Who’s my Favorite artist . . . Norman Rockwell, that’s who!

Norman Rockwell was born in New York City on February 3, 1894. Talented at a young age, he received his first commission at age 17. In 1916, he created the first of 321 covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell’s Americana images were loved by the public, but not embraced by critics. He created World War II posters and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. He died on November 8, 1978.


 Norman Rockwell illustrated covers forThe Saturday Evening Post for 47 years. The public loved his often-humorous depictions of American life.

Rockwell uses a Balopticon projector to sketch the first step in translating the photographic image into a finished illustration with charcoal for his First Trip to the Beauty Shop. “The Balopticon is an evil, inartistic, habit-forming, lazy and vicious machine,” he said. “I use one often — and though am thoroughly ashamed of it. I hide it whenever I hear people coming.”
The Photographs Norman Rockwell Used to Create His Famous Paintings norman1

Painter Norman Rockwell‘s illustrations graced the covers of countless magazines over the course of the 20th century, becoming a much-loved piece of American culture for their simple snapshots of life. You might recognize many of the works, and even the name behind the paintings, but did you know that virtually all of the images started out as photographs?


After coming up with a concept for a painting (he was almost always commissioned by magazines and ad agencies), Rockwell would enlist the help of a photographer (he rotated between a group of them) to turn that idea into a photo. The subjects in the photos were his friends and neighbors.

Once the photograph was made, Rockwell then used his artistic talents combined with simple tracing to translate that photograph into the painting he had in mind. Rockwell never painted freehand.

Rockwell, who died at age 84 in November 1978, is known for his poignant illustrations of slices of daily life, which graced the covers of The Saturday Evening Post for over four decades.


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