Thursday, December 2, 2010

The gang's all here - Hank Porter Christmas art

As many of my readers might know, I have been working on the biography of Disney Merchandise and Publicity artist Hank Porter for several years now.

In the course of writing this book, I have amassed an archive of close to 800 or so images of art created by Porter. The following piece if by far one of the best pieces of art executed by the master draftsman, who Walt Disney once referred to as a "one man art department."

Porter studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, completing a four year course in just two years. While at the Academy he studied under famed illustrators Philip Lyford and Franklin Booth.

Lyford was a commercial artist and magazine illustrator who created imaginative advertising for a diverse range of clients including Smith and Wesson, Mazda Lamps, and Coca-Cola. His art appeared in many leading magazines of the day, and he even created art found on patriotic WW I recruiting posters.

In a letter to his father, Porter referred to Booth as "the famous pen and ink illustrator." Booth created works of art that featured extremely detailed scrolls, decorative borders, and classic hand lettering, using literally thousands of strokes of ink.

I have a copy of a promotional brochure Porter published when he ran his own commercial art studio. The pen and ink art in this pamphlet is stunning, especially when you consider Porter was just in his early 20s when he created the booklet. It's clear to me Porter mastered the art of pen and ink at an early age.

I have to agree with Porter's daughter Maxine, who told me in an interview her father, "was a good pen and ink artist. That came from working on a...newspaper, and then having his own commercial art business. He [was] a crackerjack of pen, and ink, and scratchboard. I think this is why [Walt Disney] singled him out to do some of the illustrations. He did terrific lettering."

It's not known at this time which publication this art was created for. The illustration is circa 1938, and measures approximately 17 by 21 inches. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort it took Porter to create this masterpiece. It's definitely one of my favorites.

Please click on the image to see a larger view...and e

1 comment:

Mark Sonntag said...

Thanks for sharing this piece, it really is gorgeous.