Children's Art is visual storytelling. As young children, we are visually literate well before we can read, so images are the first storytellers we encounter. In a picture book, each turn of the page is a change of scene, and a story is told without a single word in print. Indeed, before the alphabet even comes into play, pictures are the first language we learn.

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Children's Art as Narrative Art

Nick Clark

Founding Director

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Featured Works

  • Clara Miller Burd

    Bio

    Clara Miller Burd

    1873–1933

    Clara Miller Burd was most famous for her colorfully elegant contributions to Louisa May Alcott’s Little WomenJo's BoysLittle Men and Eight Cousins as well as to an edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's Child Garden of Verses. She attended the Chase School and National Academy of Design in New York before an apprenticeship with Courtois and Renardo while studying in Paris in 1898.

  • Harrison Cady

    Bio

    Harrison Cady

    1877–1970

    Despite his lack of formal art training, W. Harrison Cady’s talents found him employed as an artist and cartoonist for Life magazine, setting in motion a prolific career as a magazine, newspaper, and children’s book illustrator. Cady is best known for his creation the fanciful Peter Rabbit comic strip. His 30-year contribution to the strip exemplified his trademark—affable animal characters featuring his detailed crosshatching and shading illustrative techniques.

  • Jean de Brunhoff

    Bio

    Jean de Brunhoff

    1899–1937

    Jean de Brunhoff became famous for his creation of the iconic Babar series in 1931. de Brunhoff’s formal study of painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière coupled with the philosophical and political undertones of his work imply a very intentional construction behind his “simple” elephant creations, earning the author recognition as a founding figure of the modern picture book.

  • Grace Drayton

    Bio

    Grace Drayton

    1877–1936

    Before her creation of the iconically adorable, rosy-cheeked Campbell Soup Kids ad campaign, Grace Drayton’s distinctive cherubic illustration styling was seen in her syndicated newspaper comic strip Dolly Dimples. In addition, her popular Dolly Dingle paper dolls circulated in the women’s magazine, Pictorial Review, one of the largest women’s magazines in the country by the late 1920s.

  • Edmund Dulac

    Bio

    Edmund Dulac

    1882-1953

    The mythical and colorful works of Edmund Dulac were widely commissioned by publishers and London galleries in the early 20th century. A number of his vibrant paintings were reproduced in illustrative gift books including The Arabian Nights, an edition of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, various stories from Hans Christian Andersen, and The Bells and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe. Dulac continued to produce books throughout his life, but the market dynamics changed after World War I, and demand for his lavish works waned.

  • Johnny Gruelle

    Bio

    Johnny Gruelle

    1880–1938

    Johnny Gruelle is celebrated for the creation of the spirited, recognizable redheaded duo Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. Gruelle thrived on variety as a creator, and he continued to illustrate for a range of publications, including McCall’sThe Ladies' World, and Good Housekeeping. He also employed his vibrant palette to books that he wrote and illustrated, like All About Cinderella and My Very Own Fairy Stories, as well as to classics like Grimm’s Fairytales and Nobody’s Boy.

  • Helen Hyde

    Bio

    Helen Hyde

    1869–1919

    After her studies at Wellesley School for Girls and the California School of Design, Helen Hyde was fascinated by the Japonism movement of the late 19th century. She developed a strong talent and reputation for her color woodblock printing abilities. Hyde found inspiration in her travels to Japan, China, India, and Mexico, as well as in the paintings of Mary Cassatt and the instruction of Emil Orlik. Praised for her shadowless designs and unique color pairings, she remains one of the best-known and most successful American printmakers of the early 20th century.

  • John R. Neill

    Bio

    John R. Neill

    1877–1943

    John Neill’s name and talents have become synonymous with his skillful illustrations in L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. While working as a staff artist at the Philadelphia North American newspaper, Neill was commissioned to illustrate the second book in the Ozseries, and this began a lifelong involvement within the world of Oz. His nimble pen and ink illustrations of the characters continued to evolve over the course of more than 40 Oz stories.

  • Beatrix Potter

    Bio

    Beatrix Potter

    1866–1943

    Beloved children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter had a strong interest in animals and nature from an early age, influenced by family holidays outside of London. Though it took perseverance to get her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published in 1902, she soon became known for her imaginative animal characters and the spirited quality of her illustrations. She published more than 23 books in her career, but in later years, her interest returned to the openness of the countryside where she focused on farming and wrote and drew primarily for pleasure.

  • Arthur Rackham

    Bio

    Arthur Rackham

    1867–1939

    Famed English artist, Arthur Rackham, was a principal figure in the ‘Golden Age’ of Illustration, which spanned from the turn of the 20th century to World War I. In this time, the demand for high quality illustrated books flourished, and Rackham’s intricate print technique of pairing pen and India- ink drawings with a refined use of watercolor resulted in whimsical, yet sophisticated works that were exceedingly popular. He illustrated Rip Van Winkle, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and a number of other classics throughout his life.

  • Thomas Heath Robinson

    Bio

    Thomas Heath Robinson

    1869–1953

    Thomas Heath Robinson was a skilled painter, printmaker, and illustrator who distinguished himself as an artist by showcasing the powerful dynamism that black and white illustrations could possess, as evidenced in his illustrations for Frank Rinder’s Old World Japan - Legends of the Land of the Gods. Robinson continued to experiment with various techniques throughout his career and expanded his mastery to oil paintings, but his reputation today remains largely tied to his work illustrating an array of history books for children.

  • E.H. Shepard

    Bio

    E.H. Shepard

    1879–1976

    E.H. Shepard became a household name as the illustrator for A.A. Milne’s indomitable world of Winnie the Pooh. The British illustrator was a celebrated veteran of the First World War and worked as a political cartoonist and contributor for Punch magazine for over 30 years, but when his cartoon work caught Milne’s eye, a partnership was forged that gave the world one of the most famous creations in children’s literature—curious Pooh and his friends. Shepard’s illustrative contributions continued over the years, his work commissioned by an assortment of notable authors of the era, including his work as Kenneth Grahame’s fourth-but-favorite artist of his cherished Wind in the Willows characters.

  • John Tenniel

    Bio

    John Tenniel

    1820–1914

    Sir John Tenniel was a popular and prolific British political cartoonist and illustrator who supplied thousands of sharp political caricatures to Britain’sPunch magazine over the course of five decades. He was also the artist who illustrated both of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass where his ability to create realistic and memorable images perfectly balanced Carroll’s surreal and imaginative text, securing these books in the high ranks of children’s literature forever. Tenniel was knighted by Queen Victoria for his artistic achievements in 1893.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art