Sunday, January 25, 2009

Everybody's Illustrators

Looking through issues of old weekly magazines like Everybody's really highlights the difference between magazines in the 1950s and those of fifty years later. The use—and quality—of illustrations was much higher and added a dimension that's lacking in today's magazines. By the time I was seeing what could be called the general weekly magazines—Tit-Bits, Weekend and the like—in the 1970s, they were filled with sensational, true-life confession style articles and were well on the way down the path to the celebrity-obsessed crap that passes for magazines these days, which are all about pointing and tutting. Who cares if someone has put on a few pounds or lost a few pounds? Is that really what passes for entertainment these days?

The illustrations below represent a tiny snapshot of the diversity of the stories that appeared in Everybody's—crime, war, nature, romance, science fiction, humour... nothing seemed off limits. Yes, they also had their interviews or articles about film and TV stars, but the next article along would be historical, or travel, or political. In many ways the Sunday supplements took over that role, leaving the general magazines to sink... or swim briefly before sinking in some cases. Sad, eh?

Gordon Nicholl
R. M. Sax
Eric Tansley
Laurence Houghton
Eric Tansley
Eric Tansley
Edwin Phillips
Leslie Caswell
H. W. Hailstone

(* All images © IPC Media.)


  1. Love these...the panther one looked like a photo!! Amazing talent..

    Bring back illustrations in magazines...especially the covers!! A drawing is better than a photo!

  2. Peter - I agree. Fascinating stuff. As a teacher I can remember the wonderful illustrations in the old teaching magazines like Teachers' World (now sadly defunct) & Child Education. Just as in the Ladybird Books the wonderful illustrations such as 'Life in an oak tree' or 'Singing around a Christmas tree in a market square' have all been replaced by photo-realism.
    Steve is R B Davis who produced stunning nature wall charts for classrooms the same artist as the R Davis who I seem to remember that you have referred to in the past?

  3. John Bull, Everybody's, Outspan, Lilliput have given me loads of enjoyment when researching Frank Bellamy and Raymond Shepard. If you like the Tansley shot, wait till you see some of Sheppards!
    The subjects cover such a wide range of topics and styles too.

    By the way, I saw Trevillion has done a piece in this Saturday's Guardian and was amazed he's still with us, having enjoyed his comic work before in TV21 - at least I believe it's him from the signature as his style has changed since the 60s. Wikipedia says it's him, but i'd rather have the Holland authority on this one!

  4. Additional comment:
    And of course I forgot to mention our old favourite from Bear Alley - Bill Lacey. His illustrations appeared all over the place at that time and are easier than some to identify as he signed his work a lot of the time!



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