Ice-Skating in Illustration

.R.R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973) 1934 illustration for Letters From Father Christmas, a collection of letters written and illustrated by Tolkien between 1920 and 1943 for his children
.R.R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973) 1934 illustration for Letters From Father Christmas, a collection of letters written and illustrated by Tolkien between 1920 and 1943 for his children
Robert J. Lee for 'This is a Town' by Polly Curren, 1957
Robert J. Lee for ‘This is a Town’ by Polly Curren, 1957
David Delamare (1951-2016) modern mermaid illustration
David Delamare (1951-2016) modern mermaid illustration
Ice-skating in a Village, Hendrick Avercamp, c. 1610
Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters, Hendrick Avercamp, c. 1608
Enjoying the Ice, Hendrick Avercamp, c. 1615 - c. 1620
Enjoying the Ice, Hendrick Avercamp, c. 1615 – c. 1620
Winter Landscape with a Woman and a Youth on a Small Bridge, Skaters and a Gallows in the Distance, Hendrick Avercamp, c. 1620 - c. 1625
Winter Landscape with a Woman and a Youth on a Small Bridge, Skaters and a Gallows in the Distance, Hendrick Avercamp, c. 1620 – c. 1625
Hand-colored lithograph; no artist or publisher listed. American, circa 1874, ice skating
Hand-colored lithograph; no artist or publisher listed. American, circa 1874, ice skating
Konstantin Somov Winter. Skating Rink, 1915
Konstantin Somov Winter. Skating Rink, 1915
Charles Lees – Skaters, a Scene on Duddingston Loch
Skating on the Serpentine
Skating on the Serpentine
The Little Golden Funny Book, pictures by J.P.Miller, 1950
The Little Golden Funny Book, pictures by J.P.Miller, 1950

Women and Cats in Art

There is a strong link between women, girls and cats. In fiction, for instance, women are frequently described as cats (and also as birds).

Then there’s the witch link between women and cats, who are thought to be witches’ familiars. During the witch craze, a small proportion of men were also tried for witchcraft, but the modern witch archetype is an old woman who sometimes transmogrifies into a beautiful young woman in order to trick men or to test them.

Then there’s the modern dismissive archetype of the ‘crazy cat lady’, for which there is no male counterpart.

Below are some artworks celebrating the relationship between women, girls and their cats.

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (1888-1960)
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (1888-1960)
Continue reading “Women and Cats in Art”

The Colour Purple Symbolism

Before the concept for ‘blue’ existed, Homer wrote famously in The Odyssey of the “wine-dark sea.” Sure, it might’ve looked purple even to a contemporary audience, but we know from other writings around the world that the concept of ‘blue’ was late to enter human consciousness. “The Odyssey” suggests that blue was included the concept of purple.

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Naive Illustration In Picture Books

When illustrators talk about creating artwork for children, they sometimes talk about including something in each work which will encourage child readers to pick up a pencil or brush and give art a go themselves. This seems especially important for artists working with a realistic style. Sometimes (not always) you’ll find something on a page which you think you could probably have a crack at yourself.

Janusz-Stanny-The-Snow-Queen
Janusz Stanny’s illustration for The Snow Queen is a good example of a naive object inside a more realist painting. The boy (in blue) is a completely different level of realism from the face in the sky.

Though I haven’t heard Shaun Tan say this exact thing, the collage effects he uses in The Lost Thing have this effect on the reader.

For other artists, their entire page gives the impression it has been done by a naive artist. These are clearly very good at drawing young readers in. I’d like to underscore the point that although these pieces look easy to do, a lot of design consideration, colour science and years of practice has gone into them.

In some cases, picture book illustrators have two (or more) distinct styles, and sometimes they use both for children’s stories. One example is Adrienne Adams. First, a sophisticated illustration for a picture book based on Wind in the Willows.

But for the witch books, Adams utillised a deliberately naive style, similar to that of John Burningham. Both styles still look like they’ve been done by the same person.

Another children’s book illustrator with two very different styles is Paul O. Zelinsky. He can work like an old master or more like a comic book artist for young children.

To create a work which looks easy is a skill in its own right.

Ludwig Bemelmans

Zbigniew Rychlicki

Zbigniew Rychlicki (1922-1989) was a Polish graphic artist, and illustrator of children’s books. He received the Hans Christian Andersen Awards Prize given by the Jury of the International Board on Books for Young People for outstanding artistic achievement.

