I've said before how much I dislike stock photography, specifically of people. I've had to use it over the years and after a few minutes of looking at it, trying to choose the perfect image for the job, I start to feel as if I'm stuck in the town of Stepford. The people all start to look the same. Their clothes are the same. Their smiles all look the same. And their eyes, their eyes look like they're ready for the next pose even before it's happened. They're there to sell product and they know it. They dare not offend. They dare not be original. They are to represent all of us and at the same time none of us. And they're everywhere.

I miss the days when illustration was used throughout magazines. It wasn't just the articles/stories that were illustrated; the advertising was still using illustration.

What follows are images from ads in the July 1918 Delineator magazine. On a few of them you'll see signatures of the artist, but most are nameless. I have removed text for all but one so the product will be unknown.

If anyone has anything to contribute about any of the illustrators I'd be happy to include it.

Click on any image to see it larger.

(SOURCE: The Delineator, July 1918)

Now, try to imagine each of these ads done today; lifeless looking people with perfect smiles. Vacuous. Corporate drones. Yes, I miss seeing illustration in advertising with an illustrators imagination at work.


  1. Advertising has obviously change a lot in the passed century. These illustrations are fantastic, but I can't see modern day consumers connecting to to them as advertisements, unfortunately. except for the last one.

    1. You're right. The only place illustration is still used more than photos is in children's books and magazines like Cricket.