Free-lancing for The Wool Bureau — early 70s

by Alden Cole on July 8, 2014 · 0 comments

Slow-Motion Memoir: An Illustrated History, installment #41. Back to the story — My Life as a Working Artist — after a break of a month; most recent prior installment dated June 9.

3WoolBureauAdsWP1972-73: Another major client during these exciting early years as a free-lance fashion illustrator in Manhattan was The Wool Bureau, an agency promoting the use of wool and wool blends in the fashion industry. Skippy Stone from North Carolina (or was it South?) was my contact at the Bureau, a bright, energetic southern belle who enthused over my work. The prices were right, so she steered lots of work my way for a couple years (the usual length of time an agency would use a particular artist or look, before switching in order to keep their advertising looking ‘fresh’). I’ve forgotten what I was making per figure when we first started working together, but eventually I worked my way up to $150 per figure – my maximum as it turned out – for a series of ads that were were run in Women’s Wear Daily in the summer of ’72 (dates unknown because I never tracked down tear-sheets of the ads, just pre-press run-offs, as shown in today’s art). The flush of success that I felt were simply more symptoms of ‘feeling I had arrived’ as a fashion illustrator. Great illusion if you can maintain it, which I did not, as it turned out. Anyway, this first job for the Wool Bureau was another instance of getting tapped for a big job, including lots of figures, as my first job working for that agency (a similar situation had occurred the year before with The Merchandizing Group).

4MagsWPSkippy and her agency partner arranged promotional tie-ins with fashion magazines Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue and Mademoiselle. All of the work was executed in b&w monotone, line work plus areas of midtone shading. Much of the work involved drawing fabric patterns — plaids, prints, paisleys, whatever was required. It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. As a teenager, whodathot that I’d be making my living ten years hence by drawing pictures of women and men in fashionable clothing of the times? I was very lucky to be able to follow my star. Life was good. I was in a healthy personal relationship, and making my living drawing pictures. What more could I ask for?

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: