was hired to work in the art department of Playboy
magazine in Chicago in the mid-1960's and soon began drawing in-house caricatures of various staffers. When Playboy
(Very Important Playboys),
for members of their then-popular Playboy clubs, starting with issue #11, (Winter 1966), Bill Utterback created the thick-outlined B&W watercolor portraits of the musicians, singers and especially the comedians who were booked at the clubs, sometimes up to eight per issue for their "entertainment calender". He would draw around 200 images till the feature was dropped in winter, 1973.
|Comics Jackie Curtiss, Shelley Berman, Mort Sahl|
Many of his, (enlarged), portraits of performers would hang in the various Playboy clubs to promote the performer's appearences. I've blogged about the art of Bill Utterback and recently presented his work at a Society of Illustrators talk with fellow illustrator Stephen Kroninger:
Since then, many more of Utterback's 1960's/1970's VIP
Comedian images have been unearthed thanks to my friend, pop-culture historian John Wendler. Most if not all of these wonderful silhouettees of comics, many long forgotten, haven't been seen since they were first published in VIP
and even then, only by members of the Playboy Clubs. If you're seeing these for the first time, enjoy.
A big thanks to John Wendler for supplying all of the images.
|a two-page Entertainer Calender spread from VIP using Bill Utterback's caricatures|
|(Teter and McDonald LP cover by Utterback)|
|Utterback's depection of a reunion of members of "Second City" from over the years|