Before war photographers, there were actual war artists armed with pencils, pens, ink and paper. And we can’t stop staring at their incredible drawings.
These images, drawn from the May edition of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands April 24, and W.W. Norton’s “Civil War Sketch Book,” on sale May 14, represent some of the finest made by a corps of young Civil War artists known as “Specials” — so called because their work was rushed to newspapers and magazines special delivery — who recorded the bulk of the firsthand images of our nation’s bloodiest conflict.
WOW. That’s something.
Yeah, that’s hardcore— out there on a battlefield, sketchbook in hand. The tradition is very much alive and well; check out Steve Mumford's book Baghdad Journal for his visual journal on the Iraq War.
Additionally, if you’re crazy/awesome enough to want to do this for a living, the Marine Corps has a dedicated “Combat Artist" MOS.