The National Museum of American Illustration announces the gift of "The Clue in the Old Stagecoach"; an original book cover illustration from the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories Series . This important piece of Americana has been generously donated by Rudy Nappi, illustrator of the artwork as well as 72 other pieces in the Nancy Drew Series.
The Clue in the Old Stagecoach, 1959, Rudy Nappi
, who has illustrated the Nancy Drew Series for 27 years, producing 73 covers in all, attended the Art Students League
in New York City after WWII under the G I bill.
chose to study illustration because he
admired Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth.
Soon after he
finished school, Nappi
began looking for work, he
explains, "I went to a magazine stand and chose to try the publishers whose covers I felt I could improve upon".
It very quickly dawned upon him that the pulp magazines were the neediest for dynamic cover illustrations.
After illustrating a series of pulp magazine covers, Nappi
was able to secure an assignment with Grosset & Dunlap
, a major publishing company known nationally for its tremendously successful children's book series Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys , the Bobbsey Twins , and others.
Above you can see the tracing paper that functioned as a guide for Nappi
to view the final layout of the book.
Illustrators of Nappi's era did not have the tools that we possess today (i.e. Photoshop, Indesign and Quark
, just to name a few).
The Clue In The Old Stagecoach 5
success as an illustrator continued after committing to illustrate the Nancy Drew series.
agreed to illustrate for the Hardy Boys series as well, painting 64 covers in all.
Over the years he
did other illustrations for Grosset & Dunlap
such as, How To Play Baseball by Joe Dimaggio, 100 Greatest Sports Heros and Hans Brinker.
career continued to grow as he
also aquired paperback assignments from Avon, Dell, Simon & Schuster
, Harlequin and Signet, the most popular in prints in the country.
included a vintage copy of The Clue in the Old Stagecoach , volume #37 with his
gift of the original artwork.
Here we can view the finished product that Nappi
was working towards when creating the original image.
would like to recognize the The Clue in the Old Stagecoach and the vintage volume #37 as great educational tools for they truly enable one to look into the creative process of a working illustrator in the 1950's.
Furthermore, they will permit scholars to study the evolution of American illustrated literature from our modern perspective.
To that end, the NMAI
welcomes Rudy Nappi's
gift as an enhancement to its American Imagist Collection.