From the Army Art Collection – Sketches by John Scott

During World War II, Yank, the weekly magazine by published by the U.S. Army beginning on 17 June 1942, became extremely popular with soldiers around the world. While it was headquartered in New York, Yank staffers rotated between desk jobs at the main office and overseas locations to cover the war and produce twenty-one separate weekly editions. Sold for five cents, Yank eventually reached a combined circulation of two million.

American artillerymen, manning a M7 105mm Self-Propelled Howitzer, fire at the enemy. (105mm Self-Propelled Gun, 1945, Ink on Paper)

Each issue of Yank contained a wide variety of material written by and for soldiers, including cartoons such as George Baker’s “Sad Sack” series, pinups, letters from soldiers, articles on various subjects, poetry, and editorials. One regular contributor was artist John Scott, who produced sketches for Yank while working in the magazine’s London office.

Soldiers gather around the command post of an engineer unit along the French-German border. (Engineer Command Post Near the Siegfried Line, Ink on Paper, 1945)

John Walter Scott was born on 1 December 1907 in Camden, New Jersey, and began studying illustration at the age of sixteen. He first worked for pulp western magazines published by Dell and Street and Smith. He entered the Army in April 1942 and served with the 342d Engineer General Service Regiment in Europe until he was transferred to the staff of Yank in London. He rose to the rank of sergeant before being discharged from the Army in June 1945.

Army engineers in Holland push a section of Bailey bridge into place while anti-aircraft gunners, manning a half-track mounted Quad .50, watch the sky for enemy aircraft. (Launching a Bailey Bridge, 1945, Ink on Paper)

The vast majority of Scott’s work that appeared in Yank consisted of ink sketches of scenes from all over Western Europe. His subjects varied but often included engineers, probably as a result of Scott’s earlier service in the 342d Engineers. Approximately twenty of Scott’s works were acquired by the Army for the Army Art Collection at the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

Using available cover, a group of medics rush towards a wounded soldier. (Medics Advancing Under Fire, Ink/Wash, 1945)

After World War II, Scott became an illustrator for magazines in both the United States and Canada. By the 1960s, Scott was largely focused on wildlife art. He later turned his attention to illustrating scenes of the American West. In addition to his magazine work, Scott also painted several murals for Mormon churches and a series of large paintings depicting the history of the Texas oil industry. He died in 1987 in Danbury, Connecticut.