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Tribute To Howard Brodie

Howard BrodieHoward Brodie (November 18, 1915 – September 19, 2010) was a renowned sketch artist best known for his World War II combat and courtroom sketches.

Pre-war career

Brodie was born in Oakland, California on November 18, 1915. He briefly attended California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco. When World War II started, Howard Brodie was a sports artist for The San Francisco Chronicle. Brodie also enjoyed success as an illustrator of college football program covers.

Combat sketches

Compassion - combat sketchWith entry of the United States into World War II, Brodie enlisted in the Army. He became one of Yank magazine's best-known artists during the war. He sketched everything from Guadalcanal to the Battle of the Bulge and had an uncanny ability to capture the emotions of his subjects and record a scene with great attention to detail.

He put himself in combat situations many times and, while he never carried a weapon, he worked as a medic when needed. He received the Bronze Star for valor.


courtroom sketchCourtroom sketches

After the war Brodie became a courtroom artist and recorded many famous trials, including those of the Chicago Seven, Charles Manson and General Westmoreland, the Ruby trial and Senate Civil Rights Debates. He was also a CBS TV Artist-Correspondent. Brodie never fully severed his ties to the military and was a combat artist in Korea, French Indochina, and Vietnam. His works can be found in the Library of Congress.

Famous works

One of the most famous works he produced for a cover of Yank Magazine was "Portrait of a Medic." He was acclaimed for the very emotional "Compassion." One sketch which mostly went unnoticed appeared on the cover of Yank's Continental Edition on August 19, 1945 issue. It showed an exhausted G.I. dropping his rifle as World War II had just ended. Brodie's works are collected in Drawing Fire: A Combat Artist at War Pacific Europe Korea Indochina Vietnam.

As the New York Times has stated, "His sketch of the black militant Bobby Seale gagged and strapped to his chair became the image that epitomized the trial of the Chicago Seven, the leaders of protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention."

Other Resources:

They Drew Fire: Combat Artists of World War II, a PBS documentary, which originally aired in May 2000.

"Howard Brodie, news artist extraordinaire, dies", an obituary written by Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle.

"Howard Brodie, 94, Combat and Courtroom Artist, Dies", an obituary written by William Grimes, New York Times.

"Howard Brodie – Artist, Board Member, Instructor, Friend – Leaves a Legacy at the Academy of Art University", a tribute by the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

PBS' Online NewsHour interview with Howard Brodie, which originally aired in May 1996.