Looking at Illustration: Arthur Getz

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I’ve been looking through the illustrations of Arthur Getz, one of my favorite New Yorker cover artists. Getz painted 213 covers for the iconic magazine between 1938 and 1988. In addition to illustration work, he painted cityscapes and landscapes – ‘fine art’ sold through galleries – although he sometimes signed them with his middle name, Kimmig, because at the time a fine artist was not supposed to cross the line into commercial art.

A particular favorite of mine is his cover from 1957:

Art by Arthur Getz. Prints available through https://condenaststore.com/art/arthur+getz

The moment it captures is utterly American, isn’t it? To the left, the bustling, spangly city with silhouetted crowds in frenetic motion, and in the foreground the relaxed parking attendant, contentedly oblivious to the high life a few blocks behind.

The skill and techniques of this artist make the painting especially appealing to me. The blazing city lights in the distance are warm, but it’s cold moonlight fluorescing down on the garage attendant – that’s the opposite of what you’re taught in painting class! Warm colors are supposed to come forward and cools recede – but Mr. Getz makes this inversion work beautifully. The covers of the magazine our fellow’s reading are slightly brightened with the reflected light bouncing off the pavement – reflected light is a detail that a  master’s eye notes, and novices often overlook. The splashes of neon red far off in the city are balanced by that rusty red wall to our protagonist’s left; there’s even the faintest red haze in the air above the cars in the garage, a delicate touch to offset all that chill October air.

And our attendant’s pose, balancing on the chair – another master stroke.  Let me explain: when you draw a standing figure and you want it to look steady, not tipping over, you draw it so the supersternal notch – that’s the central notch between your left & right collarbone – is directly over the inner ankle of the leg bearing the weight of the body – this makes the figure looks solid.  Well, Mr. Getz has this gent perfectly balanced: if you imagine where his supersternal notch is, and draw a line straight down, it’s directly over the spot where the chair leg bearing the man’s weight touches the pavement. This acrobatic bystander is not going to tip over!

The contrasts in tone all around our nonchalant hero seal the deal for me. After your eyes take in the whole scene, where does your attention go? To the crisp lightning-white page edges of that magazine and that tiny cusp of face and finger illuminated by the October moon. That’s intentional – they are painted with a razor edge and surrounded by blacks and neutral grays to draw your gaze like a pinpoint. The same goes for the swatch of city on the left, the contrast is so high between the yellows and blacks that you can’t not look at them – but even though those marks are skillful, they are vague, to give an impression of buildings and lights. The painting strokes in and around our parked friend’s figure, instead, are descriptive, deliberate and masterful.

There’s sometimes a bit of friction between illustrators and fine artists, over whether illustrations deserve the same esteem that framed paintings are given.  If you ask me, this Garage Nocturne by Arthur Getz could hang in a museum next to Hopper’s Nighthawks any day.

My Cartoon Published

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UPDATE: My cartoons for the New Yorker can be seen here: https://condenaststore.com/art/pat+achilles

I am thrilled to announce that a cartoon I drew and submitted to the prestigious New Yorker magazine back in March has been published in this week’s issue, October 1, 2018.

https://www.newyorker.com/cartoon/a21844

“Sir, we’re getting ready to land–I’m going to need you to slide that under your seat.”

I started reading and chuckling at New Yorker cartoons in high school when my dad introduced its unparalleled humor to me. He and I shared many hours discussing our favorite gags and cartoonists, and, while Dad did land a great cartoon one time in The Saturday Evening Post, he never made it into Eustace Tilley’s grand library. He hoped someday I would. Dad passed away 8 years ago but I have the uncanny feeling he’s been pulling some strings.

Holiday Cards and Gifts from my Shop

I have some of my cartoon holiday cards and some printed tees for girls available on my Etsy shop – and remember, if you are near the central Bucks County, PA, area and want to avoid the shipping charges Etsy places on packages, email me in case we can arrange for you to pick up your items and avoid the shipping fee!

This holiday I once again have my Rockefeller tree card for sale, done in my classic New Yorker-style ink wash drawing . . .

Click on the photo to go to this card on my Etsy shop!

I’m also re-printing an Elf Card from some time ago, because it seems to fit with 2020 . . .

Click on the photo to go to this card on my Etsy shop!

And I’ve added one more animal musician to my notecard line – a bear playing a French Horn – such beautiful instruments –

Click on the photo to go to this card in my Etsy shop!

I have a number of other cards and notecards in my shop for animal lovers and music lovers and Scout families – please browse through them as you think about holiday gifts for friends, teachers, and business colleagues!

Click the photo to go to my Etsy shop!

Years ago I created cute drawings of angels, dressed in various national costumes, and printed them on long sleeved tee shirts for my girls.

I now have these girls’ tees on my Etsy shop, and they make a lovely Christmas gift for girls interested in their family heritage. I have limited numbers of sizes, with quantities described in detail on the Etsy listing. While the tees are printed in one color, the purchaser may want to use fabric markers to color in the art for a beautiful full-color look – or allow the girls to color them in themselves!

The sample shirts below have been colored with fabric markers, which are not included in the purchase. I have a limited number of colored-in shirts like these, please email me for details.

Thanks for shopping from a small business this holiday season!

My Cartoon in this Week’s New Yorker

It’s always a kick when I see my cartoon in the magazine my Dad & I loved paging through together. This one will be on page 69 of this week’s issue, Nov. 23, 2020.

To see my other cartoons published either in the New Yorker or for their online daily cartoon, go to https://condenaststore.com/art/pat+achilles .

