Top Favorite Artist #2: J.C. Leyendecker

Happy New Year’s Eve! I think I’ve been the most productive this week. It’s probably because I haven’t played any games in the last few days. I find this a major accomplishment. 😀

But here is to the new year. I hope its better than the last.

Here is another of my favorite artists: Joseph Christian Leyendecker

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He is known for the Arrow Collar Man advertising illustrations, the Saturday Evening Post, and various other book and advertising illustrations. He was one of the best of his time and very well paid. However, because he often spent whatever he made — living in a mansion and buying luxury material things during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ — that after his death, all his original artworks were auctioned… which I find quite unfortunate.  I’d actually love to get some of his prints if they are still available, I do have a particular one in mind that I really like.*

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The New Year’s Baby was made famous by him, featured on the covers of Saturday Evening Post.

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Although Leyendecker was best known for depicting men better than his woman. Though his woman are good, they are much more ‘blocky’ and less fluid/graceful than other illustrators’ works. They’ve almost got no shape or curve. However, his men are always very well done; they are very upright, natural, striking, and regal, which was why his Arrow Head Collar was made so famous during his time!

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Though it is speculated that Leyendecker was gay, never married and has always lived with another man during his lifetime, whose name was Charles Beach. I think it makes perfect sense to me in the way that I’m always fascinated with woman, and how I’m always happy to draw them. Maybe he feels comfortable, and appreciates the male form — much like the Greek artists who favored men over woman models, i.e. Raphael.

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*Personally, the above painting has always been one of my favorites because its well composed and it speaks to me! Totally want a large print of this in my home or work area~

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Personally, I’ve always wanted to copy his style, it looks almost like pastel, but not at the same time — in a way that the figures have this smooth elastic kind of skin texture. One of his obvious techniques to break up or add a kind of texture. The direction of some of his brushstrokes are obvious. They go across some of his paint strokes, going in the direction of the form. He also practices a lot, often repainting and figuring out the design by doing many sketch paintings.

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The art direction for Team Fortress 2 was inspired by Leyendecker’s art style. You can see in the way that they are “painted” is very similar to his techniques. Cool beans, huh?

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4 Comments

Filed under Art, Artists, Painting, Reviews

4 responses to “Top Favorite Artist #2: J.C. Leyendecker

  1. I’m a TF2 Player, and I love Leyendecker’s work as well. I’ve taken a good look at how the art style influenced the game here:
    http://cdn.halcyonrealms.com/animation/the-art-of-team-fortress-2/
    And here:
    http://www.valvesoftware.com/publications/2007/NPAR07_IllustrativeRenderingInTeamFortress2.pdf

    The retro style is influenced by his work on World War One, Two, and his work in the 20s and 30s.. Oddly enough, the game is set in the 1960s, but it adds elements from both World Wars, and plenty of Hats.

    Because TF2 wouldn’t be able to become what it is with out Leyendecker, I’ve decided that he is a crucial part of the formula for Team Fortress 2.

    War+Hats+JC Leyendecker+Valve= Team Fortress 2.

    Thank you Mr. Leyendecker, and rest in peace!

  2. Wow, I am so sorry for my late reply! I did see this when you commented, I just totally forgot because I had a lot on my plate. I did play it very briefly when I had Steam, and Valve had it for free on Steam. So its really well-developed game. The trailers are hilarious.

    I’m glad you posted those links, they’re really awesome.

    Lol, yes, I agree. Without Leyendecker, the game probably would not be the way it is. I wish he had more recognition when he died, but he’s a huge influence on so many current artists/illustrators today.

  3. The Wild West Pyro

    IT WOULD be nice if Valve makes an art of TF2 book, and there’s a kid’s biography of JC Leyendecker that gives a special bit about TF2!

  4. Right? That’d be so awesome. I was surprised they didn’t…!

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