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Jeffrey Smith
Printed Pages, The About Men Column
posted:
I started creating illustrations for The About Men Column, in The New York Times Magazine in 1983.
Most of this work appeared in print from 1983 to 1986, with one more in 1995.
I’m feeling nostalgic about the work. One of the pieces is a portrait of my eldest daughter, Vanessa and I, drawing together. And there are other characters in the illustrations that were friends. But more than that, it feels like this work is from another lifetime. I was living in New York then, I was married, and I was an emerging illustrator. Before computers, before Facebook, before all the technological advances that have made it so possible to research, compose, render, present, deliver, and share work via the internet, there was a time when research was found in a scrape file, composition was explored on paper, rendering was done with a paint brush, presentation was a clean white mat, and in many cases, the work was delivered personally, by the artist.
For some of my students, I hardly think they can imagine delivering work in person to a Roger Black, Ken Kendrick, Steven Heller, Tom Bodkin, or Michael Valenti. But I still remember, vividly, the comments, the confrontations, and in some cases the fights we had.
Was it a wonderful world? Hell no. But it was great to be young, and it was a great way to learn how to be an illustrator.








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