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Norman Rockwell’s rough preliminary sketches were the first
depictions of his ideas. He began each modeling session by showing
his thumbnails to his models and describing the concept for his new
illustration. Then, he would strike the poses himself and enthusias-
tically act out each part to demonstrate what he wanted, getting his
performers into the spirit. The camera was also an integral part of
his process, as it captured the nuances of expression and the di-
cult-to-maintain positions that he coaxed from his models.
SKETCHING FOR GREATER CLARITY
In New Television Antenna, Rockwell measures the promise of new
technology against the historical past, and invites our consideration
of whether television may become the “religion” of the future, as
suggested by the church steeple. The artist’s conceptual drawings
increase in detail as his idea for this 1949 Saturday Evening Post
cover crystallizes.
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(All images on this spread)
Norman Rockwell
Sketches, photographic studies,
and final illustration for
New Television Antenna, 1949
Cover for
The Saturday Evening Post,
November 5, 1949
Final, oil on canvas
In New Television Antenna, Rockwell measures the promise of new
technology against the historical past, and invites our consideration
of whether television may become the “religion” of the future, as
suggested by the church steeple. The artist’s conceptual drawings
increase in detail as his idea for this 1949 Saturday Evening Post
cover crystallizes.
51
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Notice Fred Ludekens’s rough sketch for Renegade Canyon on
this page of studies. Although the background has a more vertical
orientation, the composition is closely aligned with his final illustration.
In his sketch of a cowboy on horseback holding a woman in distress,
Ludekens made sure that “the man’s arm comes forward and clearly
goes under the woman’s arm,” and that a rhythmic, flowing line
enveloped both figures. Informal thumbnail drawings allow the
artist to consider the possibilities of a composition’s vantage
point, narrative, and perspective.
According to Robert Fawcett, drawing the same thing over and over
again enhances an artist’s knowledge of form and sharpens focus on
detail. This allows the artist to forget “technique” and concentrate
on structure. The three interpretations of an identical man, below,
seen from the rear holding a shovel, examine the figure’s stance and
silhouette, and explore the eects of light and shadow on form. First,
Fawcett created a simple contour drawing and filled it with flat tones.
His second drawing employs line and stark shadows to delineate
form, and his final work relies upon line, shadow, and varied tone to
create a more complete picture.
The quick portrait studies at right, which Fawcett frequently made,
rely on light and shadow to create volume, and search out the small
details that reveal character and emotion.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF FORM
Fred Ludekens
Studies and final illustration for Renegade Canyon by Peter Dawson
The Saturday Evening Post, 1949
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