Artists’ Studio Tour Video

I am a member of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce and once a year the Chamber organizes a studio tour to promote the artists in our area; it’s a great way to get your artwork seen. My studio is not large so I have not participated in the past, but this year they opted to do a virtual tour so the size of the room didn’t matter. I was invited along with a few other illustrators, and agreed to be on the tour.

You can see me and the seven other artists and craftspeople by going HERE to the Chamber’s Youtube video. The segments are brief, 3 minutes at most, and I think they show a wonderful variety of creative people in Bucks County. If you’re short on time and JUST want to see me, I’ll post my video below – it was edited & produced, by the way, by my talented son Tom Achilles!

Just a reminder, if you’d like to see more illustration art from the Philadelphia area, you can see the virtual Phillustration 12 exhibit of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, including a couple pieces by me, right here online. It’s available until December 6, so take a look HERE when you can.

Philadelphia Sketch Club’s Phillustration 12

The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s annual juried exhibit, featuring professional and student illustrators in our area, is now open – virtually, this year – and I’m very pleased to have two of my pieces included.

The entire Phillustration exhibit can be viewed, from the comfort of your computer or phone, at https://sketchclub.org/phillustration-12/#gallery through December 6th. Several of my friends from the Bucks County Illustrators Society have also had illustrations accepted, so be sure to see the excellent work of Joe DeVito, Glenn Zimmer, Gil Cohen, Piya and Christina Wannachaiwong, Mark Schaeffer and Deb Hoeffner.

One of my entries is the illustration I painted for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of The Pirates of Penzance –

and another is a black/white ink wash cartoon of the iconic NYC Rockefeller Christmas tree that I’ve made into a greeting card –

The little child in the drawing is pointing and saying, “They missed a spot.” This card is available on my Etsy shop HERE.

Please enjoy the whole show at the Sketch Club HERE to see the many styles of interesting artwork that illustrators in our area are creating.

Logo for 2020 Christmas in Doylestown

The Christmas in Doylestown House Tour, run by the hard-working volunteers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since 1992, needed to be re-imagined this year to accommodate social distancing. The highly-anticipated Tour is a holiday tradition for many in the Central Bucks area, allowing delighted attendees of years past to wander through four beautifully-decorated and designed homes in the center of a town filled with historic buildings. Throughout the years the House Tour has raised more than $193,700 for the Bucks County Housing Group to support the Doylestown Homeless Shelter.

My original logo for Christmas in Doylestown, which took place mostly during daylight hours, was this:

The team in charge this year has come up with a number of alternate activities to keep patrons entertained and healthy at the same time, and they hope to still raise some funds for the Homeless Shelter. To avoid crowds, the tour will be primarily in the evening, where anyone can drive or walk down the designated streets to see beautifully lit grand houses from outdoors. There may be entire streets of homes that will participate, so it should be quite a show! This outdoor tour will be free, though donations will be gratefully accepted on behalf of the Bucks County Housing Group.

In addition, St. Paul’s will still hold its popular Christmas Attic sale – with a twist – where shoppers can find great bargains on all sorts of holiday decorations. To keep this safe for patrons, the sale will take place as an online auction.

I updated this year’s logo with suggestions from the CID team, to reflect the changes for 2020, and I think it still makes an eye-catching design –

For further info on this December’s Christmas in Doylestown and Christmas Attic, and to learn how to donate to the Bucks County Housing Group, click HERE.

Mascot Sketch

I was asked to do a little cricket character for Maria’s House Montessori school in Doylestown, because in their variety of great learning experiences for children the school is introducing – cricket! (the sport, that is)

I sketched a pencil cricket with some of the appropriate playing gear, bat, helmet, shin guards –

and after tightening up the sketch I added digital color using the school’s logo and colors to tie it all in.

Pen and Ink Drawing of a Modern Home

I’ve been recently posting a series of architecturally historic buildings that I have drawn in pen and ink, but I’ve found modern homes to be great subjects as well. I was commissioned to draw this home in the Doylestown area for use on the family’s Christmas card a few years back.

I love the setting, with the rambling driveway from which you get a long lovely look at the home as you approach, the sleigh decoration on the front lawn, and the symmetry of the building.

I’m open for more commissions such as this, though I do get busy as the holidays approach; so if you are interested I’d appreciate a note sooner rather than later.

To see some of my other house portraits click here, here, here, here or here.

A Turn-of-the-20th-Century Home in Pen and Ink

Here is another of my pen-and-ink drawings of architecturally-notable houses of Doylestown, PA. This house may be termed vernacular Victorian – vernacular architecture is characterized by the use of local materials and knowledge, usually without the supervision of professional architects. It is a simple and practical style with none of the fancy gingerbread trim of high Victorian buildings.

(c) Pat Achilles

I’m working on drawing another house down the street from this one, and will post it soon. Illustrations like this look lovely when framed and can also be used for personalized stationery and holiday cards for homeowners. If you’d like to inquire on my fees for illustration please drop me a note on my Contact page.

More Pen and Ink Bucks County Houses

In addition to the house drawing I posted a few days ago, I also drew these two lovely homes a number of years back, for the St. Paul’s Church Christmas in Doylestown House Tour. I used pen and ink, which I think gives a timeless quality to a drawing.

The first is a two-story colonial with a charming wrought iron fence and gate and a bracket portico over the front door. It was designed by local builder Jay Maxwell.

The house below, behind a stately crenellated stone fence, was built by Asher Cox in 1828 and is the oldest brick house in Doylestown borough. It was sold in 1831 to cabinet maker Lester Rich for $600!

I’ll post some more ink drawings from my picturesque home town soon.