I spend a lot of time looking at vintage illustrations for inspiration for my work, both in terms of the subject matter and technique. There is something about how commercial illustrators of the 1930's through about the 50's applied the paint to their images that gives them a very classic vintage look. I have spent a lot of time studying these images and trying to replicate the look in my work.
I especially love the old Coke advertisements. Not only did they serve their purpose- depicting beautiful people enjoying the delights of a refreshing beverage- but they are really beautiful works of art in themselves.
In doing some research into the major illustrators for Coke, I came across the work of Haddon Sundblom. Most of you have seen his work, although you may not have realized it. He is responsible for the image of the "Coke Santa" that we still see in use today, as well as the Sprite elf, and the Quaker Oats guy. Many illustrators working in mid-century America, both for Coke and other companies, learned their techniques from Sundblom. He also painted pin-up girls and scenes of classic American life.
Sundblom subscribed to a type of painting adapted from the Impressionists called "first stroke," which involved using the fewest number of strokes possible to describe one's subject.
I came across the two pieces below just today. I love the loose brushstrokes and the bright sunlight that seems to wash over the figures. They make life during this time seem quite idyllic, don't they?