Biography of Freeman Elliott
Elliott is best known for the three Artist's Sketch Pads he illustrated for Brown and Bigelow from 1949 to 1951. Each page of these twelve-page calendars had a primary pin-up figure surrounded by several razor-crisp side sketches commenting in some way on the main picture. The large pin-up was painted in gouache, Elliott's favourite medium, the smaller sketches done in pencil.
Born in 1922 in a suburb of Chicago, Elliott apprenticed at the Stevens/Gross studio, where he had the opportunity to learn from Gil Elvgren, Joyce Ballantyne, Al Buell, and Haddon Sundblom. Shortly after serving in the Navy in World War 11, he was commissioned by Brown and Bigelow to create two sets of double card decks: Winning Aces and Hit the Deck became runaway best-sellers. In 1953, Elliot's work appeared on Brown and Bigelow's successful Ballyhoo Calendar, along with that of Esquire artists Al Moore, Ernest Chiriaka, Eddie Chan, and Ward Brackett. Millions of Americans saw his pin-ups on the covers of Hearst's Pictorial Weekly during the 1950s.
Though often amusing, his pin-ups could also be sexy and sensual. Elliott, who was represented by Stevens/Gross, had a cross-over career that encompassed front covers for national magazines, story illustrations, and advertising art.