During the 20th Century we saw the decline of the once popular illustrated book. No longer is it fashionable to produce serious literature with imagery it would appear. However, there is one area of literature that is still booming as illustration is concerned and that is Children’s Literature.
Children’s books buck the trend when it comes to the inclusion of illustration and new up and coming artists are taking up the illustrator’s art and continuing the tradition of illustration. In this blog we look at some of the greatest children’s book illustrators that have ever been.
If you have every read the popular novels Are You My Mother? A Fish Out of Water, or Go, Dog. Go! You will be familiar with the work of Philip Dey Eastman, who was responsible for illustrating these great works.
Philip Eastman studied in New York at the National Academy of Design, and then went on to join Walt Disney to create cartoons. His collaboration with Theodor Geisel produced his greatest work and his illustrations of Dr. Seuss are known around the world.
The award-winning illustrator who created the illustrations for Ox-Cart Man, and Chanticleer and the Fox is Barbara Cooney, and she has to be one of the most influential illustrators of her generation.
King of Wreck Island was the first book she both wrote and illustrated in 1941. Not only did she work alone she also collaborated with a host of well-known authors such as Margaret Wise Brown (Where Have You Been, The Little Fir Tree).
Perhaps Cooney is most famous for Miss Rumphius, and Hattie and the Wild Waves, which she produced ten years before her death in 2000. Her amazing talent helped her to create illustrations for over a hundred books.
Probably the most prolific illustrator of modern times has to be Quentin Blake, he has written and collaborated on over two hundred and fifty publications. His style is instantly recognizable as he uses cartoonish almost scratchy images of his subjects.
Blake has created work for some of the best-selling books of all time including, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Twits, and Matilda. He is loved and acclaimed in his native England, so much so that he was named the first Children’s Laureate. Blake also built the House of Illustration which is a museum dedicated to the art of illustration and illustrators.
Another great American illustrator who is probably best known for his work The Very Hungry Caterpillar in 1969. A simple but enchanting children’s tale about a caterpillar who can never fill-up. Soon he eats too much and ends up with a stomach pain, but then he is transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been translated into over fifty different languages and has entertained children from all over the world. His illustrations are full of color and he uses his formal training as a graphic designer to create superb images.
These highly successful books would not have had so much critical acclaim had they not had such superb illustrations by these greats of the art. And the illustrators mentioned are the crème de la crème of their art.