J. J. Sedelmaier

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The Ages Of “21″

In 1936, the former speakeasy and NYC restaurant-club, Jack & Charlie's "21" (what we now know as The 21 Club) published, "The Iron Gate" as a self-promotional tool.

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Post-Modern Storybook Illustrations

I consider myself very lucky to have been exposed to children’s books as a kid that were published way before my time—it gave me a wonderful perspective on everything from design and illustration to historical content. A good example is “The Modern Storybook” from the 1930′s. I grew up reading my father’s copy of...

Hand Drawn Design from Cover to Cover

In 1927, Samuel Welo published his first edition of “Studio Handbook: Letter And Design For Artists And Advertisers.” But this collection of fonts, ornaments, logos and other ad elements was not only meant to provide specific examples of design to the user. It also reminds the reader of the importance of composition—hand drawn composition....

Illustrated Aviation Books By Assen Jordanoff

As a kid, whenever I’d visit my Grandmother’s house in Columbus, OH, I’d make a beeline to her bookshelf. It consisted of books on public health and education (she worked with the Ohio State Department of Health), as well as books my Dad had gotten as a kid. Books like original Edgar Rice Burroughs...

Hirschfeld, Do Re Mi, and Peacock Feet

  I’ve always loved Al Hirschfeld’s work. It seems so timeless and each image he created was always a treat to visually wander through—even without his playful “Ninas.” He had solidly established his style of designed caricature by the mid 1930′s and it changed little until he passed away in 2003. While browsing in...

The Vintage Speedball Textbook

I once found a set of Speedball pen nibs as a kid. I was familiar with conventional pen and ink usage, but had never seen nibs like this before. It wasn’t until taking a calligraphy course in college (with Professor Don Anderson, author of “The Art Of Written Forms”) that I ran across them...

Covering Print Magazine, 1940-1953

The magazine we all call Print has had a half dozen different names since its inception in June of 1940. It was originally a limited-edition periodical that discussed the endless techniques used in the graphic arts industry, and even included original prints and tipped-in features within. From its first edition up to Volume VII,...

Graphically Seasoned Greetings!

Last year at this time, I did a post on past holiday cards that J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. has sent out over the years. This year I’m presenting some of the greetings the studio has RECEIVED throughout the years! They all speak for themselves . . . and my apologies to Steven Heller and...

Keeping Everyone in the Loop: 50 Years of Chicago “L” Graphics

A recent visit to Chicago reminded me of how enamored I am of its rapid transit. It’s so much a part of what makes Chicago unique and exciting to me. Chicago is one of those cities with a “sound” to it—San Francisco being another—and the elevated “L” system is the reason why. Much of...

Many Happy (Tax) Returns: A Marxist Doctrine

With all of us looking at the Fiscal Cliff on the horizon, who better to explain things than Marx . . . . . . GROUCHO Marx. About 15 years ago, I traded my signed copy of The Groucho Letters to the animation creator/director Tom Warburton for his 1942 edition of Groucho Marx’s second...