[Pittsburgh]: [c. 1941-44]. Large 4to. String- tied brown leatherette album. Pages toned and partially detached from binding in places; some soil to page edges. Pencil drawings throughout, with printed illustrations mounted to pages in first half. Pencil smudged or faded in places, but generally clear, with written captions legible throughout. Very good -. Item #24079
Sketchbook album from the early 1940s, documenting a young boy's self-guided attempts to develop facility in cartooning. Cut-out tutorials from Frank Webb's "How to Make Faces" are mounted on the album's early pages, with faithful attempts in pencil to follow their instructions. Midway through, Conrad branches out from these copies into his own chosen subject matter: army airplanes, sheriffs, pistols, cowboy hats, and a series of one-panel strips boldly titled "Stuff That's Funny."
Conrad, who would have been close to 10 years old when the U.S. entered World War II, devotes considerable space to planes, trains (Pullman cars labelled), ships, and guns; his drawings of cowboys and Old West shoot-outs, however, outnumber those depicting bombers, air gunners, and surprise parachute attacks. Elsewhere, he develops and refines what appear to be a series of original characters; notably "Little Teresa", a tough, chain-smoking, tie-and-tie-clip wearing woman with a pistol in her side holster and six notches on her belt.
The artist, a Pittsburgh native who settled in Honolulu, would later become a successful lounge pianist and musician of some note in the 'Exotica' genre, releasing one well-received album ("Exotic Paradise").