Frederic Varady (1908-2002) had a distinctive style later in his career. When browsing through the Varady tear sheets in the Walt Reed Illustration Archive, it was interesting to see how his style evolved throughout his career. His illustrations from the 1940s appear to be the typical two-color illustrations that were popular during this time period.
Varady seemed to be following the industry’s standard formula of what was expected of illustrations published in periodicals.
It appears that he started using lines as a technique to add interest and depth to his illustrations sometime in the mid-1940s. Perhaps he had established himself enough as an illustrator to take creative liberties with his work, which resulted in illustrations that felt more progressive than his earlier pieces.
Varady’s work shifted drastically in the 1950s. His illustrations from this decade embodied a flattened, modernist style.
His technique evolved radically to create pieces that made use of silhouettes, fully rendered figures, line drawings, and shapely text areas to create eye-catching illustrations.
In addition to his use of lines, Varady utilized opacities and the juxtaposition of two color illustrations next to full-color ones.
Finally, Varady knew how to compose his pieces in a dynamic way. In some instances, the sense of movement attracts the eye.
In some pieces, his use of negative space is visually striking.
Reviewing Varady’s many tear sheets (the Walt Reed Illustration Archive at MGHL has over 200) revealed many nuances throughout his career.