Friday, October 05, 2012


These unpublished sketches are by the illustrator E.F. Ward (1892-1990).

In an era before photography became convenient, illustrators filled sketchbooks with meticulous reference sketches of props and period costumes.  Like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter, they kept records of little details and touches that might be useful for some future assignment. 

 Today, an illustrator who wanted to draw someone in an historical outfit would not have to go through this.  They could easily pluck a dozen reference photos from the internet.

Lest you think that Ward's detailed sketches are anachronistic, he also did a series of faster, smaller figure studies and gesture drawings.  Done for a different purpose,  they were drawn in a much simpler style:

In good, workmanlike fashion, Ward only devoted as much time to a sketch as its purpose warranted.

Ward's sketches reveal a hard working, talented artist.  We don't remember him much today because he had the great misfortune to be working at the same time as Norman Rockwell, J.C. Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth. 


Anonymous said...

What circumstances put some people over the top then, and leaves others, seemingly equally talented, obscure. Who knows. Bottle it.

Donald Pittenger said...

David, this is off-topic, but in a comment you posted a few weeks ago you wondered about a book I was writing. I'll post about it soon on my blog, but it's an e-book that can be found here

Unknown said...

Real Art!

Anonymous said...

You know it's funny...those quick figure studies remind me very much of Burne Hogarth (or more correctly, the reverse).

ken meyer jr

David Apatoff said...

dougsamu-- I am working on the patent as we speak.

Donald Pittenger-- Thanks for the update. I will definitely be getting a copy.

Angelo Trofa-- Yes, like a breath of fresh air, isn't it?

Ken Meyer Jr.-- I agree, there is definitely a resemblance (although I am more of a fan of Ward than of Hogarth).

deborahannek said...

i love your blog