Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mitchell Hooks

Since I know virtually nothing about Mitchell Hooks himself except that he was a fellow Detroiter,  the following is the artist's bio that appeared in Walt Reed's The Illustrator in America.

"The career of Mitchell Hooks (1923-1913), like that of many other artists of the post-World War II era has been involved to a great extent with paintings for paperback book covers. His interpretations have a strong poster quality, in keeping with the need to hold their own on display with other competing titles on the bookstands, but also have a subtlety and sensitivity that attracts a closer and longer look.

In addition to his book designs for Avon, Bantam, Dell, Popular Library and Fawcett publications, Hooks has illustrated for Costmopolitan, The Saturday Evening Post, The Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, McCall's, Woman's Day and other magazines.

Mitchell was born in Detroit, Michigan, and obtained his art education at the Cass Technical High School there. Later he studied further with James Billmeyer in New York. After the way, and Occupation duty as a Second Lieutenant in Germany, he returned to New York to begin his free-lance illustration career.

In recent years, Hooks has become more diversified, dividing his work between magazines, hardcover books, paperback covers and advertising. Hardcover books include illustrations for The Franklin Library, Reader's Digest Books and Coronado Publishers."

But while I know very little about the man himself, his illustrations have  been a source of inspiration to me since I first discovered them when I started my tearsheet collection many years back. Hooks was a precise draftsman,  and despite the spontaneous style that he painted in, that quality always showed through. He had a strong sense of color and knew how to effectively and emotionally use it. But what really sold me was the way his cinematic storytelling drew you into the complicated designs of his compositions. 


  1. Hooks displayed quite a diverse range throughout his career. My favorite piece here is the cover to "Guilty Bystander." You feel like you're actually in the bedroom. I also recognize the artwork for the 1979 Sean Connery movie, "Cuba." Excellent work throughout.

  2. Thanks for the sharing. Some great pictures here.

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