The following examples appeared in Norman Rockwell: 332 magazine covers and are copyright © 1979 by Cross River Press, Ltd. , and Copyright © Curtis Publishing Co., where applicable.
18 May 1940. In this illustration, Rockwell has gone a bit too cartoony for my taste. As a character she is not in keeping with her manicure customer. I've tried to find the cartoonist's work who this reminds me of, but to no avail. The style says Film Fun or one of the girly books of the period. It's not one of Rockwell's best but it shows that he could get off course or worse yet, be persuaded to do so by his editor. Compare the work to these of the following year.
1 March 1941. The technique is pure Norman Rockwell. Note the masterful way in which the saddle shoes are painted.
5 September 1941. The draft has taken young men off to train for the war that had been raging in Europe for two years. Two young women confront each other with snapshots of the same soldier. In real life, the models were the young daughters of Mead Schaeffer, another Post cover artist and illustrator and Rockwell's neighbor in Arlington, Vermont.
Rockwell's World War II young housewife doing her bit for the war effort in a 4 September 1943 cover. The meticulous pencil sketch appears above. The Japanese imperial flag and the swastika brickbats she dodges were eliminated for the final art, below. Click on the bottom image to enlarge it.
Next: Norman Rockwell's Pretty Women: 1960, an Appreciation.