Grapes of Wrath Illustration by John Dyess 1960

My senior year at the School of Fine Arts at Washington University, I created three illustrations for an assignment given by my teacher ,Richard Brunell. I don’t remember the details of the assignment just that I illustrated scenes from Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I know I was enfluence by images from the John Ford Movie version of Grapes of Wrath and also the photographs of Dorothea Lange.

Joad family loading truck

Tom Joad and friends

I think these illustrations have the “feel” of the depression. Whenever I saw Richard Brunell after graduation he always mentioned how much he liked these illustrations. He also asked me to teach at Washington University as a guest lecturer,which I did in the 1970s.   These illustrations are drawn without any mechanical aids are digital filters. I look at them today and judge them as “comps” or preliminary sketches for the final illustrations. Recent events in United States remind of this time period. The weakening of unions,unemployment and the loss of family homes.

  1. Tulay Dohle says:

    I like your Illustrations. Richard Brunell was also my teacher. He was a great design teacher…

  2. johndyess says:

    Thank you. Richard Brunell was very encouraging to me in the illustration class he taught. The year he was my teacher was the first year he taught at Washington U.

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