William Andrew Loomis was a notable illustrator, famous for his old school “tutorial” books. He broke down his work into a process to demonstrate how a piece was created. I had never heard of him prior to last semester until my good friend Joseph brought a book written by him back to school. The book is titled Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis and looking through the pages, I could see why he is notable for his instructional books.
Andrew was born on June 15, 1892 and had the opportunity to study with several artists and even at the Art Institute of Chicago. He soon enlisted to serve in World War I and after the war, worked in several advertising agencies and eventually teaching. This led to him writing instructional books, in which he published several. Loomis passed on May 5, 1959, but left his teachings to influence artists and illustrators into modern times.
Loomis’ “how-to” books included the steps that he took in order to successfully create a piece of art. Below are studies done from photographs that were taken by Loomis himself. He would utilize the photos as a framework to an adjusted face, etc. that he did himself. The use of photographs vs. a live model has always been up for debate, either way the work gets done regardless, and in Loomis’ case, extremely well. He focuses on working the proportions and really accentuating the facial expressions. If you look at his other pieces, the facial expressions are flawlessly done.
Below is a painting of a family out for the day, possibly for a picnic by the river. If you focus on the faces, you can feel the happiness radiating from each of the figures. There is a great variety in the foreground and background. In my opinion, the major focus and where my eyes go first is the father in the center of the page. I am immediately drawn towards the white of his shirt. Overall, I believe Loomis captured the happiness and togetherness of the family seen in the painting.
William Andrew Loomis has a similar style to many of the traditional artists during the early to mid 1900s. The part that sets him apart from the crowd is that he is “one of the few” who released several books teaching eager artists his method of creating a successful and meaningful illustration.
Featured Image: https://www.artsy.net/artist/andrew-loomis