See Clearly

Today’s poster and photograph seems clear enough wartime recruitment propaganda, but there’s a bit more to them than meets the eye. Here a woman factory worker is fitting a mount to a clear acrylic dome structure. It’s a nose cone for an American bomber, in this case a Douglas built Boeing B-17F and her head…

Biff! Pow!

Today a cover from a classic American pulp magazine ‘Airboy Comics’. There’s something refreshingly straightforward in their garish colours, slightly random approach to real aircraft, the clear necessity of having some strange (and special) aircraft for the hero, and then, best of all, the special ‘having a fight on the wing of the airplane in…

Japanese Wing

Today’s Poster is a very strong graphic image from Japan. As yet untranslated [but see below], the text is a mystery to me, but the message of Japanese imperial dominance of the air is clear. An echo of the background, chosen for the match, in the Japanese ‘Hinomaru’ or rising sun wing marking. The central…

CAP & Helmet

Today’s Poster is for America’s Civil Air Patrol or ‘CAP‘. The artist, presumably the ‘Kenney’ from ‘Squadron 511-3’ has chosen the visual cliche of the leather helmeted and goggled aviator’s head, which became a cliche due to its utility as a stand in for ‘aviator’ as we’ve seen before. As the Wiki page linked above…

In Colour! Bombers & Fighters

A pair of books that were passed onto me by my friend Carole Barker, from her father Bernard Thorpe‘s collection. These are based on pre-war information, and were an exciting visual feast, given the paucity of colour printing in the period. On the covers, a pre-war Hawker Hurricane and Vickers Armstrong Wellesley, the Wellesley’s artwork…

Ravilious’ Ark

Today a look at the art of official war artist Eric Ravilious. Having been researching his fascinating artist, I’ve found it very hard to know what to focus on, so here I’ve limited the post to one aspect of his war work, his watercolours of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. First is…

French Ivan

A strong cover design for a paperback in French – ‘Poursuite dans l’Atlantique’ (‘Atlantic Pursuit’) by Ivan Southall by éditions Gérard & C°, 1960. The original book is a rarely seen fictional work by Australian Short Sunderland pilot veteran and later author, translated soon after publication into French. English language details here. Somewhat surprising, to…

Be Paid to gaze skywards!

A newspaper advert for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, using the aviation cliche of ‘gazing skywards’. James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer. Via Dave Homewood.

Bigger Bombs, Yet

It is an axiom that if you need to explain the joke, it’s probably not an effective one. Likewise with illustration, if it needs an explanation, then it’s probably not effective either. Here the illustrated relative increase of the British Royal Air Force Bomber Command’s all-out war on Nazi Germany and their industry is a…

Sussex’s Sonia Imprint

Today a strange story. Firstly a bizarre imprint ‘artwork’ created in a violent accident. Then a design process by my friend and colleague, professional artist Ronne Olsthoorn, to explain the imprint. On 26 July 1945, the British cruiser HMS Sussex was attacked by two Japanese bomber aircraft acting as kamikaze suicide weapons. One bounced off…