Gayle Porter Hoskins was born July 20, 1887 in Brazil, Indiana. His family moved to Denver Colorado in 1892. He was drawing cartoons for The Denver Post when he was fourteen years old. His father, William "Pica" Thompson Hoskins was a sheet-music dealer and composer. His mother, Madge Porter Hoskins, died when he was 17.
He moved to Chicago and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1904. His first illustrations were published by Red Book magazine in 1907. That same year, Howard Pyle invited Hoskins to study at his private art school in Wilmington Delaware. Hoskins moved to Wilmington and studied with Pyle and Frank Schoonover for three years.
Hoskins married his high school sweetheart from Colorado, Kathleen Hoskins, in 1909. They lived at 1318 North 13th street, Wilmington, where they were boarders paying $20 a month.
In 1915 he met another young art student, Henry C. Kiefer, who had also studied in Chicago and then moved to Wilmington to study with Schoonover.
By 1918 Gayle Hoskins was a busy illustrator of calendars, books, and magazines, such as Harper's Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Liberty, Saturday Evening Post, and Cosmopolitan.
By 1924 Hoskins had divorced and married his second wife, Alene Hoskins, a county clerk. N.C. Wyeth was the best man at the wedding. They lived at 1616 Rodney Street. The house was owned by Frank Schoonover, who was paid $25 monthly rent. The Hoskins shared the home with Howard Pyle's 21-year-old daughter, the artist Phoebe Catherine Pyle. She rented the upstairs apartment for $20 a month. The house was only seven blocks away from her family home, where she was raised along with five other siblings of Howard Pyle.
From 1925 to 1928 Hoskins was a founding instructor at The Wilmington Academy of Art, the Wilmington Sketch Club, as well as the Wilmington Society of Fine Arts (which eventually became the Delaware Art Museum).
Due to financial losses following the crash of 1929, Hoskins was among a few illustrators who entered the field of pulp magazines after a successful career in the slicks. Although the national economy was in a shambles, the pulp magazine industry was making a fortune during the Great Depression.
He painted pulp covers for Western Story, Complete Stories, Top-Notch, Sure-Fire Western, Super Western, and Western Trails.
He left the pulps in 1938 and concentrated on historical subjects and portraits for the remainder of his life.
Gayle Hoskins died at the age of seventy-four on January 14, 1962.
© David Saunders 2009