I especially like the map covers because dad often used my sisters and I, and mom and himself, as models. Looking through our collections of his old maps today is a little like looking at early family pictures.
Frank also did illustrations for the Magazine Management Co., a publisher in NYC that produced the Marvel Comics as well as a host of adult-material and men’s adventure magazines with names like Stag, Men, Man’s World, Male, For Men Only, Sportsman, and Sport Trails. Authors would write wild stories of war and hunting adventures, jungle women, pirates, man-eating animals, etc. and Frank would illustrate them. He even used a favorite model, named Steve Holland, who had a rugged outdoorsman appearance that was perfect for these illustrations.
During the 1960’s, there were two concurrent changes that caused a transformation in Frank’s career. First, he began to grow weary of the tight, detailed work required in most commercial illustrations. He was in his 50’s, his eyesight was beginning to wane, and it became difficult to work with gouache, straight-edges and air brushes. He had been studying watercolor under Charles Kinghan in New Rochelle, NY, since about 1960. Kinghan painted in the style of Ted Kautzky and Herb Olsen, and Frank continued in that style, quickly mastering the techniques. He loved the loose, free flow of transparent watercolors much more than the oil painting he had studied in the 1930’s. By 1965, he was teaching his own watercolor classes in Ridgefield, CT.
Secondly, photography was coming of age, and publishers were using more photographs and fewer illustrations. This put many illustrators out of business. For a while, Frank struggled to make ends meet, but he was determined to make the transition from commercial to fine art.
In 1966, while on a business trip to one of his longtime clients, the Providence Lithograph Co. in Rhode Island, Frank walked into Red Farm Studios, a greeting card