Exploring possible human knowledge


Paul Vjecsner


Following the end of World War II, I stayed for about six months in Budapest with relatives who as residents there fortunately escaped the fate of most other Hungarian Jews. After the war, conditions were improving more rapidly in neighboring Czechoslovakia, where I was born and lived much of my childhood, and wanting to be independent and not a burden to those relatives (see a later reference to one of them though), I decided to try my luck in Prague.

Since as a child I already loved to occupy myself with artwork, I wanted to make my living doing something of the kind. And in fact I had phenomenal success in Prague at barely age 21, a success I could hardly duplicate after emigrating to the United States. The initial pictures below show illustrations I did for what was the Czech youth magazine, at the time connected with boy or girl scouts. I actually knew the weekly, under another name, since my schoolboy days, and never dreamt I would be able to draw, and write, for it. In addition I had success designing movie posters, with poster design honored in Europe in general. I will attempt to include here work on those, following the present items.

6 February 2003

18 June 2003

Inasmuch as change seems unavoidable, a few months after writing the preceding and completing the pertaining material here, I felt I might begin this page with a group of items I created before I had success in Prague as mentioned above. It may give an idea of my prior doings in the area.



PHOTOGRAPHY, continued1, 2, 3, 4

PORTRAITURE, continued1, 2, 3

COMMERCIAL ART, continued1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25


AUTOBIOGRAPHY, continued1, 2, 3, 4


At left is not something I sold, but did apparently (I don't remember all) as a potential ad for myself. I did it during my above stay in Budapest, at age 19. Top to bottom the design reads: Advertising, Graphics, Lettering, and Applied art.

The next image below is about an item I did sell, in the same period. European movie houses provided for advertising with slides, projected on the screen. The below shows a corresponding layout I probably did for myself, having done the final in color as I remember. I think it advertised a cosmetic.

The succeeding image is of what I could call a success in Prague, since it was printed in a known humor magazine. The caption of the cartoon says: "Oh, what a brutal way! You're wiser after all, darling, to buy our house completed!" I did a lot of caricatures as a boy, but I feel my humorous drawing at this time was immaturely exaggerated.

The subsequent pictures below are of a job actually preceding that cartoon, and done in my only employ in Prague, after which I was free-lancing. I was likely still 19. The depicted is a two-sided printed folding train for children. "ČSD" stands, translated, for Czechoslovak Railways.


Following then is work I did for the youth magazine as described at the top of this page.

This was the first job I was given, a cover illustration at that, at this magazine. What may be strange is that I first merely walked in without any samples, saying I could draw and would they give me something to try. So they suggested I try this cover.

To furnish some detail about it, the caption below the drawing says, "Remember those beautiful days of spring 1945, when Slavic weapons and American tanks liberated our land". (In Czech, adjectives never start with a capital alone.) Communists had not yet taken over, although the old man is a Soviet soldier.

Not to be too modest, my signature is at left on the grass, and my last name in small print at bottom right, the spelling in both cases slightly Czech.

I may add that these pages printed on newsprint, which through the decades turned unevenly a deep brownish yellow. By computer I could lessen this, while preserving some feel of the paper, with the drawings intact.

No doubt (not remembering precisely everything) my second job was the illustrations on these next two pages. They concern a tale about the WWII conflict between the Chinese and Japanese. Recent wars were still very much on people's minds. The title, Přísaha, means Oath.

On the present page my signature and printed name at the bottom should be quite noticeable. The word "Kresba" before my name means "Drawing [by]".

This page has by the preceding my first interior illustration. My signature is faint, below the red-coated Chinese figure, but the credit is visible at the end of the second column.
After the preceding I drew for the magazine also black & white line illustrations of a book printed in small parts as inserts in the weekly. But for now I will postpone these and continue with work similar to the preceding and done a few months afterward.

The following is again about the then recent world war, this time a story of a bomber mission by the British RAF over Essen, Germany.

16 February 2003

The story was published in installments, this cover appearing with the fourth of them.
In this case I was also given the job of creating a design for the title, which can be translated as "Appointment with Death". The design was used in each installment along with the accompanying illustrations I was assigned. At left is the beginning of the story, below it eight continuations with the pages more reduced in size.
SEE MORE FROM THE MAGAZINE To the top and choices