The following posts represent an homage to the extraordinary artists and illustrators who work on-the-spot as visual journalists…to report, with keen eye and hand, on our world and culture. See the beta mobile version.

Leanne Shapton


In a few short years illustrator, author and e-pat Canadian, Leanne Shapton, has exemplified herself in paint and line as a sophisticated observer of the current culture and in the small yet universal moments from her life. These watercolors from the New York Times showcase her Thursday night visitations.

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Gabriel Campanario


Gabriel Campanario AKA The Seattle Sketcher is a contemporary visual journalist that works for the The Seattle Times. His love for Seattle propelled him to capture scenes in drawings and text, where he interviews the locals and locale with heart and immediacy. Read a sample article and visit Gabi’s blog.

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Howard Brodie

Howard Brodie died on September 24, 2010 at the age of 94. He was the consummate visual journalist. He was known primarily as a war artist but seemlessly graduated to courtroom artist in the 60’s through the 80’s, covering many major trials like the Chicago Seven, Charles Manson and Patty Hearst.  Although primarily a freelancer for most of his career, he was employed, like me, as a staff artist  at the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the New York Times article here. His ‘Drawing Fire’ book here.

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Yuko Shimuzu

Yuko Shimuzu’s friend Ryan recently passed away. She posted drawings and text from her sketchbook documenting his life at her page at Drawger.com. There’s a prophetic poignancy in these graphics.

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Veronica Lawlor

I recently attended a conference where New York-based illustrator Veronica Lawlor spoke about the drawings she created on September 11, 2001.  She ran towards (and drew) the towers as they fell. These emotionally-charged reportage drawings are now part of the Smithsonian Collection in Washington.

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Jeffrey deCoster

Jeff Decoster is a skillful and unique editorial illustrator and painter.  He is also a friend of mine. I hesitated to add him in my list of Heros but his work is so fresh and skillfully combines historical and modernist ideas that I had to include him.

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William A. Smith

William A. Smith was a premier narrative illustrator for magazines and advertising but it’s the drawings he did as a soldier posted to a Chinese prison in 1944 that truly resonate. You can view his work on this Flickr set. Some of these beautiful and sympathetic original drawings are being shown in my town of San Rafael, California at Dominican University till the end of the year. Leif Pang created this blog for him.

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Alan E. Cober

Willowbrook

One on my greatest reportage artist heroes is Alan E. Cober. I discovered Alan’s work  back in 1975 with his Dover book called ‘The Forgotten Society‘ of people in prisons, asylums, old folks homes, courtrooms and at the circus. He gets close to his subjects and allows the experience of the moment and the place to intuitively influence his drawing.