Autumn Colours in Illustration

The basic meaning of ‘autumn colour’ is clear. Even within that palette, there is a huge variety of hues illustrators use to depict fall. Below are examples including realism and heightened, saturated fantasy colours.

Adolph K Kronengold - 1929 autumn trees flat
Adolph K Kronengold – 1929 autumn trees flat
Autumn An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, illustrated by Leslie Evans (1997)
Autumn An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, illustrated by Leslie Evans (1997)
Autumn An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, illustrated by Leslie Evans (1997)
Autumn An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, illustrated by Leslie Evans (1997)
S.R. Badman, 1949 farm in autumn
S.R. Badman, 1949 farm in autumn

October and her dad live in the woods. They sleep in the house Dad built for them and eat the food they grow in the vegetable patches. They know the trees and the rocks and the lake and stars like best friends. They read the books they buy in town again and again until the pages are soft and yellow – until next year’s town visit. They live in the woods and they are wild. And that’s the way it is.

Until the year October turns eleven. That’s the year October rescues a baby owl. It’s the year Dad falls out of the biggest tree in their woods. The year the woman who calls herself October’s mother comes back. The year everything changes.

This book is a feast for the senses, filled with the woodsmoke smell of crisp autumn mornings and the sound of wellies squelching in river mud. And, as October fights to find the space to be wild in the whirling chaos of the world beyond the woods, it is also a feast for the soul

Achiel Van Sassenbrouck yellow sky
Achiel Van Sassenbrouck
Three children in a forest look up at the yellow leaves on the trees in wonder.
Cover of a Swedish school reader, Vill du läsa (Do You Want to Read) illustrated by Elsa Beskow (1874-1953)
by Edna Eicke (1919-1979) small yacht autumn
by Edna Eicke (1919-1979)
Illustration by Fanny Young Cory (1877-1972) Jack Frost autumn
Illustration by Fanny Young Cory (1877-1972) Jack Frost autumn
Easy Answers to Hard Questions pictures by Susan Perl text by Susanne Kirtland (1968) why do leaves change colour
Easy Answers to Hard Questions pictures by Susan Perl text by Susanne Kirtland (1968) why do leaves change colour
GARRETT PRICE,  The New Yorker, October 15 1949
GARRETT PRICE, The New Yorker, October 15 1949
Leaf Picker (Ramasseuse de feuilles) by Ernest Bieler, 1909
Leaf Picker (Ramasseuse de feuilles) by Ernest Bieler, 1909
Peter Bagin autumn caravan
Peter Bagin
Peter Bagin
Peter Bagin
illustrated by Ilonka Karasz (1896 - 1981) Hungarian illustrator, The New Yorker 1942 holiday home autumn
illustrated by Ilonka Karasz (1896 – 1981) Hungarian illustrator, The New Yorker 1942 holiday home autumn
Pedro Roldán Molina, Spanish
Pedro Roldán Molina, Spanish
Michael O'Toole autumn
Michael O’Toole autumn
'The Dream of Three Birch Trees' Cover by Antonio Rubino, 1949 autumn
‘The Dream of Three Birch Trees’ Cover by Antonio Rubino, 1949 autumn
Ryohei Tanaka autumn
Ryohei Tanaka
by Arthur Getz (1913-1996)
by Arthur Getz (1913-1996)
Tadahiro Uesugi autumn palette
Tadahiro Uesugi autumn palette
Pedro Roldán Molina Spanish artist
Pedro Roldán Molina Spanish artist
Marit Törnqvist, Swedish-Dutch illustrator  autumn
Marit Törnqvist, Swedish-Dutch illustrator
Vincent Van Gogh People Strolling in a Paris Park,1886
Vincent Van Gogh People Strolling in a Paris Park,1886
Emma Brownjohn. Autumn colours, 1969
Emma Brownjohn. Autumn colours, 1969
From Loraine and the Little People by Elizabeth Gordon and illustrated by M. T. Ross, 1915
From Loraine and the Little People by Elizabeth Gordon and illustrated by M. T. Ross, 1915
Fun with Leaves. United Church Press, 1962. By Sunny B. Warner
Fun with Leaves. United Church Press, 1962. By Sunny B. Warner. This illustration of autumn makes much use of blue (as a complementary colour).
Carl Larsson Autumn
Carl Larsson Autumn
Illustration by Brian Wildsmith in ' The North Wind and the Sun', Oxford University Press. First published 1964, this reprint 1974 autumn
Illustration by Brian Wildsmith in ‘ The North Wind and the Sun’, Oxford University Press. First published 1964, this reprint 1974
Shingebiss from Stories That Never Grow Old by Watty Piper (Editor),  George Hauman (Illustrator), Doris Hauman (Illustrator), copyright 1952, first published in 1938
Shingebiss from Stories That Never Grow Old by Watty Piper (Editor), George Hauman (Illustrator), Doris Hauman (Illustrator), copyright 1952, first published in 1938
by Adam Kilian, 1973, Polish autumn
by Adam Kilian, 1973, Polish autumn
'Shade Tree, April 12, 1958' Giclee Print - Richard Sargent
‘Shade Tree, April 12, 1958’ Giclee Print – Richard Sargent
Michael O'Toole - Canadian autumn
Michael O’Toole – Canadian
Fedir Konovalyuk (1890 - 1984) autumn
Fedir Konovalyuk (1890 – 1984) autumn
Illustration by Kawakami Shiro ( 川上四郎 絵) forKodomo no kuni (Children's Land), c1920s and 30s autumn
Illustration by Kawakami Shiro ( 川上四郎 絵) forKodomo no kuni (Children’s Land), c1920s and 30s autumn
Camping on Lake Chautauqua by the Gibson Lithographing Co., illustrator not credited
Camping on Lake Chautauqua by the Gibson Lithographing Co., illustrator not credited
William Mellor - Autumn on the Lledr sheep river
William Mellor – Autumn on the Lledr sheep river
Benjamin Leader - Unterseen, Interlaken - Autumn in Switzerland
Benjamin Leader – Unterseen, Interlaken – Autumn in Switzerland

