Monday, April 17, 2023

A Quick Sketch...

 This week I have an item that I got from my grandfather after he passed away. It's not valuable at all, but it means a lot to me. Let's take a look:

Yes, it's a "Jon Gnagy Learn to Draw Outfit!" Well, actually, it's part of one, since a lot of the pencils and stuff are missing...

As you can see, all that remains are the book, chalk, and a couple of pencils. I suppose the rest were used or just lost.

Here is the cover of the book, featuring Jon himself. Mr. Gnagy was a really big celebrity in his day. He appeared on TV starting in 1946 and taught people to draw using "simple shapes."

Here is his bio from the book...

...and some of his tips. The idea was that if you could draw simple circles, triangles and squares, you could draw amything. 

Taking the idea one step further...

And a quiz at the back of the book to see if you understood the theory.

By the way, I just found out that Mr. Gnagy lived to be 119! Maybe I should take up art!

As I said, none of this is particularly valuable. Millions of these kits have been sold, and apparently you can still purchase one. The valuable part is what I found in the paper stored under the pencils.

You see, my grandfather (who was a Baptist pastor all my life) was always interested in art. He started out his careers as a sheetmetal craftsman, but he told me he also took a correspondense cartooning course in the 30s. He got this kit in the early 50s. I found these in the kit:

Practice "swirls." Notice the little cartoon man he snuck in.

More practice...

Finally a few finished objects in chalk. Not bad, really. The sad thing is that these sketches are the only drawings that survive of his art. I guess preaching and raising three daughters took up too much of his time to continue the hobby. 

So, I hang onto his battered art kit. Once in a great while I take a look his drawing. I was named after him, so I kind of feel like I should protect his stuff- even the little stuff.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!


  1. Mr. Gnagy must have been the Bob Ross of his day. It's so cool that you have your grandfather's practice sketches; he sounds like a pretty cool guy.

  2. I love the "Learn to Draw" kit! And your grandpa's sketches are not bad, he probably just didn't have enough free time to really devote himself to art. Who does? That being said, I've used the pages you scanned to become a great artist and now I am in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thanks Stu!

    1. Hey, no problem, Major! Just see if you can get me in free, ok?

    2. That was me....Stu....

  3. Wow! What a great family item for you to have....especially because of your grandfather's drawings. It makes the item priceless.

    119 years old? Whew!

    - TokyoMagic!

    1. Yes, I'm glad I saved it!
      119 is pretty old alright. Actually, really, really old! I'm not sure what life would be like at that age, but it would probably be pretty tough!


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