He who knows how to appreciate colour relationships, the influence of one colour on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery.
- Sonia Delaunay
Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
- Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Elwood H. Smith (update)

Posted by Charley Parker at 10:37 pm

Elwood H. Smith
As I mentioned in my previous post about him from 2007, Elwood H. Smith has a delightful illustration style that carries echoes of great comic strips from the early part of the 20th Century, and somehow manages to look both retro and modern simultaneously.

Smith hits the right balance for me between old and new, minimal and textured, cartoony and whimsical, and I find his style particularly appealing.

His editorial illustration clients include the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, Barron’s, Forbes and many others, and his advertising illustration clients have included SONY, Samsung, Land’s End, Inglenook Wine and TGI Fridays.

Smith has also illustrated a number of children’s books, including, The Truth About Poop, Stalling and many others.

In addition to his original website, which was in place when I last wrote about him, Smith has a newer site called Elwood’s World, and maintains a blog on Drawger.

You can also find his short animations showcased on his website and on Vimeo, along with a 2D-3D collaboration between Smith and Brian Hoard called The Amazing Elwood.

Earlier this year, Smith’s work was featured in an exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum, titled Elwood’s World: The Art and Animation of Elwood H. Smith. He also gave a lecture on process at the museum in 2007, which can be seen on Vimeo.

Posted in: CartoonsIllustration   |   23 Comments »

23 comments for Elwood H. Smith (update) »

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Comment by mike
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 9:49 am

    Elwood’s World at Norm Rockwell’s was great.

    I was able to go to one of Elwood’s lectures on marketing.

    Nice guy, fun art, good time.

    One of the things I love about Illustration is the way it comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. I appreciate Elwood’s work as much as I do Gurney’s, Manchess, and what’s his name… oh yeah Leonardo’s.

    Thanks for the update Charlie.

    Cheers, Mike

  2. Comment by Charley Parker
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    Oh yeah, that guy (grin).

  3. Comment by James Gurney
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    Elwood, besides being an amazing illustrator and animator, is an awesome guitar and mandolin player…and beer connoisseur. His wife Maggie Pickard deserves a tip of the hat, too, for her business and computer expertise — what would we doodlers do without such support?

  4. Comment by Charley Parker
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    Thanks for the comment, James, and right you are about the importance of the support artists often receive from their spouses.

    Other readers can read my recent review of the 20th Anniversary Edition of james Gurney’s Dinotopia.

  5. Comment by Elwood
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

    Thanks, Mike & Jim, good to hear from you. And thanks to Charley for this amazing resource. Also, Jim, I must echo your praise of Maggie. Maggie is, as you note, not only my wife, but my artist rep, my business manager, my website designer/builder and, as if that wasn’t a full plate, Elwood’s World’s in-house graphic designer. In every way, she is my creative partner and I’d cave and fold without her. I am one lucky dog.

  6. Comment by Tom Grasso
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    Adding to the list of Elwood’s talents I must mention that he is also a very fine singer and songwriter. His album, “Lucky Dog” is a delight.

  7. Comment by Erica Heller
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    Watching Elwood’s work evolve over the years has been nothing but a constant delight. Just when you think he’ll zig, he zags. Bravo to the master, from one of your greatest fans.

  8. Comment by Tim
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    Your work is such an inspiration. The humor is brilliant and the style is unmistakable. My daughter was in Library class in 6th grade and the teacher was holding up a book with one of your illustrations on the front cover. She raised her hand and said “I’m pretty sure that is an Elwood Smith illustration’, the teacher looked at the cover and was amazed that she recognized his work. It is unmistakable and you have left an incredible body of work that will be loved for generations to come… what a legacy.


  9. Comment by Deb Lucke
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    There’s not many works of art that I can say fill me with admiration and giggles at the same time. Bravo Elwood!

  10. Comment by Elwood
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    Gosh, you mutts, you sure know how to make a feller happy. Thanks, Tom, for the Lucky Dog plug; Erica, it’s a mutual admiration society, because you sure pulled a ziggity zag when you hunkered down and wrote your wonderful new book; Tim give your daughter a gold star from me. And thanks so much for your kind words. Makes scratching out all those drawing over the years extra worthwhile.

  11. Comment by Elwood
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

    Oops, and thanks so much, Deb! I expect a few guffaws & chortles, but getting giggles is a bonus!

  12. Comment by Cathleen Toelke
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    Elwood helps us all navigate through life by cutting through hype and appearances with his humor and art. His exhibition and presentations at the Norman Rockwell Museum were terrific, and I always look forward to seeing more of his art!

    He’s probably going to call me a mutt, but I know he won’t mean it, as he’s a very nice human being.

