Saturday, December 3, 2011

R.I.P. Dugald Stermer 1936 - 2011

I just hear the sad news today that noted illustrator, educator and designer Dugald Stermer passed away at the age of 75. Dugald was born in 1936 and grew up in Los Angeles. He loved drawing and cartooning which led him to study art at UCLA.

After working at a design job in Houston, he eventually found himself at San Francisco based Ramparts magazine. Under Stermer's art direction, Ramparts was transformed from a "two year old Catholic literary quarterly that resembled  the poetry annual of a Midwestern girls school" into what was considered the first "radical slick" by combining hard hitting investigative stories, and high quality, full color production, all on glossy paper. Subscriber rates soared but the magazine eventually folded five years after Stermer left.

Dugald went on to a forty year career as a freelance illustrator, winning multiple awards from all the major professional annuals. Notable clients included Levi's, BMW, Jaguar, Time, The New York Times, Esquire, GQ and Rolling Stone.

He also designed the medals for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Stermer was also a noted educator, teaching for many years at the California College of the Arts where he earned Distinguished Professor status and chaired the art department.

On a personal note, I had the pleasure of meeting Dugald during the first ICON conference in Santa Fe in 1999. I was just a few years into my freelance career and was still a bit starstruck meeting such illustration superstars as Brad Holland, Gary Kelley, Jack Unruh, Chis Payne and of course Dugald Stermer. Though he did not know me, Dugald took the time to really look at my work and give me much appreciated encouragement as well as valuable feedback. I will always appreciate our conversation.

From all accounts, Stermer was like this with everyone and frequently took time to evaluate and encourage upcoming artists. He was also a staunch supporter of artist's rights and was on the advisory board of the Illustrators Partnership of America.  His talent and generosity will be greatly missed.

See more of Stermer's brilliant work here
Brad Holland remembers Dugald
Peter Richardson tribute to Stermer


Candace Trew Camling said...

that is so sad. I was a huge fan of his work. So beautiful! He will be missed!

Amy said...

What an amazing talent! I was not familiar with this artist. Thanks for your post.