Thursday, April 23, 2009



A post WWl tin-pan alley tune....even older than I ! About 1919 or 1920, I believe. Predictive, however. Agriculture is still the largest economic factor in California....but fewer and fewer farmers and workers participate and manage farming these days. Corporate farming is pretty much in charge....and has a powerful influence in state government on California's always critical water policy and other political decisions.

Farming subjects were fairly regular assignments from a variety of agencies and accounts....Del Monte, US Steel, Kaiser Aluminum, State Fund, Ortho Chemicals, California wineries....those were the main ones I can think of. We'll begin with a couple of pencil comps for McCann Erickson and the Ortho Chemical division of Chevron.

I'm lacking a proof, but the ag plane comp did have a color illustration.

The three in color were for farm magazines....and so typical of ad designs for that purpose. The slanted cropping, the inset of the insect, (I didn't illustrate the bugs!), the whole concept.

The lima bean, green bean ad with the split location background....again not an ad layout you'd see in most publications.

For what it's worth, the tobacco farmer holding a tray of seedlings is a fair facsimile of 'your friendly illustrator' in a tractor hat, at that age. Have never planted tobacco, however!

Following, a couple of charcoal pencil montages for State fund farm ads.

Can't remember whether the finished illustrations were in ink or this form.

Next, three US Steel B&W spots for their series showing uses of steel on farm machines.

Then the Shock Wave Shaker, a two color brochure. I recall driving up to the Sacramento Valley where it was built to take pictures.

Walnuts and almonds are major crops in California....and the trees are shaken for the fall harvest.

Finally, two State Insurance Fund newsprint farm journal ads in B&W.

Charcoal pencil on rough doubt for speed...

...and in the 70's, a technique that fit the subject.

* Charlie Allen's Flickr set.


Matt said...

your charcoal work is amazing, Charlie - that first one is killer... wait, what am I saying, all of these are!

Rich said...

...After they've seen Par-eee...
Must be Paris; but the Prairies ain't bad either.

Although not exactly what I'd call organic farming here, the plants on these ads do look very "organic" to me. Man you just know how to render the vegetal world!

Steve Casper said...

I happened across your blog a week or so ago and am simply blown away. As an illustrator myself I'm amazed at your versatility and the scope of your talent. They just don't grow these illustrators today like they used to. I always prefer to see the work of yesteryear where there were no shortcuts or 'undo' options with the software. I can't wait to see more of your posts. Thanks for the inspiration.