Friday, November 1, 2013

Society of Illustrators Profile: Dorothy Hood

Born in New Holland, Pennsylvania, in 1902, Dorothy Hood early interest in art encouraged her to attend the New York School of Applied Design. Later while working for Macy's department store, she met art director Harry Rodman who took the artist with him when he landed a position with Lord & Taylor. Rodman capitalized on his new advertising  "Lord & Taylor Look" in the 1930s using the talented illustrations of Hood which had there own unique style. Her black-and-white wash drawing technique done to size was ideal for newspaper reproduction and instantly recognizable as one of Lord & Taylor's. Working directly from life, Hood posed her models depecting real life activities women could identify with. Her extra additions of a slight background of a spray of flowers here or a chandelier there added more dimension to her scenes. Helping establish the "look" of the high-quality department store, her successful illustrations would appear in newspapers and magazines for decades providing the public with a sense of what the well-dressed American woman should be wearing. Short deadlines faced by fashion illustrators poised no threat for Hood, since her studio was located close to the store as models, merchandise, and her artwork could easily travel back and forth. While on vacation in the 1950s in Bermuda, a motor bike accident seriously injured her right arm, but taking it in stride, the artist taught herself to draw with her left hand. Only her most close friends were aware of the very difficult transition the artist overcame as she continued to illustrated for Lord & Taylor until her death in 1970.

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