This section is devoted to scholarly essays on illustration – including articles on individual illustrators, the history of illustration, and illustration collections and important movements in history.

The Red Rose Girls: An alliance for artistic success

During an era when women were expected to get married, raise children, and manage a household, Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871-1954), Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), and Violet Oakley (1874-1961) chose to pursue careers in the arts. In 1897, these three women enrolled in famed illustrator Howard Pyle’s (1853-1911) class at the School of Illustration at the Drexel Institute, Philadelphia where they formed a bond. The women rook residence at the Red Rose Inn; hence their moniker.

2021-03-08T12:02:37-05:00March 8th, 2021|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Santa in Illustration

Back in the 1800’s, the image of Santa Claus was not portrayed as the round, jolly, bearded man that we know today. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, Santa morphed through a variety of different looks. He was initially depicted as a thin elf-like man dressed in green, who was focused on protecting children and sailors. At other times, he appeared skinny and gaunt, with a scraggly beard and, while he may have worn a red coat, he sometimes wore a different colored hat, trimmed in black.

2020-12-21T10:10:45-05:00December 21st, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

We Eat First with Our Eyes

Food, an essential for man’s survival, is a common theme in art throughout the ages. Today, some epicureans consider food as an art form with its unique power to engage all the senses, not only vision. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this blog looks at some of the mouthwatering imagery found in the Norman Rockwell Museum Collection.

2020-11-24T13:18:28-05:00November 24th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Moving Pictures: A Conversation with Pixar Animation Artist Tim Evatt

I first met Tim Evatt three years ago. Tim greeted me in the cavernous lobby of the main building at Pixar, which is named after Apple Computer’s founder, the late Steve Jobs. We walked through the public hallways of the studio looking at the work of all the artists on staff who had contributed to the film Coco, which was in theaters at the time. We looked at storyboard art, pencil and color studies, set designs, and 3D maquettes. I was like a kid in the candy store. However, equally impressive was learning how much Tim Evatt was and is a true student of “golden age” illustrators like Norman Rockwell, J.C. Leyendecker, and Dean Cornwell. This past week, I decided to capture one of my conversations with Tim in anticipation of a virtual program that the Museum is planning to hold on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 7pm.

2020-11-24T09:55:43-05:00November 24th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Embedded: Illustrators and the Armed Forces

Despite the growing efficiency of cameras in the nineteenth century, photography on the battlefield was difficult due to long exposures and cumbersome equipment. Because of this, Civil War illustrator reporters like Winslow Homer, Alfred Waud and Edwin Forbes were engaged to capture events that photography at the time could not. In the twentieth century, wartime illustrators remained in demand⸺as skillful practitioners they were able to prioritize in chaotic situations and assemble compelling visual evidence that communicated to viewers in a visceral way.

2020-11-04T12:54:51-05:00November 4th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

The Expressive Face

How did artists like Norman Rockwell, Austin Briggs, Jon Whitcomb, and others create the believable unique faces that can tell a whole story by themselves? In a magazine cover, like those by Rockwell and Stevan Dohanos, the image, with its setting and, most of all, its characters, must convey an anecdote without any help from words. So each face must be carefully crafted to do its part in creating the drama⸺or comedy.

2020-08-19T14:34:07-04:00August 19th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Al Parker: Illustrating the “Stopper”

In How I Make a Picture by Al Parker, he wrote about his creative process for magazine story assignments. The artist’s first step was to read the manuscript while keeping the target audience in mind. As characters entered into the tale, he jotted down their descriptions – hair color, eyes, age, type of clothing, disposition, etc. He also searched the narrative for a passage that would catch the reader’s attention; he termed this the “stopper”. Parker’s final tip on successful illustrations was understanding the mood of the piece. Is it romantic, humorous, suspenseful, or tragic?

2020-07-29T20:10:38-04:00July 29th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Drawing as a way of seeing

If you want to observe an artist at work, a good place to start is with his or her sketchbooks. Here are ideas, techniques, observations, memories – all the underpinnings of the finished work. Often the contents are so free and spontaneous that they draw us in, wanting and needing nothing more than these simple lines on paper.

2020-07-14T14:35:42-04:00July 7th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Harold Von Schmidt: Pictorial Structure through Research

This week’s subject allowed me to delve deeper into a recent acquisition by Harold von Schmidt, a student of the accomplished illustrator Harvey Dunn. Curious about the imprisoned man in “I have had the liberty of speaking through the hold of door to my wife and servants, his editorial read,” I performed a web search for the December 1934 issue of The Elks Magazine, to find out more. Luckily, the magazine was digitized.

2020-06-24T16:05:48-04:00June 24th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|Comments Off on Harold Von Schmidt: Pictorial Structure through Research

Al Dorne: A Richer Life Through Art

Though not well known to the public, Albert Dorne (1904-1965) was the highest paid illustrator of mid-twentieth century. He strongly supported the field of illustration by serving as the Society of Illustrators president and by co-founding the Code of Ethics and Fair Practices of the Profession of Commercial Art and Illustration. He mentored and helped other people achieve their dreams of becoming paid artists with the establishment of The Famous Artists School, a correspondence course for commercial art. Over the years, this savvy businessman earned the respect of his industry.

2020-06-11T16:14:51-04:00June 11th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|Comments Off on Al Dorne: A Richer Life Through Art

Norman Rockwell Museum



Norman Rockwell Museum is Open 7 days a week year-round

May – October and holidays:

open daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (July/August 2015)
Rockwell’s Studio open May through October.

November – April: open daily:

Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holiday Closings:

The Museum is Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day





Members: FREE
Adults: $18.00
Seniors (65+): $17.00
College students with ID: $10.00
Children/teens 6 — 18: $6.00
Children 5 and under: FREE

Official Museum Website





Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Route 183
Stockbridge, MA 01262

413-298-4100 x 221

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