By Molly Goad and Denise McCarty
The works of five successful Canadian artists are featured on a Canada Post five-stamp issue available April 5. The talented illustrators — Will Davies, Blair Drawson, Gerard DuBois, James Hill and Anita Kunz — have designed for an array of mediums, including book covers, posters, magazines, advertisements, newspapers and even postage stamps.
The Great Canadian Illustrators stamps will be issued in a booklet of 10 (five of each design) and in a souvenir sheet with the five designs se-tenant (side-by-side). All of the stamps are nondenominated, permanent stamps. The emblem with a “P” inside a maple leaf indicates that they pay the basic domestic rate, currently 85¢.
Details, Canada Post’s magazine for collectors, called Will Davies “a legend of Canadian commercial art.”
His stamp features one of his untitled Harlequin book covers, a nod to the more than 500 book covers he created for romance novels published by the firm founded in 1949 by Richard H. G. Bonnycastle of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Davies, born in 1924 in Bellville, Ontario, was a skilled artist in advertising, fashion layouts and story illustrations, and has had artwork featured on nine Canadian stamps: an 8¢ commemorative issued Aug. 28, 1974, to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Mennonite settlers in Manitoba (Scott 643); a se-tenant pair of 8¢ stamps issued June 1, 1976, for the centennial of the Royal Military College (692-693); the 12¢ Joseph E. Bernier and Sandford Fleming stamps of Sept. 16, 1977 (738-739); a pair of 14¢ stamps issued May 17, 1978, honoring the development of national resources (Scott 765-766); the 32¢ Loyalist stamp of July 3, 1984 (1028); and the 36¢ Volunteers Week issued April 3, 1987 (1132).
Davies died Sept. 3, 2016. His obituary in the Toronto Star said, “His work became synonymous with a glamour all his own and with a look which never seemed to go out of demand.”
Blair Drawson currently lives in Toronto and writes and illustrates books. Previously, he has worked as an editorial illustrator for many prestigious magazines including Time, The New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone and The New York Times Magazine.
Drawson’s stamp showcases his Stage Fright magazine piece designed circa 1990.
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On his website, Drawson reports that Canada Post commissioned him to create an illustration of a vampire for a postage stamp. He added the revised version of that drawing is shown on that stamp. The 45¢ Vampire stamp was issued Oct. 1, 1997 (Scott 1665).
James Hill (1930-2004) of Hamilton, Ontario, began working professionally in his teens for an advertising company. His work eventually expanded to books, magazines and more.
The untitled image on his stamp is from a 1966 Redbook feature on hair fashion, the same year he was named artist of the year by the Guild of American Artists.
Hill designed semipostal stamps for the 1976 Summer Olympics held that year in Montreal (Scott B7-B9 issued Aug. 6, 1975, and B10-B12 issued Jan. 7, 1976).
Gerard DuBois was born in France, but began his freelance career in Montreal, Quebec. His work has appeared in many major magazines in North America and Europe.
The artwork on his stamp, titled It’s Not a Stream of Consciousness, is from a 2015 piece for The New York Times.
This is not the first time his artwork has been pictured on a stamp; in 2015, DuBois illustrated three Christmas stamps featuring whimsical animals dressed in holiday attire (Scott 279a-c, 281-283).
Anita Kunz is a Toronto-born artist who has designed cover art for many publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine and more. She has also illustrated more than 50 book covers.
Among other honors, Kunz was named one of the 50 most influential women in Canada by the National Post newspaper.
The Great Canadian Illustrators stamp shows her Best Friends artwork, which is from a series of personal work (designed around 2012).
Previously, her illustrations were featured on the 2004 Year of the Monkey issue (Scott 2015-2016).
The Great Canadian Illustrators stamps were designed by Lime Design.
Lara Minja of Lime Design said of the artwork reproduced on the stamps, “The strength of the Canadian illustrators issue lies in the narrative quality of the imagery, the mastery of colour and composition, and the sense of imagination, humour, style and emotion.”
Lowe-Martin printed the self-adhesive stamps by five-color offset lithography in booklets of 10 (Canada Post order number 414082111). A total of 1.5 million booklets were printed. The stamps measure 32 millimeters by 40mm and 32mm by 32mm.
The souvenir sheet (Canada Post 404082145) measures 113mm by 93mm, and the five stamps in it have traditional stamp gum. A total of 80,000 souvenir sheets were printed.
Also available are 7,000 first-day covers (404082144) franked with the souvenir sheet and bearing Toronto, Ontario, cancellations. A detail of the clown from Drawson’s Stage Fright is shown in the cachet.
The stamps and FDCs are available at the Canada Post website, and by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.
Canada’s stamps and stamp products also are available from many new-issue stamp dealers, and from Canada Post’s agent in the United States: Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557.