Friday, September 25, 2009


I wouldn't have recognised the name Jack Davis before I met my husband, who's a great fan of Davis artwork, often found on LP sleeves and book covers, in magazines, and advertisements. Whenever we visit antiques stores on our travels he can be found rifling through piles of LPs and magazine covers, searching for examples of Jack Davis's artwork he hasn't yet acquired.

Jack Davis is an illustrator and cartoonist, he draws a mean caricature, and it's said he's one of the fastest "draws" in the nation. The ability to catch facial likeness on paper always intrigues me - and to have the talent to do so at speed is mind-boggling. Such skill requires a particularly incisive eye and mind.

From Wikipedia

"Because Davis could do cartoon illustrations in a matter of minutes, he was sometimes called upon to save ad campaigns which had gone awry. This combination of speed and top clients at one time made Davis the highest paid illustrator in the world. Davis said many of his assignments came from art directors who had grown up reading Mad (magazine)."

Born 2 December 1924 in Atlanta, Georgia, Jack has his 85th birthday just around the corner. His chart is set for 12 noon, the exact time of birth isn't known. Moon position will not be accurate, and rising sign can't be calculated without a birth time, so house positions are in question too.

Jack Davis's Sun, Jupiter and Mercury in Sagittarius nicely reflect his light-hearted good humoured approach to illustration. Jupiter (excess, expansion, and publication) and Mercury (communication) are conjoined symbolising his prolific output leading to mass publication in a variety of forms. Neptune, planet of creativity and imagination is in helpful trine to Mercury/Jupiter from Leo.

There are two other conjoined pairs of planets: Saturn/Venus in Scorpio and Mars/Uranus in Pisces. Venus, planet of the arts and Saturn planet of hard work blend together in Scorpio (here's his incisive insight), as do Mars (energy - possibly where his speed comes from too, and Uranus (quirky, zany) in imaginative Pisces.

Moon at 12 noon on the day Jack Davis was born was in Pisces; if he was born in the morning, at 7am or earlier, Moon would have been in Aquarius. It's not easy to guess which is more likely. I think Moon in Pisces best reflects his kindly approach, yet his pull towards a quirky cartoon style seems more Aquarian.

It's easy to recognise Jack Davis illustrations by looking at the feet of the characters he draws, they are always oddly ultra-long.

More illustrations HERE and via Google Image.


Ron Southern said...

Nobody is more fun than Jack Davis. I haven't kept track lately and am glad to hear he's still going. I used to see his work in Mad magazine and got to where I'd recoognize his work in "straighter" serious advertising. He reminds me of the ubiquitous Mel Blanc, the actor and voice actor of a million cartoons. Both of them evidently really liked to work!

anyjazz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anyjazz said...

This is a fine page on one of our most unrecognized contemporary artists

As you know, Jack Davis is my HERO illustrator. On his birthday in December, I plan a page of his art that I have collected since the '50's.

Twilight said...

RonSouthern ~~~ I had to seek advice from the husband as to who Mel Blanc is :-) Now I know.

Jack Davis is certainly prolific, work-wise.
I bet he's a nice guy too.

Twilight said...

Anyjazz ~~~ Thank you kindly & I shall look forward to your page honoring JD in December. :-)

Ron Southern said...

I don't know about "nice guy". If you go back to the days of the Mad comic books, his art seemed distinctly "mad" indeed. But maybe he couldn't do any different with that subject matter, eh?

Twilight said...

RonS. ~~~ Yes, MAD contents required mad illustrations I suppose, though I'm not familiar with the publication, apart from its name and reputation.

I haven't found anything much on JD's personality except a snippet from crazy where it says "This consummate Southern gentleman has an easygoing personality and a relaxed attitude about life. "

He's made it to almost 85 reasonably unscathed, so being easygoing and relaxed is probably the best thing to aim for.

Say after me "OMMMmmmmmmmmm....OMmmmmmmm"

Ron Southern said...

Probably all true, and not much is these days!