Motor Illustrator: Walter Jardine
July 1924 cover. In a large city car dealership, a well-dressed young salesman speaks about a car's features to a well-appointed young couple, she in a red dress and he sporting a straw boater hat.
Walter Lacy Jardine (May 6, 1884 — February 27, 1970) was an Australian commercial artist who, from an early age, showed promise as an artist. About 1896, he entered an apprenticeship program with John H. Leonard, a newspaper cartoonist. He also studied design and drawing at the popular Sydney commercial art school run by John Samuel Watkins. Jardine's first real job was as an illustrator and advertising artist with the Australian Star. He was charged with bringing to life pictures of criminals, socialites, politicians, and others, and he learned to work quickly and accurately. Though the paper's name changed to the Sydney Sun in 1910, Jardine was content with a career at the paper, remaining there for twenty years and drawing a number of well-recognized, full-page, black-and-white illustrations.
As much as he enjoyed his work at the paper, he was also a young man in search of his fortune. In 1904, for instance he illustrated the book The Coloured Conquest. From about 1905 to 1917, he entered a partnership with J. B. Jones. They formed advertising company J. & J. Ltd. and offered employment to a staff of twenty artists and apprentices. About three years into the partnership, Jardine took a trip to Continental Europe and the U.S., studying illustration and advertising. He figured, rightly, that he could pay for the trip by working as a freelance artist in the States.
He returned home and, in 1918, married. Life in New York appealed to him, however, and the Jardines settled there in 1923. His work was soon seen in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, MoToR (1924), and the American Legion Magazine, as well as in advertisements for E.R. Squibb & Sons (toothpaste), York Manufacturing Co. (refrigerators), General Motors, Durant Motors, Inc., and Packard. He also designed booklets and campaign posters.
Health issues caused him to return to Australia in 1928, and he continued in the freelance advertising field, illustrating advertisements for Qantas Empire Airways; BVD men's underwear; Barnet Glass Tyres; Seppelts wine; Orient Line cruises; Tooth's stout; Burns, Phil & Co., Ltd travel; Akubra hats; William Arnott Ltd. cookies; Stamina D.B. suits and trousers; Whitmont clothing; Radiotrons radio tubes; Toohey's stout, ale, and lager; and Watson's whiskey. His work gained sufficient notoriety that a book, The Art of Walter Jardine, was published in 1932. He illustrated the 1940 movie "It's a Date" for The Film Weekly and designed at least one movie poster, for 1945's "Sons of Matthew".
During World War II, he was commissioned to design war posters such as 1941's "This Is a Man's Job" for the Australian Air Force; 1942's "Keep 'Em Flying" for the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force; and 1942's "Career for Youth" and 1943's "Join the RAAF Air Training Corps" for the Royal Australian Air Force.
From the thirties into the sixties, Jardine taught correspondence courses for Melbourne's Art Training Institute. In partnership with W. F. Paterson, he formed the Walter Jardine Advertising Service (later re-named Jardine, Paterson & Co.), which did business from 1945 to 1959. In the mid-sixties, he designed a set of Australian postage stamps. He died at home, aged 96.
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