My Newest Treasure

I recently acquired a new treasure. A new monograph on the illustrator, John Alcorn called John Alcorn – Evolution by Design. I say illustrator because that’s how I know his work. I was introduced to him in the early 80s through his clever, whimsical and delightful pen and ink drawings that graced the pages of design and illustration annuals of the time.

I had lost touch with his work until I discovered this exquisite, oversized book, in of all places, the Moleskine store. Moleskine joined the ranks of art book publishers with a series of compendiums of the sketchbook output of artists, designers and architects. John Alcorn – Evolution by Design is among their first titles to go beyond that original format and they have done a terrific job.

The book is curated and co-written by Alcorn’s son Steven. The younger Alcorn provides marvelous insight into all phases of the older Alcorn’s career. From his first days as a professional, working at the legendary Push Pin Studios, to his CBS days under the tutelage of Lou Dorfsman, and on to his long and varied solo career.

My newest addition in my library
My newest addition in my library

Mag Cover sprd

Color illo detail

Probably my favorite illustration in the book
Probably my favorite illustration in the book

The book is a true testament to Alcorn’s prolific output, his varied style and evolution as an illustrator. But the biggest surprise to me was his skill level as a graphic designer. I learned so much about the man whose work I admired so long ago, including his untimely death at the age of 56 in 1992. However, I was disappointed with the lack of information about his death. It leads the reader to wonder what happened instead of what could have been.

All in all, a must have in my library.

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