The famous “We Can Do It” poster, created by J. Howard Miller in 1942, is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. But what most people don’t know is that there were secret draft versions of the poster which have never been seen before—until now.
The previously unseen versions of the poster were discovered in a dusty old box in the basement of the Miller family home.
They show a number of different versions of the now-famous image, including one where the woman is buff, one with a cat instead of the woman, and a number of deranged-looking versions, created when Miller was clearly in the throes of a manic episode.
Miller was also undecided whether the poster should be a photograph or a drawing, and so he created versions of both. In the end, he decided on the drawing, which he felt conveyed the message of the poster more effectively.
At one point Miller was experimenting with using an animal instead of a woman in the poster, and he even considered using a man instead. But in the end he decided to stick with the original idea of a woman, and the rest is history.
The “We Can Do It” poster has become an iconic symbol of American determination and resilience, and these new draft versions give us a fascinating insight into the creative process behind it.
The discovery of these secret drafts is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a great artist at work. It’s also a reminder that even the most iconic images can have a dark side.