Tom Lamb (1896-1988) was a children's book illustrator who illustrated for books, Good Housekeeping and did a line of children's illustrations called Kiddyland that was put on textiles. And he was also an industrial designer who specialized in handles. Yes, handles -- he was very into making handles functional, and worked on everything from luggage to cutlery. But my favorite Tom Lamb creation is the whimsical book "Bing-O" that was published by Volland. Bing-O was a swastika-wearing monkey who goes on a journey of discovery and returns home a hero.
Bing-O, wearing his swastika
The other industrial designer/illustrator was a genius. Not that Tom Lamb wasn't extraordinary, but he wasn't John Vassos (1898-1985.) Vassos designed everything from subway turnstiles to accordions, cutlery, microscopes and probably most noteworthy, TV/radio/record player cabinetry. His work was very art deco
in nature -- spare, graphic and beautiful.
Vassos most certainly didn't do graphic arts for children's books -- he did illustrations for his own books like "Contempo" and "Phobia" that were dark and a bit chilling, yet visually stunning. Some of his most famous work is for Oscar Wilde works like "Harlot's House," "The Ballad of Reading Gaol, " and "Salome." His work from "Salome" is perhaps his best-known. Aubrey Beardsely did some pretty kick-ass illustrators for that play, but I honestly like what Vassos did better.
|Vassos illustration for Oscar Wilde's "Salome"|
Perhaps Lamb and Vassos are proof that over-specializing is overrated.