Artists from the Czech Republic are well-known for their use of vibrant palettes. For some children’s book examples, see here.

Czech artist Mirko Hanák was born in 1921 in Prague (Czech Republic) and worked as a painter, graphic artist, designer and illustrator. Basically Mirko portrayed animals and people in his paintings and illustrations, which were full of life and fun. He had a great sense of composition.

Mirko Hanák was working on Charlotte’s Web when he tragically died at the height of his career from leukemia in 1971

Mirko-Hanák-Czech-painter-graphic-artist-and-illustrator-1921-1971-red-barn
Mirko Hanák, Czech painter graphic artist and illustrator (1921-1971)
Bleeding Forest Theodor Kittelsen 1905
Bleeding Forest Theodor Kittelsen 1905
Francisco Fonseca, Portuguese Illustrator, Autumn Reading
Francisco Fonseca, Portuguese Illustrator, Autumn Reading

Japan is another country with distinct four seasons and art which reflects that.

Autumn, Hakone Museum (1954) Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995)
Autumn, Hakone Museum (1954) Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995)
1909 Franklin Motor Car -Touring through the autumn woods
1909 Franklin Motor Car -Touring through the autumn woods
Ronald Lampitt autumn scene
Ronald Lampitt autumn scene
Benjamin Leader - Autumn's Last Gleam
Benjamin Leader – Autumn’s Last Gleam
James Thomas Watts - Autumn Woods 1885
James Thomas Watts – Autumn Woods 1885
William Stott of Oldham - Autumn 1898
William Stott of Oldham – Autumn 1898
1925 illustration by Paul Allier, Autumn, fashion
1925 illustration by Paul Allier, Autumn, fashion
Leaf Peepers, cover art by Argentine cartoonist Ricardo Siri, also known as Liniers autumn
Leaf Peepers, cover art by Argentine cartoonist Ricardo Siri, also known as Liniers autumn
Sulamith Wulfing (1901-1989) 1950s illustration. Difficult to be specific about  what this is for, but Wulfing illustrated many postcards and playing card sets which were collected in the 1970s.
Sulamith Wulfing (1901-1989) 1950s illustration. Difficult to be specific about what this is for, but Wulfing illustrated many postcards and playing card sets which were collected in the 1970s.

Roger Duvoisin’s palette is unique to him. So how does someone with an established palette use that same set of colours to depict autumn for the picture book Autumn Harvest, written by Alvin Tresselt in 1951?

Lemon girl young adult novella

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