Illustration History

#TBT | Lorraine Fox, a Standout in a “Field Overbearingly Populated by Men”


Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox

A few weeks ago, I debuted a #TBT series that’ll focus on illus­tra­tion pro­duced long ago. Next up is Lor­raine Fox was an edi­to­r­i­al illus­tra­tor whose work graced mag­a­zines, book cov­ers, and adver­tise­ments dur­ing the mid 20th cen­tu­ry. She was described a stand­out in a “field over­bear­ing­ly pop­u­lat­ed by men.”

Art had an ear­ly place in Lorraine’s life, and the endeav­or was sup­port­ed by her parents—especially her moth­er, who took a job clean­ing hous­es to help pay for school­ing. Thanks to her, both Lor­raine and her both­er Gil were able to have accom­plished careers in illus­tra­tion (Gil was a com­ic book artist.)

After grad­u­at­ing from Pratt, Lor­raine got a job in the adver­tis­ing field. “I got my first job in an agency,” she told Famous Artist mag­a­zine in 1967. “The man I worked for would say, for exam­ple, ‘We have a med­ical thing we want to sell here,’ and he’d give me the head­line and I was sup­posed to come up with a dozen fast sketch­es, but I was not real­ly an idea lady. Instead, I would get an idea I liked and fin­ish com­plete­ly and care­ful­ly. He final­ly said that I should get an agent and free-lance.”

Lor­raine says she didn’t have any trou­ble get­ting an agent. “I sup­pose you could call the kind of thing I did ‘dec­o­ra­tive design.’ It leaned toward the prim­i­tive and peo­ple liked it.” She paint­ed mag­a­zine cov­ers and pic­tures of food but was “con­stant­ly annoyed.” Lor­raine explains, “Peo­ple would look at my work and say, ‘How cute,’ or ‘How fem­i­nine.’ I’d kind of smile and say, ‘Thank you.’” She’d ask her­self, “Why can’t I be more of an artist?”

It’s about this time that she joined the Charles E. Coop­er stu­dio—the place for com­mer­cial art at the time. (Her hus­band, Bernie D’Andrea was also a mem­ber.) Despite being a male-dom­i­nat­ed set­ting, Lor­raine broke through the “boys club,” and con­tin­u­al­ly honed her style.

Mur­ray Tin­kel­man, the Direc­tor of the MFA pro­gram in Illus­tra­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hart­ford, was Lorraine’s friend and fel­low Coop­er stu­dio mate per­haps best describes her work: “Lor­raine lived in… that world of dec­o­ra­tive illus­tra­tion. It wasn’t quite car­toon­ing, it wasn’t quite nar­ra­tive illus­tra­tion, it was a kind of sym­bol­ic illus­tra­tion that depend­ed on folk art as a root source.”

To see more of Lorraine’s work, check out Leif Peng’s amaz­ing Flickr account. It’s where I sourced all of these images.

Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox

Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox

Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox

Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox

Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox

Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox

Illustration of women by Lorraine Fox