Balloons and Bubbles in Art and Illustration

Balloons and Bubbles in Art and Illustration
Here’s an example of 1960s children’s humour found in The Joke Book, illustrated by Bill and Bonnie Rutherford. There’s a lot of flight in children’s literature, with flying being one of the main wish fulfilment fantasies. There’s also a lot of floating, which is related.
Poster by Achille Luciano Mauzan, 1923
Illustration by Ati Forberg from 'Attic of the Wind' by Doris Herold Lund. published by World's Work, 1966
Illustration by Ati Forberg from ‘Attic of the Wind’ by Doris Herold Lund. published by World’s Work, 1966. Flat illustration combined with line drawing.
Millicent the Monster by Mary Lystad, Illustrations by Victoria Chess frontispiece illustration
Balloons from a film called Phantom Thread
Molly Brett (1902–1990) was an English illustrator and children’s author. Somehow this balloon looks kind of like a fruit.
Woman's Home Companion Magazine December 1939 Haddon Sundblom Cover (detail)
Woman’s Home Companion Magazine December 1939 Haddon Sundblom Cover art (detail). I’d like to see a man posed like this holding balloons.
‘The balloon seller’ Racey Helps
‘The balloon seller’ by Racey Helps, well-known for the depicting fully anthropomorphised rabbits (in Beatrix Potter tradition).
In Animalville 1939.
Caption: Tabby and Peter feasted on goodies at the fair.
This illustration is by Eileen A. Soper for an for Enid Blyton story.
by Clara Ernst & Dorothy Grider for Up the Street and Down from a Betts Basic Readers primer by Emmett A. Betts and & Carolyn M. Welch, 1948
This illustration is by Clara Ernst & Dorothy Grider for Up the Street and Down, a Betts Basic Readers primer by Emmett A. Betts and & Carolyn M. Welch, 1948. These days I think kids would be told by parents, Never buy a balloon from a strange dude who stands around near groups of kiddies.
This is from All Around Me by the great Shirley Hughes, who has always depicted the realness of childhood. Note the two kids fighting as the others line up for a balloon.
Pierre Probst [1913-2007] 'Notre-Dame' 1979, Caroline visite Paris - Tome 16
Pierre Probst [1913-2007] ‘Notre-Dame’ 1979, Caroline visite Paris – Tome. The fear of being lifted by a bunch of balloons is very real nightmare fuel exacerbated by an international corpus of children’s literature. This is how fairgrounds become inverted horror settings, folks.
The Great Sea Horse 1909 by Isabel Anderson
The Great Sea Horse 1909 by Isabel Anderson. I actually don’t know what these are. Are they giant redback sacs? I live in Australia. I find these in the garage every year.
‘Still Life’ by Alfred Eberling (1872-1951).  Polish originally  but moved to St Petersburg, balloons
‘Still Life’ by Alfred Eberling (1872-1951). Eberling was a Polish artist who moved to St Petersburg. The colours and transparency are magnificent, as is the goldfish bowl vase which looks like another balloon.
Molly Brett (1902–1990) was an English illustrator and children's author fair balloons
Molly Brett (1902–1990) was an English illustrator and children’s author. Balloons and the fair go together.
I haven’t found the illustrator but it’s from 1933.
Thé Tjong-Khing
Thé Tjong-Khing is a children’s book illustrator based in the Netherlands. He was born in Purworedjo, Java. The placement of that red balloon gives the eyes a focal point in a busy illustration.
One at a time, a girl discovers ten clues hidden in her large modern house, which will lead her, after a thrilling treasure hunt, to her secret garden. Another example of a red balloon utilised as focal point.
One at a time, a girl discovers ten clues hidden in her large modern house, which will lead her, after a thrilling treasure hunt, to her secret garden. Another example of a red balloon utilised as focal point.
RADIO CRAFT MAGAZINE DECEMBER 1931 VINTAGE ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY NEWS
RADIO CRAFT MAGAZINE DECEMBER 1931 VINTAGE ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY NEWS
Rick Astley Up

BUBBLES

Before balloons became a popular feature of childhood, bubbles seemed to play a similar function to balloons in children’s illustration and imagination.

First of all, if you’re unfamiliar with Virgil Finlay, master of bubbles, here’s how he snuck bubble shapes into most of his work (or sometimes made a feature of them:

Woman’s World Magazine August 1919
Woman’s World Magazine September 1933
HAROLD GAZE (1884 – 1963). Harold Gaze was a New Zealand illustrator.
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite Sherbourne.
Francis Tipton Hunter, 1896-1957, Bubble Fairies, 1921
Francis Tipton Hunter, 1896-1957, Bubble Fairies, 1921
The Song of the Elfin-A Book of Verses and Pictures by Florence Harrison, 1912
In Animalville, 1939, ‘I can blow more bubbles than anybody,’ boasts Junior Jumbo.
Erte, Harpers Bazar cover art, 1918.
COUNTRY GENTLEMAN Magazine July 1935  blowing bubbles
COUNTRY GENTLEMAN Magazine July 1935. Children blowing bubbles outside and also playing with other popular toys of the 1930s.
PERLETTE, goutte d’eau (1960) Gerda, strange little bubble creatures somewhat reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki. (Yes, I’m thinking of Ponyo.)
しゃぼんだま 1985
しゃぼんだま 1985
Illustration for the cover of The Sphere by Rafael de Penagos (1926). That cat looks evil.
Detail from a 1957 Dial Soap advertisement, illustrated by Winnie Fitch. I guess the rinse cycle on that washing machine doesn’t work.
John Everett Millais – Bubbles.
Helen Allingham – Bubbles
Carlton Alfred Smith – Blowing Bubbles 1897
John Dawson Watson – Bubbles – Cottage Scene with Children at Play 1856
Marie-Madeleine FRENCH NOHAIN blowing bubbles
Marie-Madeleine FRENCH NOHAIN blowing bubbles
Cicely Mary Barker blowing bubbles
1960 CALLING ALL GIRLS cover by Freeman Elliott

Those who tell the stories rule the world.

Native American Proverb