Thursday, August 25, 2011

Society of Illustrators Profile: Coby Whitmore

Born in Ohio in 1913, Coby Whitmore's early interest in art lead him to attend the Dayton Art Institute, though he was later still undecided to pursue an art career. Fortunate to be working at McCall's print department during the Great Depression, his chance encounter with a dapper gentleman who came in to check on his cover's color reproduction changed Whitmore's life forever. Artist McClellan Barclay visit so impressed the youth that fateful day, Coby quit his job, borrowed some funds and moved to Chicago  to be an apprentice to Haddon Sundblom. After three years under Sundblom's tutelage and attending night classes at the Chicago Art Institute, Whitmore got his first break working as a staff artist for the Chicago-Herald Examiner.

The 1940s ushered a move to New York and work for the Charles E. Cooper Studio where the artist excelled drawing lovely women for various publications. Covers and inside pages of America's most popular magazines including, The Ladie's Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and McCall's soon followed. Sexy, beautifully dressed, classy women were his speciality that made Whitmore a true "star", though his male counterparts were always as dashing and sophisticated. If art imitates life, Whitmore's great success provided him the lifestyle he often created on canvas. Traveling the world, racing cars, was now all within his grasp, even as he moved his family to Hilton Head Island in the late 1960s to finally specialize in painting portraits. 

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