Étienne Delessert

Étienne Delessert (1941-) is a Swiss illustrator and graphic artist. His most famous works include the animated series “Yok-Yok” and his collaboration with Eugène Ionesco (Stories 1,2,3,4,). He is also known for his work with the children’s psychologist Jean Piaget.

Delessert’s work is more often than not aimed at children. He is intent on expanding the the minds of children through questions raised by his strange yet compelling illustrations. Like many illustrators, Delessert consideres himself to be a story teller using illustration to communicate a message. Many of his pieces are rendered in digital media combined with hand sketching.

This one makes me really uncomfortable. It’s terrifying.

Delessert was a finalist for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006 and 2010 for his children’s illustrations.

Delessert has illustrated over eighty children’s books, some of which are now translated into over 14 languages. His illustrations have appeared in leading magazines and newspapers such as Le Monde, The Atlantic Monthly, Time magazine and The New York Times. He has also animated segments of Sesame Street.

I like his conceptual approach to this one. I’m not a huge fan of some of his work, but I quite like this one. Oddly reminds me of a Dali.

In 1973, Delessert published an illustrated children’s book based on the lyrics to “Being Green” from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

He is the recipient of thirteen gold and fourteen silver medals of the American Society of Illustrators as well as the 1996 Hamilton King Award.

I really like this one! Reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are.

Delessert has held several exhibitions of his work, including one in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in the Louvre, and one in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. 

He has also written an autobiography, l’Ours bleu, which was published in 2015 in France and Switzerland.

“The Blue Bear, memories of an image creator” by Étienne Delessert.




Heinz Edelmann

Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) was a well-known German designer, illustrator and teacher. However, he was most famous for his work as an art director and character designer for the Beatles’ 1968 animated film “Yellow Submarine”.

Record Cover illustration by Heinz Edelmann

Edelmann studied printmaking at the Düsseldorf Arts Academy, and subsequently started his career as a freelance illustrator and designer. His first designs were for various theatre posters and advertisements in Germany.

Sea of Heads illustration by Heinz Eldemann. I really like this clean, graphic style he’s chosen for this. There’s more restraint in his use of colour than there is in some of his other work.

Throughout the 60s Edelmann was a regular illustrator and cover designer for the West German youth magazine twen (published 1959 to 1971), which was known for its innovative use of design and typography. In 1967 and 1968, he worked on “Yellow Submarine”. Following the release, he worked for two years as a partner in a small London animation company.

Yellow Submarine by Heinz Edelmann
Yellow Submarine by Heinz Edelmann

Edelmann then moved to Amsterdam and designed play and film posters as well as book jackets. Among these was a cover design for a German edition of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. He also illustrated Kenneth Grahame’s famous children’s book: “The Wind in the Willows”.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Cover illustration by Heinz Edelmann

Edelmann taught industrial graphic design at the Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences from 1972 to 1976, then lectured at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences. In 1989, he became a professor of illustration at the Stuttgart State Academy of Fine Arts.

Really love this simple children’s book illustration by Edelmann. It somehow reminds me of Emma’s Cinderella watercolour illustration assignment.

Edelmann also designed the “Curro”, the 1992 Seville World’s Fair mascot.

I felt compelled to add this one because I like the style in which the figures are drawn.





Leonard Baskin

Leonard Baskin (1922 – 2000) was fine artist, illustrator, writer and teacher. He strongly thought figurative art was superior, and this belief can be seen in his work throughout his career.

“Self Portrait as a Priest” (1952)

Baskin was born in New Jersey, and at age seven he moved to New York with his family. Wanting to be a sculptor, Baskin studied at the New York University School of Architecture and Applied Arts from 1939 to 1941. In 1941, he won a scholarship to Yale university and studied there for two years. While he was there, he discovered and was deeply impressed by the illustrated books of William Blake. Baskin decided to learn to print and make his own books, and subsequently founded Gehenna Press in 1942, one of the first fine art presses in the US. His press printed over 100 books and ran until Baskin’s passing in 2000.

