Famous Artist Course

There are four Geezers, that I know of, who completed the (original) Famous Artist Course. Norm Nicholson, Dick Moore, Gregory Atwood and myself (Ann Thompson). There may be more of us…who took advantage of this correspondence course…maybe we will hear from  them.

This from Norm, first referring to ADASF and then the Famous Artist Course: Now this may give my age away. Yes, I remember the Art Directors and Artists Club on Clay St. I was just discharged from the Navy in 1954 as the Korean War wound down. Max Landphere bless his soul hired me as a starting illustrator in 1954. I only had my Navy uniform as I showed up for an interview, with a batch of drawings, probably pictures of Navy ships and sailors. Max asked me on a couple of occasions to tend bar at the ADASF club during several evening events. Better than swabing decks or chipping paint on a Destroyer.

The other memory of the club was in the winter of 1956.  I was awarded the Famous Artists Course from Westport Connecticut in a state wide competition. The presentation was made by noted illustrator Al Parker who had just recently relocated to Carmel Valley from Connecticut. The summer of ’56, I was accepted into the illustration program at Art Center College. I used that much appreciated award from the club as those books and course became back up material for me at Art Center until I graduated.
Ah! memories / Norm Nicholson

I started FA when I was still in the navy, also on a destroyer, for my first two years, also discharged in ’54.  Continued FA during a two year stay in Oklahoma and a 2 1/2 year stint in Albuquerque. Then onto SF. Hired on with Patterson and Hall in 1959 for a two week stay till the summer slump hit and then it was hit the pavement until Fred Meinke and I met and it’s all history after that. I gave my FA books away during my hippie days.

Dick Moore

When I was a Junior at Santa Rosa High School
…I took the drawing test, when you answered FA magazine ad. When the salesman visited the house, I figured that I was on my way to a big career.  Mom, my sister (one year older)…and I enjoyed the pitch and thought the correspondence school a great idea.

My sister, then, became more interested…(we had always competed in our art…she concentrating on drawing pretty girls and fashion…and I had the corner on cartoons). I don’t remember how the opportunity for the course…slipped away from me, but my sister got signed up for it. I guessed that since my sister was then a Senior about to leave school, my mother thought that she should have “first choice”. It had been my idea, but she got it.

As time would tell… we moved to Westlake, Daly City that summer and my sister signed up with San Francisco State College.  She had completed a couple of the FA lessons and began losing interest or was deep into her college studies. I had seen all of the books…and I still wanted to go through the assignments. Finally, with an additional fee….I got it all in my name. I took the lessons while in my senior year, a great advantage in that high school  offered only one class of painting and sculpture…nothing in the graphic arts.

I still have the books!







Here are my books, and photos, of we three FA Alumni. Norm’s photo…pre 1954…(FA student from 1956). Dick and I as FA students…1951 and 1959.