Zbigniew Rychlicki birds sheep
A Zbigniew Rychlicki illustration showing excellent use of white space.
Zbigniew Rychlicki elephant
Zbigniew Rychlicki had a number of styles and media.
Zbigniew Rychlicki harlequin clown
Zbigniew Rychlicki deliberately created off-kilter perspective for a carnivalesque effect. He has deliberately coloured ‘outside the lines’, or partially coloured in some areas, to give the impression of haste.
Zbigniew Rychlicki table
Another Zbigniew Rychlicki illustration with off-kilter perspective. In naive illustrations, characters tend to exist either in profile, back view or front view. This folkart style is easier for children to draw.
Zbigniew Rychlicki rooster
Zbigniew Rychlicki’s illustration of a farmhouse and rooster looks like it has been created using a childlike medium with a broad tip.
This looks less naive, and is a complex composition. Still, the characters in profile, their dots for eyes, single lines for mouths, abstract/silhouette background and off-kilter perspective offers the child reader a simulatable model.

Mary Blair

1950 illustration
1950 illustration

Danièle Bour

Danièle Bour (born 1939) is a French illustrator, best known for of the Petit Ours Brun series for young readers. She has been illustrating since 1972.

Elżbieta Wasiuczyńska

Elżbieta Wasiuczyńska is a Polish illustrator born 1955.

Continue reading “Naive Illustration In Picture Books”

Fish Bowls In Art

George Dunlop Leslie - The Goldfish Seller

The fishbowl is a common symbol of surveillance, as is a glass house. For house cats, the fish bowl is a miniature version of the pond or lake — domestic version.

Blanchie and the Goldfish from the book Clever Cats a Chimney Corner Series unknown author and illustrator, published by Peter G. Thomson, Cincinatti, Ohio, 1885
Blanchie and the Goldfish from the book Clever Cats a Chimney Corner Series unknown author and illustrator, published by Peter G. Thomson, Cincinatti, Ohio, 1885
by Gilbert Wilkinson cat goldfish
by Gilbert Wilkinson
Anne Anderson and Alan Wright husband and wife illustrators, from The Cuddly Kitty and the Busy Bunny by Clara G Dennis 1927 goldfish
Anne Anderson and Alan Wright husband and wife illustrators, from The Cuddly Kitty and the Busy Bunny by Clara G Dennis 1927
Dutch poster for Philips Tv, 1951 fish
Dutch poster for Philips TV, 1951
Shukan Shincho cover by Rokuro Taniuchi 1979
Shukan Shincho cover by Rokuro Taniuchi 1979
Illustration by Carlo Bisi, 1932
Illustration by Carlo Bisi, 1932
French fashion illustrations c.1920s George Barbier
French fashion illustrations c.1920s George Barbier
Erte 1977 fishbowl
Erte 1977 fishbowl
Cat and Bowl of Goldfish, 1933 by Ohara Koson (Shoson) (1877 - 1945)
Cat and Bowl of Goldfish, 1933 by Ohara Koson (Shoson) (1877 – 1945)
Marguerite Davis, 1936 goldfish
Marguerite Davis, 1936
Le Monde A Envers, (Pomme d’Api), 1942 goldfish
Cat and Goldfish from the series One Hundred Tales. Utagawa Kuniyoshi. 1839
Cat and Goldfish from the series One Hundred Tales. Utagawa Kuniyoshi. 1839
From ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ 1966 Written by Elizabeth Rose Illustrated by Gerald Rose ( b. 1935) fish bowl
From ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ 1966 Written by Elizabeth Rose Illustrated by Gerald Rose ( b. 1935) fish bowl

