Sunday, February 27, 2022

Fred Ludekens

Fred Ludekens (1900 - 1982) was an American illustrator and a member of the founding faculty for the "Famous Artists School" (Art courses through mail correspondence.)
He was also a mentor to a young Milt Kahl, before Milt joined Disney in 1934. Both artists shared a studio in San Francisco and worked for an advertisement agency, most likely Lord & Thomas. 

Ludekens was almost nine years older than Milt and naturally more experienced in the field of advertisement illustration. It is interesting to speculate what kind of influence his early art might have had on young Milt. I think there are a few similarities between these two artists. 

As you can see in these images, Ludeken's style has deep roots in realism. The compositions are highly organized, and there is a graphic flatness to them, on purpose. Busy line work is carefully contrasted with flat shapes. Confidence and formality are attributes that come to mind.

These are qualities you also find in Milt's drawings. But...since he ended up working in the field of animation, the added element of motion makes his drawings and animation supreme. 


  1. I've always found this realistic style quite fascinating. I wonder if it sometimes involved some degree of tracing or similar techniques. Regardless, these all look great, it's nice to have a look at what may have influenced Milt Kahl in his early artistic process.

  2. I like the second pictures of the Saturday Evening Post. 😊
    It is so dramatic!
    And his eyes! Oh, his eyes!
    Thank you for sharing! 😊

  3. Thanks for sharing these. I grew up with the complete Famous artists course in our family library. I spent countless hours pouring through those wonderful books as a kid and tried many of the lessons along the way.. Great to hear that Milt got to meet and learn from Fred directly. What a treat.