by Arnie Fenner

Thank God for small presses; fueled almost exclusively by passion and rarely motivated by profit (which is why I buy from them direct as often as I can as a show of support), the small independent publishers strive to preserve and advance the art form. And in many cases they help promote important creators who might otherwise slip through the cracks of history and into obscurity.

That’s why I was extremely happy to get a copy of Robert Fawcett: The Illustrator’s Illustrator from Auad Publishing. Fawcett (1903-1967) was one of the most popular commercial artists of the 1940s and ’50s and produced numerous illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Colliers, and many other magazines. He used being color blind to his advantage, creating uniquely muted solutions to his work that added to their drama and overall mood. In 1948 he was recruited by Albert Dorne to be a founding instructor of the Famous Artists School and an outgrowth of his teaching was his seminal book On the Art of Drawing. Auad’s celebration of Fawcett’s life and work is a virtual treasure trove, featuring 250 images, an intro by Walt Reed, and commentary by David Apatoff. Robert Fawcett: The Illustrator’s Illustrator is both a beauty and a bargain.