Woodi Ishmael was born in 1914 in Lewis County, Kentucky; was educated in the public schools in Portsmouth, Ohio; and graduated from the Cleveland School of Art. During his career, he illustrated more than thirty-five fiction and nonfiction books. He illustrated for the Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, American, Woman’s Home Companion, and National Geographic magazines. His weekly column, “The Power of Faith,” appeared in 175 U.S. and Canadian newspapers. Ishmael was commissioned to do paintings in Panama, Guam, Germany, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, and Mexico. For a time he maintained a studio at Troy State University, Troy, Alabama. Many of his works are in private collections; others are housed at the Pentagon, the White House, the Air Force Academy, and the Air Force Museum. He painted fifty-four portraits of the Air Medal of Honor winners. Ishmael had been the artist-in-residence on several cruises of the SS United States and the HMS Queen Elizabeth 2. He was the only courtroom artist at the murder trial of Jack Ruby. In addition to painting several Air Force chiefs of staff, Ishmael also painted Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Henry Decker.