Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dean Cornwell Notes Part1

(all images Dean Cornwell)

By Armand Cabrera


A student of Harvey Dunn, Dean Cornwell was one of the top illustrators in the Untied States in the 1920's and 1930's. At the height of his career he gave up illustration to become a mural painter, studying in England with Frank Brangwyn. Dean Cornwell espoused many of the philosophies of his two teachers Dunn and Brangwyn and these notes reflect that philosophy.


Don’t imitate the artists you admire. Be inspired by the ideals they put into their work- use their sincerity as an ideal but develop your own individuality.



In good sound painting the important qualities are color, design and surface quality, while in illustration; form particularly, character and spirit are the prime requirements. An illustration must be a picture and not a diagram of the text.

There are no rules for good composition. The subject matter and the spirit or idea should dictate and govern the composition of any particular picture.

Anguish and worry mixed with paint is never good towards a happy end.

A picture had much better be interesting than accurate. It is what you have to say and how you say it that interests anyone.

It is difficult to convince the average student that pictures are not produced with paint. Neither are they made from the wrist.



When you travel, sketch the things that characterize a place, not the things it has in common with other places.

Get the smell of a place and try to paint smells rather than visuals

Don’t paint a picture of a man, paint a man.





A good composition must be a good abstraction

Discipline yourself; the things we do without discipline generally get us into trouble.

Develop a style so far removed from the photographic standpoint the camera can’t supplant you.

In all my references to painting I bar the ultra-modern

I do not believe the government should support any artist because he found picture making more pleasant than pants-pressing!