Although the lion’s share of Norman Rockwell’s cover art was published by The Saturday Evening Post, his work also appeared on the covers of 31 other publications. In some cases a magazine commissioned just a few Rockwell covers but in others his contribution was substantial. For Country Gentleman, Rockwell did 39 covers from 1917 to 1922, including Hey Fellers Come On In!
Painting what he knew best from his former position as illustrator and art director of Boys’ Life, Rockwell’s subject for the majority of his covers was the pastimes and antics of adolescent boys. In Hey Fellers Come On In! Rockwell expresses his love and idealization of country life. The theme of swimming where No Swimming is posted reoccurs throughout Rockwell’s career, perhaps an expression of Rockwell’s tolerant attitude toward minor rule-breaking and his own adolescent and post-adolescent enjoyment of pranks and practical jokes. Boys who posed in Rockwell’s studio enjoyed an atmosphere of lenience and camaraderie with the painter.
The device of painting part of the image outside the lines delineated as the picture area is often used in Rockwell’s cover art to produce the effect of pushing the action off the page as if it is coming alive, making it more dynamic to the viewer. In Hey Fellers Come On In! not only does the boy’s hand reach out of the frame but drops of water appear to fly out of and then back into the picture.