While I was searching for a textbook yesterday for one of my college courses, I stumbled upon an old fairy tale book of classic Hans Christian Andersen tales. What I loved the most about this book, other than the fantastic stories of Andersen, were the illustrations that captured the feeling of these stories as well as the period they were written. It was like seeing the mental picture Andersen had in mind while he was writing these tails, considering that his Fairy Tales Told for Children. First Collection. were published between 1835-1837. The illustrations were made by Michael Fiodorov:
I tried to find out more about the illustrator, Michael Fiodorov, but the only thing I could discover was his list of works in Goodreads.
Nevertheless, Fiodorov’s work inspired me to search more about children book illustrators and I selectively chose three women artists whose designs imprint this sentimentality of the old years I’m looking for. By the way, the artists just happened to be women, I chose three old children’s books and they, in turn, re-directed me to the wonderful worlds of these illustrators we are about to examine.
Jessie Willcox Smith
It was this little picture that helped me discover Smith. While I was reading about the history of children’s books illustration, this little girl reminded of me. And along with this click, not only the image came out but also the entire imaginary world of Jessie Willcox Smith:
Smith is considered to be one of the greatest illustrators for children’s books. During her lifespan, she also designed magazine covers – she painted hundreds of covers for Good housekeeping Magazine, worked for Scribner’s Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and others and sketched advertisements for companies like Kodak and Ivory Soap.
Some heart-melting covers of Good Housekeeping magazine illustrated by Smith:
And some examples of her advertising work:
Smith never had children of her own. However, she managed to capture evidently this sensitivity and carelessness that characterize young age as well as the love of a parent towards a child.
Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author and illustrator, mainly drawing her love for animals and nature. She was raised isolated from other children having little interaction with her parents and, as a result, she started drawing in order to cope with her loneliness. Potter started her professional career by creating greeting cards for Hildesheimer & Faulkner publications. At the same time, she was exchanging picture letters with the children of one of the former governesses who educated her, Annie Carter Moore. Carter’s eldest son, Noel, had scarlet fever and Potter, in order to help him feel better, came up with a little tale:
Thus, The Tale of Peter Rabbit was born, one of the best children’s book of all time, that has sold over 40 million copies and it has been translated in 36 languages.
The success of the book spawned a series of tales, written and illustrated by Potter. These are also known as The 23 tales of Beatrix Potter.
Her Tales were adapted in the 1971 ballet film The Tales of Beatrix Potter, featuring dancers from the Royal Ballet of London as well as her life was made into a feature film with Renée Zellweger portraying Miss Potter.
Tasha Tudor was a beloved American illustrator and writer. She authored and designed the images of many books, like Pumpkin Moonshine (1938), Edgar Allan Crow (1953), A Time to Keep (1977) and Corgiville Fair (1971) plus illustrated famous Andersen’s tales, The Secret Garden authored by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1962) and stories from Mother Goose for which she received the Caldecott Medal – an award granted to the best American picture books. Tudor’s work also includes New England nostalgic scenes, primarily shown on the Christmas cards she made:
Tudor’s love pictures, though, are my favorite ♥
Do you have any favorite illustrators? Or any childhood fairytale books that you loved the pictures? Leave me a comment 🙂