About 25 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 in 2005, 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 254 photos, 59 members
- James Avati - A homage to his Art 271 photos, 45 members
- Painting plein aire 11,567 photos, 1,180 members
- PAPERBACK COVERS AND OTHER ART BY ROBERT MCGINNIS 1,313 photos, 231 members
- The Art of Mary Blair 349 photos, 210 members
- Retro Beverage Advertisments 391 photos, 62 members
- Skulls 16,533 photos, 3,966 members
- Illustration Friday REFLECTION 12,959 photos, 6,739 members
- Skull Nation 3,702 photos, 801 members
- The Vintage Working Woman 486 photos, 192 members
- Lucky Lager 145 photos, 18 members
- You Lounge While I Kneel [Vintage] 70 photos, 103 members
- CPSIA Endangered Books 875 photos, 320 members
- True Pinups 4,517 photos, 1,217 members
- VINTAGE CIRCUS COLLECTIBLES (Beginning of It's History to 1975) 495 photos, 226 members
- Project Christmassy Festive 2009 224 photos, 123 members
- Vintage garden illustrations 2,607 photos, 414 members
- Vintage Publications Home Interiors 2,053 photos, 512 members
- COMIC BOOK ART SHOWOFF 730 photos, 377 members
- Vintage Newspaper Comics 140 photos, 65 members
- The Vintage Party 1,482 photos, 375 members
- Gee, That Food Looks Terrible! [VINTAGE] 2,972 photos, 501 members
- Vintage Education 239 photos, 291 members
- Vintage Meat 1,226 photos, 262 members
- Pipe Dreams (Those swell smoking men) 263 photos, 100 members
- The Putrid Pal 39 photos, 385 members
- vintage paperback 26,715 photos, 873 members
- Old-Timey Paperback Book Covers 11,048 photos, 925 members
- Vintage Bookmarks 279 photos, 128 members
- An Apron A Day 3,096 photos, 470 members
- Bill Charmatz Illustration Appreciation Group 37 photos, 78 members
- Mid-Century Illustrated Originals 147 photos, 208 members
- Witty Whitman! 686 photos, 113 members
- Vintage Science 1,094 photos, 1,249 members
- Vintage Industry 790 photos, 299 members
- 5 minute doodle! 1,074 photos, 1,280 members
- Kids' records 1,843 photos, 196 members
- Shinzi Katoh Collectors 321 photos, 361 members
- Restaurant Mascot Extravaganza 2,249 photos, 396 members
- Vintage Drug Stores 1,856 photos, 747 members
- Raiders of The Lost Snacks 4,699 photos, 400 members
- TWA 927 photos, 172 members
- Vintage Supermarkets, Grocery & Convenience Stores 5,937 photos, 1,163 members
- Leyendecker 518 photos, 391 members
- Sequential Art 1,946 photos, 176 members
- Sugar Frosted Goodness! 1,385 photos, 65 members
- Charles Harper illustrations fanclub!!!!!! 423 photos, 1,162 members
- Jim Flora Art 234 photos, 239 members
- Sugar Frosted Cereal Museum [1939-1989] 3,042 photos, 436 members
- Auto Ads 13,359 photos, 458 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!"
March 18th, 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!"
September 28th, 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.
May 27th, 2007
- Leif Peng
- October 2005
- Hamilton, Canada
- I am:
- Male and Taken
- Commercial Artist
- Leif Peng Cartoon Art