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True Artistic Tales
How I Spent My Art Supply Summer

posted: May 26, 2012
Simone Weissman strikes a scholastic Cornell summer pose. Photo @ Simone Weissman.
Back in the '70s when Museum enthusiast Simone Weissman enrolled in Cornell's summer architecture program for HS students, they immediately hit her up with this list of supplies required for the program. It's an excellent detailed example of some of the typical stuff we all used back then. Simone confesses that she still has most of them in hiding, but examples of all of them can be found here in the Museum collection.
 
One 36" wood t-square; one 12" 45/90 triangle; one 30/60 triangle; one student architecture scale;  two 2-mm lead holders; one Alvin rotary lead pointer; one 3/pak 2-mm 2H lead;  one 3/pak 2-mm F lead; one 3/pak 2-mm 2B lead; one ruler SS 24"; one white vinyl eraser 2/ct; one drafting brush; one Sobo glue 8 oz.; one Masterbow compass; one 18" x 24" black/green cutting mat; one sketch trace roll 12" x 50 yards yellow; drafting tape; five sheets of 1-ply chipboard 32" x 40"; one stainless steel square 3" x 4"; one 2/pak General's 2B draughting pencil; one erasing shield; one Fantasia 6-pencil sketch set; one Dahle 2-hole pencil sharpener; one HD cutter with grip L-2; one 6/pk Olfa blades LB6B;  one X-Acto #1 knife with safety cap; one 15/pk X-Acto #11 blades.
Art Supplies CAN Be Funny!

posted: May 2, 2012
Being a long-time member of Elwood Smith's Punsters Society, I've heard more than once that "a pun is the lowest form of humor, but a poem is verse." But back in the Paleolithographic Era of Illustration, I found a way to lower the humor bar even more when editor Jill Bossert and publisher Jerry McConnell experienced temporary insanity long enough to invite me to conceive and design the book for the Society of Illustrators second Humor Show, as well as serve on the jury. What's that? When exactly was the show? 1988, okay, mister? Now you know... so don't ask me again!
 
Anyway, I asked best pal Jim Wilson to design some Johnson Smith-style art supplies for the front of the book, and this is what he came up with. I still hand out a trick push pin now and then to a "rookie". What a riot! A more inclusive view of the spread is shown below, featuring a map of illustration stars' homes as well as a couple of illustrator bubble gum cards. By the way, I did the best I could with patching together flatbed scans of such a large book, so hope it's satisfactory.
My Brush with Art Supply Greatness

posted: November 25, 2011
Opening detail from the 1979 Letratone Wallchart Catalog. A Kate Jackson salon cut and Levelor blinds... now THAT'S '70s!
The cover for the wallchart/catalog, which AD Rob Silio designed using elements from the poster art.
In 1979, I was still unpacking in my Manhattan digs, when Letraset Ltd. AD Rob Silio called me from their new offices in Paramus. By '79, the word "Letraset" was already being used to refer to just about any dry transfer lettering, regardless of actual brand name. In just twenty years, the company had achieved the same rare status as companies such as Xerox and Kleenex had before it.
I was invited to illustrate a catalog showcasing page after page of swatches of their new collection of 487 Letratone rubdown texture sheets. They were hoping for something that would be useful and fun and and that we'd all hang on the wall rather than file away. So, the centerpiece was to be a gatefold poster of anything I'd want to do.
I was just getting my career sea legs, and it only paid around a thousand bucks, I think. Not much, but... they threw in one sheet of every one of the 487 textures for me to keep, all nice and organized in those cool Letraset file boxes. My marching orders were something like: "Just be sure to use as many of them in the poster as you can." I used the stuff for decades afterwards! -- Lou Brooks
A Lou Brooks "how-to" which accompanied part of the catalog. It's funny to me that I was nowhere near the art at this point. Somebody posed with a burnisher and a swatch of Letratone over my already-finished art. Oh yeah... and I'm left-handed.
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