Header painting: George Dunlop Leslie – The Goldfish Seller

Sewing, Weaving and Spinning in Art

Man and Woman at a Spinning Wheel, Pieter Pietersz. (I), c. 1560 - c. 1570. Despite their individualized features, it is uncertain whether the depiction of this elegantly dressed couple was intended as a portrait. The scene nevertheless carries a clear message. The man holding a tankard is seducing the young woman, who stares directly at us. She must choose between the spinning wheel and the tankard, between virtue and vice.
Man and Woman at a Spinning Wheel, Pieter Pietersz. (I), c. 1560 – c. 1570. Despite their individualized features, it is uncertain whether the depiction of this elegantly dressed couple was intended as a portrait. The scene nevertheless carries a clear message. The man holding a tankard is seducing the young woman, who stares directly at us. She must choose between the spinning wheel and the tankard, between virtue and vice.
Portrait of a Woman, possibly Anne Codde, Maarten van Heemskerck, 1529
Portrait of a Woman, possibly Anne Codde, Maarten van Heemskerck, 1529
Boris Dekhterev - Sleeping Beauty spindle
Boris Dekhterev – Sleeping Beauty
Spinster in een interieur, Jan van Halbeeck, 1600 - 1630
Spinster in een interieur, Jan van Halbeeck, 1600 – 1630
Wevende vrouw, Jan van Halbeeck (possibly copy after), 1610 - c. 1680
Wevende vrouw, Jan van Halbeeck (possibly copy after), 1610 – c. 1680
De spinster, Nicolaes Maes, 1652 - 1662
De spinster, Nicolaes Maes, 1652 – 1662
Peasant Woman Spinning, Thomas Wijck, 1640 - 1677
Peasant Woman Spinning, Thomas Wijck, 1640 – 1677
Vrouw aan spinnewiel, Justus Chevillet, after Johann Kaspar Heilmann, 1762
Vrouw aan spinnewiel, Justus Chevillet, after Johann Kaspar Heilmann, 1762
Spinnende jonge vrouw, Jan Weissenbruch, 1832 - 1880
Spinning young woman, Jan Weissenbruch, 1832 – 1880
Spinster aan het werk, Leopold Löwenstam, 1852 - 1898
Spinster at her work, Leopold Löwenstam, 1852 – 1898
Zeemeermin van Edam spinnend in een huisje, 1403, anonymous, 1643 - 1645
Mermaid of Edam spinning in a house, 1403, anonymous, 1643 – 1645
Spinnende vrouw in gesprek met vrouw, Johannes Alexander Rudolf Best, 1823
Spinning woman talking to woman, Johannes Alexander Rudolf Best, 1823
Nikifor Rashchektayev - The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish spinning
Nikifor Rashchektayev – The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish spinning
Boerderij met spinnende vrouw, Richard Adam, 1654 - c. 1720
Farm with spinning woman, Richard Adam, 1654 – c. 1720
Spinnende vrouw voor een huis, Adriaen van Ostade, 1652
Woman spinning in front of a house, Adriaen van Ostade, 1652
Spinnende herderin, Paul van Somer (II), 1670 - 1697
Shepherdess spinning, Paul van Somer (II), 1670 – 1697
Vrouw met spinrokken en een haspel in de handen, Jacques Callot, 1630 - 1661
Woman with distaff and a reel in the hands, Jacques Callot, 1630 – 1661
Woonkamer met zoon Jantje en spinnende slavin Flora, Jan Brandes, 1784
Living room with son Jantje and spinning slave Flora, Jan Brandes, 1784
Phoebe Wahl
Phoebe Wahl
Floris Arntzenius, (1864 - 1925) Daily chores
Floris Arntzenius, (1864 – 1925) Daily chores
Norman Rockwell - Threading the needle (1922)
Norman Rockwell – Threading the needle (1922)
Samuel Uhrdin. He was born in Siljansnäs Dalarna Sweden sewing
Samuel Uhrdin. He was born in Siljansnäs Dalarna Sweden
In-The-Orphanage-at-Katwijk-Binnen-by-David-Adolph-Constant-Artz-c1870-c1890-3000x2232
In-The-Orphanage-at-Katwijk-Binnen-by-David-Adolph-Constant-Artz-c1870-c1890-3000×2232
by Anton Pieck 1895-1987
by Anton Pieck 1895-1987
Anton Franciscus Pieck (19 April 1895 – 24 November 1987) night women inside sewing
Anton Franciscus Pieck (19 April 1895 – 24 November 1987)
Arthur Hacker - A Difficulty 1888
Arthur Hacker – A Difficulty 1888
Woman Sewing, Carl Larsson, 1912
Woman Sewing, Carl Larsson, 1912
'Young Mother Sewing (1900)' painted by Mary Cassatt
‘Young Mother Sewing (1900)’ painted by Mary Cassatt
THE BITING EYE (1960) André François
THE BITING EYE (1960) André François
Victoria Sewing Machine advertising lithograph. Artist Imp. B. Sirven, circa 1903, France
Victoria Sewing Machine advertising lithograph. Artist Imp. B. Sirven, circa 1903, France
by Marcus Campbell, 1952, sewing machine
by Marcus Campbell, 1952, sewing machine
From the 1944 book What Miranda Knew illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones
From the 1944 book What Miranda Knew illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones
Nans van Leeuwen (1900 - 1995) Dutch cat women
Nans van Leeuwen (1900 – 1995), Dutch illustrator.
Frank Holl - The Song of the Shirt 1874 sewing
Frank Holl – The Song of the Shirt 1874
The Fitting, Viktor Schramm (Romanian), 1900 sewing
The Fitting, Viktor Schramm (Romanian), 1900
Peter Gut sewing
Peter Gut
Carl Larsson, (1853-1919), Sweden The girl weaving red gold bands
Carl Larsson, (1853-1919), Sweden The girl weaving red gold bands
Kinuko Craft - Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave weaving
Kinuko Craft – Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
Carl Larsson- Loom and Thread
Carl Larsson- Loom and Thread
Princess With A Spindle, 1896
Brünhild Schlötter for Sleeping Beauty c1938, castle wheel for a spinning wheel, less commonly depicted in picture books
Janet and Anne Grahame-Johnstone - Rumpelstiltskin  spinning
Janet and Anne Grahame-Johnstone for Rumpelstiltskin
Margaret at the Spinning Wheel, from Goethe’s Faust illustrated by Willy Pogány (1908)
Thomas Wilmer Dewing – The Spinner
George Sand The Pink Cloud spinning Svetlana Kim 1982
Kinuko Craft - Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
Kinuko Craft – Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
Santa Claus and his Works, by George Webster, published 1888 2
Santa Claus and his Works, by George Webster, published 1888 sewing
World War 2 poster sew for victory
World War 2 poster sew for victory

The header illustration is a poster from World War 2.

