Sunday, August 10, 2008


"Blast Off with Walt Disney Magazine" Illustration, 1959

Today let's revel in some original illustrations created in the late 1950s by a handful of artists for Walt Disney Magazine.  Inspired by the immense popularity of the Mickey Mouse Club television program, this high-quality periodical for kids featured stories about young studio stars, as well as articles touching on science, music and the interesting world around us.

Best of all is the sophisticated art direction lavished upon each issue by staff artist Paul Hartley. An accomplished illustrator himself, Hartley is revered today for having designed the look of Walt Disney's Cold War-era classic, Our Friend the Atom, as well as several of the original silk-screened attraction posters for Disneyland.

Here's a comical painting by Hartley for a story called The Pink Hat published in the August 1957 issue.   (Click small images to view at larger sizes on Flickr.)

"The Pink Hat" Illustration by Paul Hartley, 1957

Legendary Disneyland designer Herb Ryman created this modern airport scene for a "Spin and Marty" adventure in 1959. 

Spin and Marty Illustration by Herb Ryman, 1959

Al Dempster, a golden boy of Little Golden Books, painted this fantastic depiction of Johnny Appleseed for the series "Heroes of American Folklore" in 1957.

"Johnny Appleseed" Illustration by Al Dempster, 1957

The uncredited title illustration for "Yellowstone: Land of Burning Mountains" published in June 1957, may have been the work of writer Milt Banta, who was also an artist. Banta died at a very young age, at 36, in late 1959.

"Yellowstone" Illustration (by Milt Banta?) 1957
Can't get enough of this good stuff?
"Pink Shoelaces" Illustration, 1959
A hug around the neck to Miss Stacia Martin- an illustrious illustrator herself- for identifying the titles and artists of these images.  Thanks a million, Stacia! 


Matt said...

Gosh - I love those space people! Wish I could draw like that.

Kevin Kidney said...

Matt, If anyone could, YOU could!

Jeffrey Pepper said...

Great stuff, Kevin! Thanks for sharing.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Nice stuff! Thanks for posting!

Matt Jones said...

Fantastic examples!

Major Pepperidge said...

Really wonderful, so clear and simple, yet so much fun to look at.

Ellen Bloom said...

Thanks for posting such great artwork!!!

Oooooooo..."Spin and Marty"....LOVED that show! Perkins was my fave.

Kelly Light said...

I happily stumbled upon this blog- it makes me smile! Thanks!

Tony said...

Cool illustrations. Love that style. Bring back Walt Disney Magazine! ;)

Amazon Belle said...

Hey Kevin,
Keep up the great work! We all owe Stacia Martin a big hug. When time permits give me a quick e-mail at We have a linkedin group I think you might want to join.

Matt said...

how many Matt's can comment on this post? At least 4 :) I LOVE this mid-century style, especially fond of the space helmets - very Jetsons.

KevinA said...


I think I have a drawing done by Paul Hartley in th early 50's early 60's. Its abot 10' x 20'. So its pretty big. Done in oil paint on a canvas. Can you help me identify it?

KevinA said...

If you can help let me know where to send the pictures (email address)

Unknown said...

Kevin I am Paul Hartley's daughter. Send me a photo and I'll see if I can help!