Edward Daniel Cartier was born August 1, 1914 in North Bergen, New Jersey. His father was Joseph Cartier, born 1883 in New York of French and German ancestry. His mother was Frances Cartier, born 1887 in New Jersey. They were married in 1907. They had four sons. The eldest, Joseph, was born in 1910, then Alfred was born in 1912, and Edward in 1914, and Vincent in 1919. His family of six lived at 104 Grand Avenue, along with his Uncle's family of four.
His father worked as a skilled toolmaker at a machine shop.
During prohibition, Joseph Cartier opened a lucrative speakeasy, which included decorative murals by his son. By the time Edward had graduated high school in 1933, Prohibition was repealed and his father had opened the legitimate Cartier Saloon.
Edward was fascinated by the art of Frederic Remington and Charlie Russell, so he decided to become an illustrator. He studied at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, which at that time was a technical school that only offered a certificate of course completion. He took courses in drawing, and commercial illustration. His painting teacher was Harold Winfield Scott. Cartier later recalled,"Harold Scott taught pictorial illustration, and through him I feel privileged to trace an unbroken chain of art instruction back to Howard Pyle, the father of American illustration. Scott became my mentor and advisor." Another of his teachers was William James, a Street & Smith art director who gave Cartier his first professional assignments while he was still a student at Pratt.
In 1936 Cartier opened an art studio on the Upper West Side, which he shared with a fellow graduate of Pratt, Earl Mayan. His first published illustration appeared on his twenty-first birthday in the August 1st issue of The Shadow for Street & Smith. Cartier went on to draw over eight hundred illustrations for The Shadow magazine. "I began by doing a single illustration per week for Street & Smith pulps like Wild West Weekly, The Wizard, The Whisperer, Movie Action, and Detective Story Magazine. I was paid eight dollars for each drawing."
Besides interior story illustrations Cartier also painted pulp covers for Unknown, Astounding Science Fiction, and Unknown Fantasy Fiction.
He married his wife Georgina in 1943 before reporting for Army duty. During WWII, Cartier fought in France and Germany. He was seriously wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, he returned to illustrating, while also attending college courses at Pratt on the G. I. Bill. He received a BFA college degree in 1953.
During the 1950s Cartier became a prolific illustrator for science fiction pulps, such as Planet Stories, and Astounding, as well as for sci-fi digests, and paperbacks in the 1950s. He illustrated stories by Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard, John W. Campbell, and Robert A. Hienlein. Cartier was the main artist working for the publishers Fantasy Press and Gnome Press.
According to the artist, "I put a bit of humor into what I drew. I was even told at times that I put too much humor into drawing science fiction. It's a serious thing. When I started out doing science fiction, it was all kind of a weird thing."
Cartier eventually moved to Ramsey, New Jersey. In his later years, he suffered from Parkinson's disease.
Edd Cartier died at the age of ninety-four on December 25, 2008.
© David Saunders 2009