“White Man Runs Him” Lithograph by Leonard Baskin, 1974.

Baskin served in the US Navy at the end World War Two, and then moved to the Merchant Navy. Upon his return, he studied at The New School for Social Research, obtaining his B.A. in 1949. 

From 1953 until 1974, Baskin taught printmaking and sculpture at Smith College. During this time (1956), his first solo exhibition was at the Boris Mirski Gallery in Boston.

The Anatomist 1952 Leonard Baskin. Presented by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In 1974, Baskin moved to Britain to work with his friend Ted Hughes. They collaborated on several works, including A Primer of Birds (1981).

In 1984, Baskin returned to the US and taught at Hampshire College (Massachusetts).

Portrait of an Irishman, Sean O’Casey. L. Baskin, 1952.

Many of Baskin’s works are now owned by many major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Modern Art, etc.

Baskin passed away in 2000, and the Art Institute of Portland has a memorial to him.

Cheyenne Woman, lithograph, 1974. Many of Baskin’s works were in Black and white exclusively, but I personally appreciate his bold and flat approach to using colour.





Mead Schaeffer

Mead Schaeffer (1898 – 1980) was an American illustrator active during the late golden age of illustration.

illustration for The Black Buccaneer, published in 1920. Schaeffer had a very distinctive painterly style. He painted from life and often used muted colours in his work.

Schaeffer studied at the Pratt Institute, learning from his teachers Harvey Dunn and Charles Chapman. Schaeffer’s early projects were often critiqued by Dunn. Schaeffer illustrated the first of seven ‘Golden Boy’ books written by L. P. Wyman while he studied.

Illustration for the Count of Monte Cristo.

In 1922, Schaeffer illustrated a series of classic novels for publisher Dodd Mead, whom he continued to work for until 1930. He illustrated Moby Dick, Typee, and Omoo by Herman Melville, as well as The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

The Count of Monte Cristo Illustration by Mead Schaeffer.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Schaeffer illustrated for magazines such as Good Housekeeping, McCall’s, The Ladies Home Journal, Country Gentleman, and Cosmopolitan. He illustrated a total of 46 covers for the weekly Saturday Evening Post.

Another illustration for The Black Buccaneer. I really really really like the jade green used on the tress being hinted it in the figures’ clothing.

Schaeffer worked as a war correspondent during World War II for the Saturday Evening Post. He produced a series of covers illustrating American military personnel which he became well-known for.

Another illustration for the Count of Monte Cristo. Fantastic framing and composition.

Like many artists and illustrators of his time, Schaeffer lived in New Rochelle, New York, for some time. However, he mainly lived in Arlington, Vermont, in his barn-studio.





Pruett Carter

Pruett Alexander Carter (1891 – 1955) was an American illustrator. He studied fine art in Los Angeles at the Art Students’ League, then studied in New York under the painter Robert Henri.

I like this limited colour palette and how the paint doesn’t seem to have been overworked.

Carter followed a career path similar to that of many other illustrators of the time. He illustrated national magazines such as Life, McCall’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s Home Companion and The American Magazine, and was art director at Atlanta Journal and Good Housekeeping. He was successful in his career due to his ease with adapting his work to the needs and wants of the public.

Aside from working for magazines, Carter taught at the Grand Central Art School with N.C. Wyeth and Harvey Dunn, and was later head of the Illustration Department at the Los Angeles Chouinard Art Institute.

Carter was married and had a son with his wife Theresa in 1920. He lived in New York with them until 1930, when they relocated to Los Angeles, California. Around the same time as this move, Carter switched from his main medium of oil paint to that of gouache due to the faster drying time.

In 1955, Carter killed his wife and son in their sleep and subsequently committed suicide.

In 1988, Carter was added to the Society of Illustrators’ hall of Fame.

This is probably one of my favourite illustrations of his (from what I’ve seen). I really love how the lighting affects the feel of the composition.

