|Ted Drake of Elkhart, Indiana has been
producing fine art for the world to enjoy for over 50 years. His
talent was first used commercially during World War II when Ted edited
and drew cartoons for "Spindrift," the newspaper for the Navy's pre-flight
school in Iowa City. As he was transferred to other duty stations
during the war, Drake continued to edit and draw for different service
publications including Stars and Stripes.
After the war, Ted worked as a free lance artist for the Wilson Sporting Goods Company. During this time, Ted was responsible for all art work for the company. He met and drew all of the Wilson endorsed professional athletes including football greats such as Howard "Hopalong" Cassady (Ohio State), Alan Ameche (Wisconsin), Otto Graham (Northwestern), and Hugh McElhenny. He knew and painted golf stars Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Patty Berg, "Babe" Diedrickson, Tommy Armour, Chick Harbert, Lloyd Mangram, Jack Rule, Billie Burke, and Bert Yancey. Tennis stars he knew and painted were Jack Kramer and Alice Marble. Baseball stars Ted knew and painted were Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox and Nellie Fox of the CHicago White Sox.
Ted Drake's most famous creation is the Notre Dame Leprechaun. He created the world's most famous sports symbol in 1964. The Leprechaun was first used for the 1964 football pocket schedule and later used on the football program cover that year for the Notre Dame/Purdue game. The Leprechaun was first on the cover of Time magazine in November, 1964. With the nationwide publication of Time, the Leprechaun became the national symbol of the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" and remains as the most recognized sports symbol in the world today.
Ted also designed Notre Dame football program covers and other university art work throughout the 1960's. He also did all of the 1994 and 1995 covers. His football program cover featuring Joe Boland, the radio sportscaster of the "Irish Network," won the National Football Cover of the Year Award" for Ted.
Ted Drake has created other sports art in addition to art for Notre Dame. He has painted all the past presidents of the Professional Golf Association. These portraits hang in the PGA national headquarters located in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has also done numerous PGA magazine covers. The United States Golf Association selected Ted to paint all of the USGA Amateur Champions. These portraits were done as part of the 87th U.S. Amateur Championship golf tournament and hang in Jupiter Hills Country Club, Jupiter, Florida. Ted has done work for the National College Athletic Association. He worked on several of the NCAA projects relating to their logo and marketing programs. Ted created the logo for the Chicago Bulls Basketball team. This logo is an outstanding example of his design work.
Ted Drake did all the print art work for the NBC pioneer television program "Kukla, Fran, and Ollie." This landmark television series was one of the first children's shows in the United States. The creator and producer of the show, Burr Tillstrom, selected Ted as his exclusive graphic artist.
Until his death at age 92,
Ted Drake was still painting each and everyday at his studio at Mail
Management in Elkhart, Indiana. He loved to do "sports art" but was
right at home with portraits and landscapes. He did extensive work capturing
the feeling, charm, and culture of the Amish people in our part of the
country. He also had a special talent for capturing the movement and
mixture of light and water in his seascapes. Ted was a master at water
color but also did extensive work in oil and acrylics.
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