to becoming the superstar illustrator of his generation. As Walt Reed wrote, "his pictures are probably more admired-- and more imitated-- than those of any other current illustrator." Fuchs is very modest about his accomplishments, but he is not afraid to talk about the importance of commitment in a young artist:
I was working in my grandfather's basement at night. I had set up a table there to do my art assignments. It was hard for me. I'll never forget throwing the paint,the brushes, the drawing board and everything across the basement floor and against the wall and crying-- literally. Finally I pulled myself back together, picked up the stuff and started over again.
And thus, a star was born.