Saturday, November 20, 2010

Camouflage Artist | Eric Sloane

Cover of Eric Sloane, Camouflage Simplified (New York: Devin Adair, 1942).

Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a widely-known American artist and author, who wrote and illustrated (with exquisite pen-and-ink drawings) a 60-page overview of the principles of camouflage, titled Camouflage Simplified (New York: Devin Adair, 1942). It's a challenge to locate a copy to buy (the lowest price I found online a few minutes ago was $300), but it should be available through interlibrary loan, since, according to WorldCat, about 90 US libraries have it in their collections. Here's more about Sloane from a biographical article in Camoupedia: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage (p. 362)—

[Sloane's] name at birth was Everard Jean Hinrichs. In 1919, his family moved to Long Island, where he became friends with his neighbor, the typographer Frederic Goudy, who taught him hand-lettering. He then studied briefly at the Art Students League (where he was influenced by John Sloan, whose name he would adopt c.1934, while adding an e at the end), and at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, where he was enrolled as a “graphic advertising major.” Due to poor attendance and failure to submit his work, he never completed his courses, yet he decided soon after to enroll at Yale University, where he lasted only several months. In the 1930s, through his interest in flying, he became friends with aviator Wiley Post, in the process of which he decided to paint “cloudscapes.” He studied meteorology at MIT, and later, during World War II, served with the Army Air Force as an instructional interpreter of complex flight-related terms.