Kay Nielsen

Kay Rasmus Nielsen (1886 – 1957) was an illustration from Denmark who was active during the early 20th century, or “golden age of illustration”. Nielsen became successful in illustrating early twentieth century gift books. He also collaborated with Disney, providing them with a number of story sketches and illustrations.

Illustration from East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Born in Copenhagen to actor parents, Nielsen went on the study fine art in Paris. His first commission was from Hodder and Stoughton in 1913 to illustrate the collection of fairy tales In Powder and Crinoline, Fairy Tales Retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.

Another illustration from East of the Sun and West of the Moon. (I love the composition and stark contrast of this!! Wow!!)

Over the course of his career, Nielsen illustrated scenes from ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Puss in Boots’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Bluebeard’, ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon’, ‘The Arabian Nights’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and the story of Joan of Arc.

Illustration from In Powder and Crinoline

In addition to doing illustration work, Nielsen dabbled in fine art and painted numerous landscapes of the Dover area. He learned with the Society of Tempera Painters to reduce the time involved in the painting process and held an exhibition of his work in New York before returning to Denmark.

Illustration from Hansel and Gretel.

In 1939, Nielsen moved to California and began working in Hollywood. He was personally recommended by Joe Grant to Walt Disney, and he was hired to produce concept art. His work was used in sequences of Fantasia. He also introduced concept paintings for a film adaptation of The Little Mermaid, which was released much later in 1989. Nielsen worked for The Walt Disney Company for 4 years before leaving for Denmark and staying there for the rest of his life.

Illustration from East of the Sun and West of the Moon.


Wikiart, Kay Nielsen: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/nielsen_kay.html

Wikipedia, Kay Nielsen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kay_Nielsen

Artcyclopedia, Kay Nielsen: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/nielsen_kay.html

One of my favourite illustrations of his. Love the smallness of the figure compared to the background.
I love this one too! Great use of leading lines and colour.

Richard ‘Dicky’ Doyle

Richard Doyle (not to be confused with actor Richard Doyle) was an english illustrator active during the Victorian Era. Much of his work was featured in Punch Magazine. He designed the magazine’s masthead, which was used for the next century, and illustrated the first ever front cover. He was born in London, and was one of the seven children of the cartoonist John Doyle, known for his political caricatures. Richard Doyle was fascinated with fairytales from a young age, and also proved to be a gifted illustrator. He finished his first fully illustrated book, titled “Home for the Holidays”, at age twelve. The book was then published in 1887.

Doyle’s design for the cover of Punch magazine.

At age 19, he joined the staff of Punch magazine, and worked there for seven years thereafter. Doyle also illustrated books and stories for notable authors such as Charles Dickens, and was himself an uncle to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous creator of the Sherlock Holmes series.

In 1846 Doyle illustrated The Fairy Ring, which was a new translation of Grimm’s tales). From this he became well-known as a fairytale illustrator. Some fairytale creatures that frequently appeared in his work were elves, delicate fairies, and pixies.

An elf and a fairy kissing, from In Fairy Land(1870)

Doyle’s principal series of illustrations were those for The Newcomes,  The King of the Golden River, and The Foreign Tour of Brown, Jones and Robinson. Considered his masterpiece is In Fairyland, a series of Pictures from the Elf World, accompanied by a poem by William Allingham.

Illustration by Richard Doyle for Jack and the Giants

While Richard Doyle was a talented fantastical illustrator who produced images both in colour and in black and white, he had a reputation as being “brilliant but unreliable”. He was often late in meeting deadlines for The Newcomes, and only finished the work when threatened to be replaced. His illustrations were often inconsistent in quality as he rushed through them. His excuses for not finishing his work on time were often ridiculous and flimsy, and this negatively affected his career and success.

image from Princess Nobody (1884), illustrated by Doyle, engraved and coloured by Edmund Evans.


Wikipedia, Richard Doyle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Doyle_(illustrator)

Illustration History, Richard Doyle: https://www.illustrationhistory.org/artists/richard-dicky-doyle

The Victorian Web, Richard Doyle: http://www.victorianweb.org/art/illustration/doyle/bio.html