Underground Scenes In Picture Books

Mole reached down a lantern from a nail on the wall and lit it, and the Rat, looking round him, saw that they were in a sort of fore-court. A garden-seat stood on one side of the door, and on the other a roller; for the Mole, who was a tidy animal when at home, could not stand having hiw ground kicked up by other animals into little runs that ended in earth heaps. On the walls hung wire baskets with ferns in them, alternating with brackets carrying plaster statuary — Garibaldi, and the infant Samuel and Queen Victoria, and other heroes of modern Italy. Down one side of the forecourt ran a skittle-alley, with benches along it and little wooden tables marked with rings that hinted at beer-mugs. In the middle was a small round pond containing goldfish and surrounded by a cockle-shell border. Out of the centre of the pond rose a fanciful erection clothed in more cockle-shells and topped by a large silvered glass ball that reflected everything all wrong and had a very pleasing effect.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. A description of Mole’s underground home. He returns after a long absence, and after a near death experience in the Wild Wood.
Yuri Vasnetsov (Russian,1900-1973) - Sweet little sleeping mouse in his underground house
Yuri Vasnetsov (Russian,1900-1973) – Sweet little sleeping mouse in his underground house. Humans evolved from a mouse like creature who survived the dinosaur apocalypse due to its ability to hide out underground. This mouse is all of us.
Fritz Baumgarten postcard
Fritz Baumgarten postcard
Fritz Baumgarten, 1979
Fritz Baumgarten, 1979
Marco Vaccari
Marco Vaccari
stars underground
Anne of Green Gables illustration by Hanuol (Kim Ji Hyuck). “A Night Full of Stars” imagines a land below us equally bright and starlit as the world above.
underground scene
The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Hoarde by Shannon Hale
The Whole World is My Burrow by Albert Ivanov illustrated by G. Zolotovskaya
The Whole World is My Burrow by Albert Ivanov illustrated by G. Zolotovskaya
Richard Scarry, The Golden Book
Richard Scarry, The Golden Book
Harrison Cady (1877-1970)
Harrison Cady (1877-1970)
Ernest Howard Shepard (1879-1976), British illustrator. The Wind in the Willows, 1931
Ernest Howard Shepard (1879-1976), British illustrator. The Wind in the Willows, 1931 edition.
Mabel Lucie Attwell - Peter Pan
Mabel Lucie Attwell – Peter Pan

Commuter and Transfer Stations In Art

These illustrations are views of the outside of commuter stations — train stations, lorry transfer stations. (I’m not including here illustrations of the insides of commuter stations.)

Flat Tire at the Commuter Station 1960 Amos Sewell (1901-1983)
Flat Tire at the Commuter Station 1960 Amos Sewell (1901-1983)
New Yorker cover train station by Garrett Price
New Yorker cover train station by Garrett Price
New Yorker cover train station night by Garrett Price
New Yorker cover train station night by Garrett Price
Charles Saxon, cover for The New Yorker, 1959
Charles Saxon, cover for The New Yorker, 1959
When the railway is closed by snow... Rowland Emett, Punch 1953
When the railway is closed by snow… Rowland Emett, Punch 1953
Grace Golden (1904-1993) lorry station
Grace Golden (1904-1993)
Théophile Poilpot - Embarkation of La Normandie at Havre 1889
Théophile Poilpot – Embarkation of La Normandie at Havre 1889
Erskine Nicol - The Emigrants 1864
Erskine Nicol – The Emigrants 1864
‘Christmas at Basingstoke’ by Robin Pinnock railway platform station
‘Christmas at Basingstoke’ by Robin Pinnock
Norman Rockwell, Color Study for Breaking Home Ties, 1954, cover for The Saturday Evening Post
Norman Rockwell, Color Study for Breaking Home Ties, 1954, cover for The Saturday Evening Post
Adolph K. Kronengold commuter station
Adolph K. Kronengold
'Fairies' by 'Moebius' Jean Giraud (French Artist,Cartoonist 1938-2012)
‘Fairies’ by ‘Moebius’ Jean Giraud (French Artist,Cartoonist 1938-2012)