My Adventures as an Illustrator 'I Paint Another Post Cover' 1959
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
The final chapter of the autobiography tells the day-by-day experience of creating a Saturday Evening Post cover. Since Rockwell wasn't in the habit of keeping a journal, these calendar entries remain the single most important documentation of the artist's methods and thought processes on his work and are highly cherished by students of illustration. The drawing of a tree is sketched from one of Rockwell's references, a twelfth-century Dutch genealogy provided by the Berkshire Athenaeum. In the original graphic, the tree bears a coat of arms for each member of the family; in Rockwell's painting of Family Tree these are replaced with portraits. In almost all of his important work, Rockwell poses a problem to solve as an artist. Great challenges that were self-imposed, like the problem of physically and sociologically relating each of the Family Tree characters to the next generation, motivated Rockwell and kept his work interesting to viewers. "Telling the story in a picture isn't as simple as it looks. It's a struggle. At least for me. The original idea has to be refined, perfected. All the parts must fit together, interlock. If one contradicts another the story crumbles."