Arthur Burdett Frost, American illustrator, graphic artist, painter and comics writer.
A. B. Frost, born on January 17, 1851 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as Arthur Burdett Frost, was a prominent American illustrator and graphic artist who gained recognition for his dynamic depiction of motion and sequence in the illustrations of Brer Rabbit and other characters from Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus books. Apart from over 90 illustrated books and numerous paintings, he made significant contributions to the development of comic strips.
Frost's career commenced at a young age when he apprenticed at a local business where he learned engraving and lithography. Although primarily self-taught, he also received guidance from notable artists like Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Gilbert Tucker Margeson in Massachusetts before venturing into illustrating humorous stories that kickstarted his successful illustration journey.
During his time with Harper & Brothers’ art department alongside distinguished illustrators such as Howard Pyle and Frederic Remington, Frost honed various artistic techniques ranging from cartooning to photorealistic painting while contributing illustrations to magazines like Harper's Weekly, Punch, Scribner’s , further solidifying his reputation as an accomplished artist both in America and abroad through collaborations with renowned writers including Mark Twain and Charles Dickens during his stay in London.
In 1892, Frost collaborated with Joel Chandler Harris and incorporated images of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit along with other characters into the book titled Uncle Remus and His Friend. Frost and Harris went on to release several more editions of the Uncle Remus series, including Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings in 1895 as well as in 1898.
Frost drew inspiration from Eadward Muybridge's sequential photography work, which he adapted into creating successive illustration panels accompanied by dialogue. This innovative approach can be considered a precursor to modern comic strips and comic books. In 1884, Frost published Stuff and Nonsense, an anthology that showcased his pioneering time-stop drawings among other inventive elements. Although not featured in newspapers himself, his work significantly influenced newspaper comic strip illustrators like Rudolph Dirks and Jimmy Swinnerton.
Frost skillfully integrated his passion for hunting, shooting, and golf into numerous illustrations across various publications. An enthusiastic golfer himself at the onset of the sport's popularity in the United States as a member of Morris County Golf Club in Morristown, New Jersey; his detailed sketches portrayed both drama-filled moments among players on intricate backgrounds. Notable examples include The Golfer's Alphabet, The Epic of Golf, as well as two covers for Collier's magazine.
An active participant within artistic circles, Frost was affiliated with organizations such as Philadelphia Sketch Club Society of Independent Artistsand Society Illustrators.
In 1883, Frost married another artist named Emily Louise Phillips, who worked as an illustrator like him. They lived at Boisaubin Manor in Convent Station, New Jersey until 1908. In order to provide art education for their children, the family moved to Paris and resided there until May 1916. Upon returning to the United States, Frost and his family settled in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He then pursued a career as an illustrator and comics artist primarily for Life magazine. In 1924, Scott relocated again to Pasadena, California but faced tragedy when he passed away on June 22nd 1928.
(The Comic Strip Project-Who's Who-H2, 2011)
(Frost, A. B. (Arthur Burdett), 1851-1928 | Archives at Yale, 2021).
The Comic Strip Project-Who's Who-H2. (2011, June 9). https://web.archive.org/web/20160303233610/http://www.bpib.com/comicsproj/biogH2.html
Frost, A. B. (Arthur Burdett), 1851-1928 | Archives at Yale. (2021, October 19). https://archives.yale.edu/agents/people/82115