About 20 years ago I was a green kid fresh out of art school working as an in-house marker renderer at an advertising agency in Toronto. This old fellow named Bud was the photo retoucher in our studio. He'd begun clipping pages from the Saturday Evening Post and filing the tear sheets ever since he got into the commercial art business after WWII. Bud passed away a year or so after I started working at the agency and his family had no use for his clipped reference files, so they generously passed them along to me and my buddy Dan, the other young renderer working in-house.
That was long before computers and scanners and the Internet... so Dan and I would keep moving this huge, heavy filing cabinet from place to place when the studio moved around. Finally, after about ten years, I found a new studio up town and Dan very kindly gave up his half-ownership of Bud's files to me. He said I was more interested in Bud's old files anyway so I should just keep it.
Fast forward another few years and I was now working at home. I was always pouring through Bud's files for inspiration, and one day I thought, "I should scan one of these pieces and send it to a few of the guys." So I scanned this piece by Mike Ludlow and sent it out to about eight or nine fellow storyboard artist friends under the subject line "Today's Inspiration."
Needless to say, the response was very enthusiastic. The guys all sent back messages like "send another" and "hey I have a friend who wants to get these... can you add him to the list?"
So for a couple of years the TI list grew by word of mouth. Then blogs came along and I started Today's Inspiration, which gave me a chance to add some writing to the artwork I was showing. I had developed an interest in learning about the business of illustration during the mid-century... about who all these forgotten artists were. I was amazed to discover the kind of lives they lived - they were as well known as Hollywood celebrities - and just as wealthy - and many enjoyed the same sort of social life, hobnobbing at the Stork Club and at the Society of Illustrators, living in palatial mansions and doing celebrity endorsements. Fascinating stuff. Nothing like the life of a professional illustrator today, believe me!
Because of the blog and because of my growing interest I began buying old magazines on ebay and from used bookstores. Now I have hundreds of issues of the Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, etc. and I can't pass up the opportunity to acquire more, if the price is right. Because of all the stuff I've posted - and thanks to Google - I've been contacted by dozens and dozens of family members of the artists I feature... and in a few cases, the artists themselves! I've had the benefit of learning a lot of the history of the business from the people who made it - or the (now grown up) children who witnessed it first-hand.
My daily email scan list has continued to grow as well... now well over a thousand people around the world subscribe to it. Its a pretty great feeling connecting with so many kindred spirits!
Photos of leifpeng (1)
- Vintage Esquire girls 128 photos, 40 members
- James Avati - A homage to his Art 327 photos, 47 members
- Painting plein aire 10,133 photos, 1,072 members
- PAPERBACK COVERS AND OTHER ART BY ROBERT MCGINNIS 1,319 photos, 200 members
- The Art of Mary Blair 344 photos, 209 members
- Retro Beverage Advertisments 395 photos, 56 members
- Skulls 16,743 photos, 3,854 members
- Illustration Friday NATURAL 12,968 photos, 6,691 members
- Skull Nation 3,606 photos, 803 members
- The Vintage Working Woman 473 photos, 186 members
- Lucky Lager 145 photos, 18 members
- You Lounge While I Kneel [Vintage] 69 photos, 103 members
- CPSIA Endangered Books 878 photos, 322 members
- True Pinups 3,922 photos, 1,117 members
- VINTAGE CIRCUS COLLECTIBLES (Beginning of It's History to 1975) 517 photos, 221 members
- Project Christmassy Festive 2009 226 photos, 125 members
- Vintage garden illustrations 2,249 photos, 381 members
- Vintage Publications Home Interiors 2,032 photos, 492 members
- COMIC BOOK ART SHOWOFF 678 photos, 345 members
- Vintage Newspaper Comics 140 photos, 65 members
- The Vintage Party 1,719 photos, 355 members
- Gee, That Food Looks Terrible! [VINTAGE] 2,950 photos, 486 members
- Vintage Education 273 photos, 286 members
- Vintage Meat 1,204 photos, 256 members
- Pipe Dreams (Those swell smoking men) 250 photos, 96 members
- The Putrid Pal 41 photos, 390 members
- vintage paperback 34,818 photos, 824 members
- Old-Timey Paperback Book Covers 20,160 photos, 904 members
- Vintage Bookmarks 281 photos, 124 members
- An Apron A Day 3,156 photos, 468 members
- Bill Charmatz Illustration Appreciation Group 44 photos, 78 members
- Mid-Century Illustrated Originals 155 photos, 206 members
- Witty Whitman! 764 photos, 110 members
- Vintage Science 1,098 photos, 1,240 members
- Vintage Industry 731 photos, 293 members
- 5 minute doodle! 1,078 photos, 1,274 members
- Kids' records 1,755 photos, 195 members
- Shinzi Katoh Collectors 330 photos, 362 members
- Restaurant Mascot Extravaganza 2,179 photos, 390 members
- Vintage Drug Stores 1,787 photos, 744 members
- Raiders of The Lost Snacks 4,589 photos, 396 members
- TWA 908 photos, 159 members
- Vintage Supermarkets, Grocery & Convenience Stores 5,244 photos, 1,139 members
- Leyendecker 511 photos, 376 members
- Sequential Art 1,767 photos, 173 members
- Sugar Frosted Goodness! 1,378 photos, 66 members
- Charles Harper illustrations fanclub!!!!!! 469 photos, 1,160 members
- Jim Flora Art 247 photos, 241 members
- Sugar Frosted Cereal Museum [1939-1989] 2,989 photos, 431 members
- Auto Ads 11,806 photos, 427 members
"I really can't get over what an amazing resource you have created.
It is by far the best history of illustration class I never got to take.
There is so much to see and learn. Thanks a lot Leif!"
18th March, 2008
Paula Wirth says:
"Not content with just being a talented illustrator and cartoonist, Leif is also one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable experts on vintage illustration. When he finally publishes a book, I will be first in line to buy it!!! (Oh, and he is one of the nicest and most helpful flickr folks out there, to boot!!)
Deserved praise, indeed!"
28th September, 2007
"Leif's flickr page has become 'the' library for serious study of the golden age of illustration. His blog, "Today's Inspiration" is his classroom, and you will never take a more enjoyable or edifying course!
Thank you, Leif for sharing your collection, your insights and your passion for great illustration.
27th May, 2007
- Leif Peng
- October 2005
- Hamilton, Canada
- I am:
- Male and Taken
- Commercial Artist
- Leif Peng Cartoon Art