  13. Comment by Dave Stephens
    Friday, December 23, 2011 @ 4:37 am

    Back when I was in my early 20′s and huffing and puffing in the art director and designer’s world of the mid-70′s, at the agency we used to get Push Pin’s magazine, and I would always look to see if Elwood and Seymour Chwast were in it as they were heroes of mine. Elwood’s style just hit a giant nerve in my wanna-be cartoonist’s heart, and I’d steal those magazines when I could and take them home. Now in my early 60′s I met Elwood online through a mutual interest in FW ink, Pelikan fountain pens, and guitars. What a thrill to know such a towering talent and really decent man. The art posted here is just mind blowing stuff for me, makes my wanna-be cartoon bone itch real bad ;-) but alas I am a mere mortal still….

  14. Comment by Charley Parker
    Friday, December 23, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    Pick up that Pelikan and have at it!

  15. Comment by Bill Carman
    Friday, December 23, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    I still remember Elwood as one of the first illustrators my teachers introduced me to in college. Humor has since been an essential ingredient in what I do. Thanks for the inspiration over many years Mr. Smith. And thanks Charley.

  16. Comment by Tim Haggerty
    Friday, December 23, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    20 years ago when I was making the transition from being a magazine cartoonist to an illustrator, I asked Elwood for help. He not only schooled me on the sensibility of humorous illustration, but even let me borrow parts of his style for a while. Back then there was a lot more work out there, and if Elwood was too busy to take a job he’d give them my name. These were not little jobs. I did a poster for Apple, a full page spread for Sprint and a job for intel that lasted almost 2 years.
    In short, Elwood paved the way for me to be a successful illustrator and I am eternally grateful.

  17. Comment by Chris Signorino
    Saturday, December 24, 2011 @ 12:21 am

    If we could’ve tapped into Elwood’s talents a decade earlier, we may have had a microbrewery on Mars by now! Chris S. NASA-Ames Research Center.

  18. Comment by Elwood
    Saturday, December 24, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    Cathleen, how’s about I call you a Muttette? In any case, to my mind, a mutt is a damned fine moniker for the best of us.

    Charley has created a wonderful source for anyone who loves working with line, so I’m proud to be here. Twice, in fact, a double honor. Dave Stephens, in addition to getting awfully good at crossing his hatches, makes some of the best custom-made guitar pickups around. Thanks to all you mutts who took the time to add a comment here: My old pal, Tim Haggerty, who makes funny, but sublime pictures, Chris, from Mars and Mr. Carman, who discovered me in college. Does that mean I’ll be getting an honorary degree?

  19. Comment by Michael Doret
    Monday, December 26, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    What can one say about Elwood and his work? The superlatives have been all used up. I’ve known this multi-talented guy for more years than I’d care to admit. His work is a true outward reflection of who and what he is on the inside: generous, funny, interesting, friendly, rich, humble, but always unexpected. Like his name, he’s a rarity. If you know him or have worked with him, consider yourself very fortunate. And Maggie ain’t too shabby neither—what a pair!

  20. Comment by Elwood
    Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 12:16 am

    Thank you, Michael! Yes, we’ve known each other since I moved to NYC back in ’76 and my only regret is that we get together so rarely. Hope to see you in 2012. We really need to catch up on things.

  21. Comment by Bill Wright
    Saturday, December 31, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    Elwood has not only fine artistic talents with brush, pencil and strings, his true talent is he is a compassionate, loving person when it comes to all living things. He has been a brother to me since age 13. We grew up together and even though the miles might be there, we have never been far apart in our relationship. His sister was my wife of 46 years and when she was dying of cancer, Elwood was there for her and called her and consoled her every day. He made her lasts days bearable. For this, I’m everlasting grateful. Thank You, Elwood

  22. Comment by Elwood
    Monday, January 2, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Thank you, Bill. Believe me, it has been an honor and a pleasure to know you all these years. We hunted together and you were in my first band. My life has been very much about making music and art, but friendships have sustained me more than anything else. You are right up there at the top of the list.

  23. Comment by Doug Scott
    Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Hi, Elwood,
    Your brother,Dave, sent me this link as he has everytime you do something fantastic which is fairly often. The last time was the Norman Rockwell thing. I knew you had a lot of talent even before anyone recognized it because I’m one of the few that knew you from about 8 years old. Doug Scott-1012 N.Second Ave., Alpena, Michigan. Now, Captiva Island,Florida, and Raleigh, Nc.

Leave a comment


(required but not published)

Display Ads on Lines and Colors (1st tier): $25/week or $75/month.

Please note that display ads for lines and colors are limited to arts related topics and may not be animated.
Display Ads on Lines and Colors (2nd tier): $20/week or $65/month.

Please note that display ads for lines and colors are limited to arts related topics and may not be animated.

Donate Life

The Gift of a Lifetime