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Page 18

PHILATELI-GRAPHICS Vol. 28, No. 2 (April 2006)

burgh’s Carnegie Museum, he was offered a job there as a staff illustrator. In 1953, when he returned from service in the Korean War, where he worked as a topographic draftsman for the Army Corps of Engineers, he took his portfolio to several publishers in New York. An editor at Morrow Junior Books admired his drawings of bats and asked if he would like to do a children’s book about them. He did. Bats was the first of eleven children’s books by Ripper published by Morrow. They are printed in black-and- white, which is typical of that era. Although his first love remained painting, Ripper’s

written work expertly drawings and paintings.

supplemented

his

did you know that all songbirds have 12 feathers in their tails, but hummingbirds have only 10? That’s one of the little sand traps that can bury you as you go along if you’re not careful.5 Ripper’s freelance work has appeared in nu- merous periodicals, including National Geo- graphic; on the covers of many outdoor maga- zines; in nature identification books, such as the Peterson Field Guides; and his images are on every National Wildlife Federation conserva- tion stamp sheet issued since 1959.

His work appeals to both naturalists and stamp collectors. Roger Tory Peterson, editor of the Peterson Field Guide series, wrote

Ripper also served as art director for Stan- dard Printing & Publishing Company in Huntington, West Virginia. This experience provided a solid base for his understanding of the processes involved in printing postage stamps.

When Standard went bankrupt, he next turned to full-time, free-lance wildlife illus- tration. He had already developed a reputa- tion for being a fine craftsman; careful with details; seeking accuracy; and researching his subject through books, photographs, live specimens, and the study of skins, which is the technique he used for his hummingbird illustrations (Scott 2642-2646). As he ob- serves,

Study skins are a great resource. . . . However, their color does tend to fade over time, so they don’t give you the whole story. But you can count the feathers and make sure you’ve got all your anatomi- cal details correct. For instance,

[I was] well aware of the extremely demanding work that has gone into this . . . guide. . . . [the] work of two veteran naturalists, [including Chuck] Ripper, a professional bio- logical illustrator, well known for his wildlife and botanical paintings.6 Stamp collectors have also expressed their appreciation of his work through their votes in Linn’s annual contest (see pages 19-20 for il-

lustrations). Receiving approval were:

  • American Wildlife (Scott 2286-2335) in

as “best design” and “favorite stamps”;

  • Coral Reefs (Scott 1827-1830) in

1987

1980

shared

both

“most

popular”

and

“best

design”

with other stamps;

  • Preservation of Wildlife

(Scott

1921-1924)

in

1981

shared

“most

popular”

and

“best

design”

with others;

  • Bobcat (Scott

of definitives.”

2482)

in

1990

as

“best

design

One suspects that Ripper, an avid fly fisher-

man,

was

disappointed in the 1991 poll of

“least necessary” for his Fishing Flies (Scott 2545-2548). The sub- ject was one he had initiated in a conver- sation in 1986 with Senior Assistant Post-

master

General

Mitchell H.

Gordon,

who shared

Ripper’s

hobby. They

met at

United States Sc2642-2646

the first-day ceremony

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