Art Institute Drawing Test

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Art Institute Drawing Test

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As a high school senior in St. Paul, Minnesota, Charles Schulz knew he wanted to be a cartoonist. He also knew he didn’t want to go to college or pursue any formal art education, afraid of being told he couldn’t cut it. Instead, Schulz asked his father for $169 to enroll in Art Instruction Schools, a Minneapolis-based correspondence course that promised students they could become proficient in any number of artistic pursuits by taking a 12-step lesson via the mail.

In 1980, Lempicka passed away in Mexico. Per her request, Lempicka’s ashes were scattered over the crater of the volcanic Mount Popocatepetl by her daughter, Kizette.

Since the 1920s, they’d been running ads in newspapers and magazines like this one:

Each shield is illustrated to match its comic book counterpart and comes with a description specifying the series it debuted in and which Earth it exists on (the Marvel Universe has thousands of different versions of Earth, after all).

Despite the exorbitant cost to his father during the Great Depression, Schulz enrolled. Thanks to the debut of his Peanuts strip in 1950, he remains their most famous alumnus.

When I have the time and the money, I prefer to leave my desk to learn. Professional associations such as the AIGA are a great place to hear about thought-provoking lectures, studio tours, and short courses.

46 Comments on Creativeprose: Tippy the Turtle and Pirates Too 1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks A Brief History of eLearning | Maria Terleckyj

On this piece, the company teamed with Marvel to give a rundown of 50 of Cap’s shields—from the instantly recognizable to the downright obscure. Here we see his classic Golden Age shield, with its slightly different color scheme, and the different variations from Jack Kirby’s time-traveling Bicentennial Battles book. Then there are entries like the vibranium shield he received from Black Panther in Captain America #342 and an adamantium one made by Tony Stark.

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AIS’s biggest competitor for that business was Famous Artists School, which counted Norman Rockwell among its celebrity endorsees—although he rarely evaluated submissions. At its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, Famous Artists had 40,000 doodlers taking the course. Once a drawing “test” was mailed in, the company would sometimes dispatch door-to-door salesmen to convince budding talent they had what it took to pursue a formal education in the arts and boasted accreditation by the Distance Education and Training Council.

Founded in 1914 to find talent for a local engraving business, Art Instruction Schools (AIS) was one of a number of mail-away art courses that prospered in the middle of the 20th century. With photography yet to fully take hold in advertising, commercial illustration was still a popular field. Universities, however, didn’t have the kind of extensive art curriculums of today. Thanks to eye-catching advertisements in newspapers, magazines, and on matchbooks, tens of thousands of would-be artists signed up for the programs.

Sometimes artists become more known among the general public for their colorful personal lives than for their artwork, no matter how great their contributions to the art world. Such is the case with Polish/American artist Tamara de Lempicka, who was born on this day in 1898. While Google is honoring what would have been her 120th birthday with a Google Doodle,  here are some highlights from her storied life.

Those different shields just scratch the surface of the deep cuts Pop Chart Lab provides. There are also shields from Captain Americas across Marvel’s numerous alternate universes, like the ones used by the Ultimate Universe Steve Rogers and the android Cap from Earth-725.

Home » Features » Creativeprose: Tippy the Turtle and Pirates Too Creativeprose: Tippy the Turtle and Pirates Too

That doesn’t mean all education outside of traditional brick-and-mortar universities and colleges is suspect. There are oodles of ways to bolster your abilities. There’s the long-distance learning route, which encompasses CreativePro.com, of course, as well as companies that specialize in training videos you download or view online, such as Lynda.com, and Vide2Brain.

Lempicka lived a life of luxury from childhood. Not only was she born into a wealthy family, her second husband was Baron Kuffner, a wealthy Hungarian baron who had been her patron and lover. Although she initially lost money in 1929 when her bank collapsed, she survived the Great Depression relatively unaffected, painting the portraits of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Queen Elizabeth of Greece during that time. She had been charging as much as 50,000 French francs per portrait by 1927, which was equivalent to about $2000 then, but would be about 10 times as much today.

While Tippy the Turtle was probably the most recognizable figure, it’s not known which character Schulz drew and submitted. It could have been Winky the Deer, or Reggie the Raccoon, or Spunky the Donkey. It also really didn’t matter if he could do it well; applicants to the school were accepted so long as their check cleared.

And now I’m going to open up the topic to you. How do you like to learn? What’s the most effective seminar/book/conference/talk over coffee you’ve experienced? Share your successes with us all and leave a Comment.

Tippy’s stylin’ in his turtleneck. (Get it?? Oh, those jokesters at the Art Instruction Schools!) And Mr. Blunderbuss there is a fine-lookin’ pirate indeed.

Although she is considered the most famous Art Deco painter, Lempicka was more famous for her libido than for her art. She was bisexual, and carried on scandalous affairs with both men and women (often her patrons and models). Yet the exact details are somewhat unclear since, according to one source, she “shuffled the facts of her biography as much as she meddled with her birth date”—and she meddled with her birth date quite a bit, even going so far as to reportedly try to pass her daughter off as her sister on occasion.

Though she was only 14 years old when she met Taduesz Lempicki, the teenaged Lempicka became determined to marry him. Just a few years later, when she was 17 years old, she married the “modestly well-off lawyer” with a dowry provided by her “millionaire banker uncle.” (She hadn’t lived with her parents since they divorced when she was a child.)

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I suppose I shouldn’t judge what I haven’t tried for myself, but I doubt Art Instruction Schools is worthwhile, despite its catchy motto (“Creating Better Artists Since 1914”), high-profile graduates (Charles Schultz is the best-known name), and sheer longevity.

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Do you remember the ads on matchbooks and in comic books that invited you to draw pirates, fawns, turtles, and other pen-and-ink characters? You sent your sketch to the experts at the Art Instruction Schools, who decided whether you had the chops to be a “serious art student.” I assumed this charmingly low-pressure pitch had long since faded away. Then last weekend, I almost fell over when I saw a TV commercial hawking those same characters and that same pitch. Art Instruction Schools is alive — it’s even online!

Both AIS and FAS are still in operation today, although it’s difficult to estimate how many of their pupils have gone on to have careers in illustration; some of their critics have pointed out that art is very much a hands-on learning experience. Schulz, however, was enamored enough with AIS to migrate to their Minneapolis headquarters after a stint in the Army, becoming an instructor in the late 1940s. While there, he struck up several friendships with fellow teachers and asked if he could use their names for a strip he was planning to submit to newspaper syndicates. Both Linus Maurer and Charlie Brown said yes.

Tamara de Lempicka, who was born Maria Górska, discovered her artistic passion and skill at the age of 12. Lempicka had sat for a famous painter, but hated the resulting portrait, and believed she could do a better job. Thus she created her first painting ever, a portrait of her younger sister Adrienne, with which she was extremely pleased.

Captain America has gone through plenty of wardrobe changes since his comic book debut in 1941, but it’s his iconic shield that has had the most makeovers. Over the past eight decades, fans have seen the shield change its shape, color, and even the material from which it’s crafted. For the folks at Pop Chart Lab, the shield’s storied history provided the perfect subject matter for their latest poster.

The posters will begin shipping on May 23, and you can pre-order yours now starting at $29 on the Pop Chart Lab website. You can check out a full look at the poster below.

Art Institute Drawing Test