Since my upcoming book will be about money, The Lovely Horrible Stuff, I have been uncommonly interested in the stuff of late. Leif peng has been doing a bloody wonderful series of posts specifically about the business of making money from Illustration, going way back to 1924, then coming forward the 1960s. Fully illustrated as always.
post of October 11
post of October 11
Five thousand dollars! Using any one of a number of online currency converters, we can quickly recalculate Albert Dorne's income as being nearly one million dollars per year when adjusted for 60 years of inflation. His $5,000 ad art fee comes to $46,436.23 in 2011 dollarspost of October 13
Its not surprising then that, at a time when the average annual family income was just over a thousand dollars, Rockwell describes being able to put ten times that amount into savings in a matter of months.post of October 17
Liberty magazine's publisher may have failed to sway Norman Rockwell's loyalty to George Lorimer and the Saturday Evening Post... but the demon of temptation proved too powerful for another illustrator - Rockwell's friend, Leslie Thrasher.
"Some months later Thrasher came to my studio asking advice about an offer Liberty magazine had made to him. It was a five-year contract calling for Thrasher to do fifty covers a year at one thousand dollars a piece. "I can live on ten thousand dollars a year," said Thrasher, "so I can save forty thousand. At the end of five years I'll have two hundred thousand dollars. I'll be well off and secure for the rest of my life."
"After eight or nine months his house burned and he was so run-down and tired from overwork that he caught pneumonia and died."
The 1960's would prove to be a challenging decade for Marvin Friedman and virtually every other illustrator trying to pursue a career in magazine illustration. As television stole away advertising revenue, page counts went down and magazine editors increasingly turned to photography in place of illustration. Only the truly determined artist could hope to snap up some of the fewer and fewer assignments. "I had to brown-nose," says Marvin, "I had to send liquor out at Christmastime - it was like any other business - you had to do what you had to do to get the work."