English 430: Literature & the Visual Arts

Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers

“Sometimes ass-power beats raw talent”

Coined by Quincy Jones about Michael Jackson, Rogers remarks great work requires the willingness to sit his or her ass down to do the work. Through his work it is evident that Rogers has ‘ass-power’ (Paul Rogers Studio).

“I’ve always drawn inspiration from the great poster artists of the early to mid 20th century, and I think of myself more as a graphic designer than an illustrator” (Paul Rogers).

Paul Rogers has over 23 years of experience as an illustrator and designer; with patience Rogers brings to life timeless images. He is inspired from mid-century posters and advertising because he feels complicated scenes are handled in style. Rogers’ illustrations include Wynton Marsalis’ book Jazz ABZ, Postage Stamps for USPS, images for New York Times, LA Times, Pixar Animation Studios, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, NFL’s Super Bowl and numerous book jackets including, Jonathan Rabb’s, Shadow and Light and For Whom the Bell Tolls, Earnest Hemingway. Rabb


Forever Young

The children’s book, Forever Young, by Paul Rogers’, uses simple drawings to bring Bob Dylan’s compelling words to life. Paul Rogers and Bob Dylan teamed up to create an entertaining and meaningful book, but most entertaining part were the hidden clues from songs, videos, Dylan, and significant historical events. Rogers truly is a creative genius which is apparent through his everlasting art.

Book Jacket, RogersThe book jacket wrap around

Dylan was presented Forever Young and asked that his images parallel the lyrics. His goal was to not make it ‘too corny,’ “My idea was to bring elements from Dylan’s life and lyrics from other songs to the book…I squeezed in as many references as I could without being obnoxious” (Paul Rogers Paul Rogers Studio). After the first illustration Rogers completed he sent it to Dylan for approval, there was never any need for the two to contact each other, because the illustrations that were sent were approved immediately.

Froever Young, know the truth “May you always know the truth… And see the lights surrounding you”

“One the door is Milton Glaser’s poster from BobDylan’s Greatest Hits (1967). The bookshelf is stacked with books that every kid should read, and on the wall are portraits of Cisco Houston, Sonny Terry, and Lead Belly, all mentioned in Dylan’s ‘Song to Woody.’ The picture of the guy in the red jacket is the actor James Dean.” (Forever Young Illustrators Notes).close up, know the truth

This page alone underlines the genius behind Rogers’ work. With hints Rogers covers influential American literature, which includes: Huck Finn, EA Poe, Whitman, Ezra Pound, T.S Eliot, Moby Dick, A. Ginsberg, Bound For Glory, Balzac, Shakespeare, Civil War, On the Road, Baseball, W.B. Yeats. He does not fail to illustrate American Folk musicians who influenced Dylan, Cisco Houston, Sonny Terry, and Lead Belly (there are the three framed pictures on the right). Milton Glaser’s poster on the door, the Beatles track cover on the dresser and a poster of James Dean. The radio is on and it states, “The country music station plays soft.” All of these hints combined with the plane, the posters, and sport balls illustrate what being an American is all about. This one image shows readers our history, our culture and the beauty of Rogers.

Here are a few other illustrations from his book, Forever Young, see if you could find the hidden images.New York

“May You build a ladder to the stars And climb on every rung,”

zoom in

“May you grow up to be righteous, May you grow up to be true”


“May your hands always be busy, May your feet always be swift,”


“Forever Young”

TravelSmith, Rogers’ form of advertisement

Using Adobe Illustrator on Mac, creates images without giving them a computer feeling: “Before the digital age I painted every piece with an airbrushed not in a highly detailed, rendered style. [Anyway,] the techniques I used in airbrushing made the transition to computers fairly easy. I was used to cutting out shapes with frisket, and filling them in with color, which is the same basic concept I use in illustrator” (Rogers in Illustrator Master – DTG Magazine interview).


Rogers had to draw and place each dot by hand; there are literally over a thousand same sized dots throughout the whole picture!


Postal Service Paul Rogers designed a series of four stamps that feature a Thanksgiving Day Parade, which were issued by the Postal Service on September 9th. Being the first he’s done for the USPS, Rogers says this project was a challenge:

color usps

“The concept was to show the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, but for legal reasons, we couldn’t show any licensed characters or any direct reference to Macy’s Department Store itself. No recognizable balloons; that meant no Underdog. The most iconic images from the parade had to be suggested by selective cropping and careful positioning to give an accurate feeling of the parade without showing any specific balloons.” (Paul Rogers Studio)

draft usps

Therefore Rogers decided the best way to accomplish the images, without losing its purpose, due to the complicated restrictions, would be to show a scene from around 1950, where corporate images were not the main visual display.

LA TIMES, Tournament of Roses

In 2008, the LA Times asked that Rogers run drawings about the transformation of Pasadena for something we are all familiar with, The Tournament of Roses Parade. The designs Rogers came up with show the lawns chairs, and tents of thousands who sleep overnight to witness this beautiful event. It is interesting to see how he portrays the hard work, and dedication, that goes in to put up each bleacher, the TV towers, every year for the few hour event.

bleachers and traffic

Bleachers and Traffic


Front lawns of PasadenaNews Vans and Trailers


News Vans and Trailors



Working has a freelance illustrator and designer, Rogers uses his mid-20th century influences to portray our part in living history. It is his astonishing work that have led to awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Association of Illustrators/London, the Society of Illustrators in New York, American Illustration, Communication Arts, Graphic Posters, and Print. His drawings and paintings have been exhibited at the Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans and the Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery in Pasadena, California.

I love Rogers’ work because with his own style he puts a twist on modern life.

Here is a link to Paul Rogers’ portfolio on illioz and his own website



lastly, just a few of his work i love:

Paul Rogers

NYT Week in Review: "Long Hot American Summer"

Paul Rogers

Drawing for an essay on the history of the Los Angeles landscape: "Angels Flight"

Paul Rogers

Portrait of Dick Chaney


Poster for Gay Pride Party in NY

Paul Rogers

Series of posters for Los Angeles MTA to promote ridership of light rail, subway and buses


Works Cited

“Bob Dylan Animated Video for New Kids Book – Forever Young.” You Tube. Web. 25 Oct. 2009. http://[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc-a1kP7ITA.

Dylan, Bob. Forever Young. New York: Ginee Seo Books, 2008. Print.”

Illustrator Master – DTG Magazine interview.” Graphic Design & Publishing Center. Web. 2 Oct. 2009. http://www.graphic-design.com/DTG/interviews/rogers/index.html.

Paul Rogers Studio. Web. 25 Oct. 2009. http://www.paulrogersstudio.com/.

“Paul Rogers at .com.” Illoz. Web. 2 Oct. 2009. <http://illoz.com/paulrogers/?&gt;.

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