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 Jon Whitcomb  (1906 - 1988)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/Oklahoma      Known for: illustrator-romance genre-faces

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BIOGRAPHY for Jon Whitcomb
1906 (Weatherford, Oklahoma)


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illustrator-romance genre-faces

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Illustrator, Jon Whitcomb was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and raised in Manitowic, Wisconsin. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University and graduated from Ohio State where he did pictures for the school publications and worked during the summer painting posters for a theater in Cleveland.

Whitcomb majored in English with an ambition to write, but switched to art classes. After graduation he was able to obtain work in a series of studios doing travel and theater posters, as well as general advertising illustrations.

In 1934, he moved to New York to combine studio work with free-lance illustration. His first illustrations were for Collier's, followed by Good Housekeeping, and then the others in succession as Whitcomb's pretty girls began to attract enthusiastic readership.

His career was interrupted by World War II when he was commissioned a Lieutenant, j.g. in the Navy. His assignments varied from mine-sweeping duty to off the East coast, to the Public Relations Department in Washington, to the Pacific as a combat artist with the invasions of Tinian, Saipan, and Peleliu. After hospitalization for tropical infections, he was discharged in 1945 and resumed his art career. During World War II, a series of illustrations for advertisements he created on the theme, "Back Home for Keeps," became a pin-up fad for women deprived of their husbands or sweethearts.

Whitcomb's writing ability became useful when he began to do a monthly series of sketches and articles about motion picture stars for Cosmopolitan, called "On Location with Jon Whitcomb." He has also written several short stories, two children's books about poodles, Coco, and Pom Pom's Christmas, and a book about feminine glamour, All About Girls.


Born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, Jon Whitcomb became known for his portraits of celebrities, especially glamourous women. He was also a poster artist and worked in art advertising in Chicago and Cleveland. In Chicago, he was a teacher at the Famous Artists School. He illustrated for magazines including McCalls, Ladies Home Journal, and Redbook.

Source: Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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