Monday, May 01, 2023

Sandy Kossin 1926 - 2023


Sanford "Sandy" Kossin has passed away. 


Via AskArt:

Born in Los Angeles, California, Sanford Kossin was an illustrator who worked in New York City. His assignments included science fiction and children's magazines, book covers, and the Bay of Pigs invasion for Life magazine. He was a life member of the Society of Illustrators, with whom he also exhibited.

A favorite subject for him was humor, which he expressed in work for Boys' Life, Reader's Digest and more than a dozen children's books.

He studied in Los Angeles at the Jepson Art Institute with Rico Lebrun and Herbert Jepson and was a part-time drawing teacher for ten years at the Parsons School of Design and also taught for two years at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.


Sandy was a friend and fellow Berndt Toast Gang member. Many times, we lunched at the same table with the Gang, talking about drawing. He introduced me to Pigma Micron pens, showing me how permanent the ink was by drawing a line with one on a piece of paper and then wetting his finger and dragging it over. "See? No smudge."

He also told me the key to getting color down: limit your palette. A couple colors, vary your hues, and that's it. That's the key to getting color work done fast. And, under the pen and brush of Sandy Kossin, ALWAYS looking good. 


His 93rd birthday cake, with tiny covers of books and magazines he's produced. Hat tip to Roberta Fabiano for this and other photos. 

Berndt Toast Gang chair Adrian Sinnott:

Another incredible talent and good friend gone. Sandy Kossin, proud Berndt Toast Gang, National Cartoonists Society and Society of Illustrators Hall of fame member has passed. Here's his bio from the BTG 50th anniversary show in 2016:
"Sandy Kossin has illustrated countless paperback covers and posters, notably The Shadow, The Last Temptation of Christ and Beckett and the Train. Building images with line became the hallmark of any Sandy Kossin painting. Starting with his roots in West Los Angeles near MGM Studios, Kossin eventually moved to New York City following his service in World War II. As his drawing skills improved, he managed to get his work in front of the right people– those who encouraged his desire to incorporate better concepts through better drawing. Each endeavor gave him more information for the next piece, while consistently maintaining the strength of his drawing. He was inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ prestigious Hall of Fame in 2012"
LIFE magazine was known for the photographs that graced its pages but when they needed art to go along with their article on the "Bay of Pigs," they called Sandy. 
Sandy really loved the humorous work he did. Children's books, movie posters and even work for MAD magazine. Lots of his work is visible on the apparently, and sadly, dormant blog of Leif Peng:
And a bit from me: When I was working as a graphic designer in Manhattan some paperbacks were delivered to us for use in a catalog. I took one look and saved those covers. I thought to myself, “I wish I could draw like that!” Of course, the art was Sandy’s. It was from the Alvin Fernald series of kids books. He was a tremendous influence and it was a wonderful twist of fate to get to know him and become friends.

Sanford “Sandy” Kossin is one of the best. You may not remember him as he stopped working professionally some years back, preferring instead to draw from the live model to keep his formidable drawing skills sharp. Selfishly, I never agreed with that. I wanted more and more from him. I wanted to keep running into his work on paperback covers or Boy’s Life, like I had as a kid.

Sandy hit his stride through the 60’s and 70’s, working for major corporations, major magazines, major movies, and about every major project that appeared over those years. He was hot and in high demand.


I was fortunate to have lunch with Drew Friedman, Victor Juhasz and Sandy at the Society of Illustrators some years ago. It was Drew's idea, and a terrific time was had. After lunch, we wandered the galleries and Sandy was talking about the techniques that the illustrators used and what did I think of them? He always loved illustration and was one of the best himself.

Sandy's work was prolific and I knew it well before I met him. Here are just a few more samples. 

I will miss him asking, "How are you, m'lad?" -- which was his form of address with me. Years later, when I told him about that limited palette tip that he gave me had saved me many hours when putting together a color finish, he laughed and said he had no recollection. It was a pleasure to know this talented gentleman, and to call him friend.

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