Posts Tagged ‘childrens books’

Artist of the moment………Ezra Jack Keats




Ezra Jack Keats was a fantastic children’s book writer and illustrator. I remember reading what is probably his most famous book, The Snowy Day. This book won him the prestigious Caldecott award given for the best children’s book.

Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, New York in the year 1916. His family was poor and his father often discouraged his son from wanting to be an artist. Just a few days  before winning an award for the best artist at his high school, his father died.

His dad kept the local newspaper clippings of Ezra in his pocket, but never showed him any outward praise for his artistic talents. Keats developed his skills by many trips to the library and taking art classes in his public education.

After his dad died the artist took a job in the comic book industry rather than go to  college. He painted background in comic scenes and also designed camouflage the U.S. Armed Forces.

After his service in the war the artist moved to Paris where he fine tuned his art skills. After returning to the States the artist began illustrating children’s books. Over his career Keats wrote and illustrated 22 books.

The book snowy day featured Peter, a young African- American boy and his adventures on a snowy day. In this clip below we hear from a member of the Ezra James Keats foundation and her thoughts on Mr. Keats. It was the first time a children’s book had a person of color act as the hero or main character:

Ezra Jack Keats passed away in 1983 at the age of 67.

Keats experimented in his children’s illustration art using many different and fun ways that a child might use to apply paint such as spattering paint with a toothbrush. The artist was also among the first to use collage in the genre.

The art of Ezra Jack Keats brings me back to the wonderful time when I myself was a kid. His clever design and multi media works are full of fun shapes and patterns that helped to make his stories so much fun to read. His work also reminds me of Disney artist Mary Blair. Both of these remarkable artists were among the first to feature children of color in their art and as a main character of their stories.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

We close with some examples of Keats’ work and the thoughts of a curator:



Artists of the moment………Liz and Kat Pope


Liz and Katherine(Kat) Pope are sisters and also two wonderful artists that work in painting, printmaking, and collage. The Pope sisters are British and their studio is in Chesterfield, England.

The sisters have worked as children’s book illustrators, greeting cards, and posters for many years. The sister’s worked on a series of greeting cards for Taylor Swift.

I enjoy their collage work the most. Wonderful design with a vibrant use of color. The sisters take a great design such as an urban scene of houses. Rather than take the time to paint nearly every window a la Richard Estes, some multi story buildings have only 4 windows. This artistic duo have a great and unique style perfect for children’s books illustration. Great design and whimsical at the same time.

Price range information: Posters and greeting cards can be found for less than $10. Originals can reach as much as $600 euros.





Artist of the moment…….Peggy Bacon


Peggy Bacon is an American artist renown or her caricature work and illustrations of children’s books. Peggy Bacon was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut in the year 1895. Bacon’s parents were both artists and met each other at the Art Student’s League of New York. Over her lengthy career Bacon illustrated more than 60 books including writing 19 of these.

Price range information: Bacon was a prolific printmaker with prices ranging from $500 to $10,000.

As a young child and teen Bacon lived in many different locations around the world including Paris, France and Nassau, Bahamas and the north eastern part of the United States.

In this clip we view a top 10 list of illustrations produced by Peggy Bacon:

After finishing high school at a boarding school her father killed himself due to depression.

Bacon enjoyed the Art Student’s League of New York City because it was the first time she was surrounded by young people who all had the same common interest and goals, to succeed in the world of art.

Bacon was elected to the National Academy of Design.


Peggy Bacon passed away in 1987 at the age of 91 years old.

Bacon worked in oils, watercolors, and gouache.

What wonderful draftsmanship. Bacon is often overlooked, but her drawing skills were just as good as other artists of her era such as Kenneth Hayes Miller and Ed Hopper.





Artist of the moment……James Warhola



James Warhola was the son of Andy Warhol’s oldest brother Paul. James Warhola was born in Smock, Pennsylvania in the year 1955. For his artistic education Warhola attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Warhola also studied at the  Art Student’s League of New York City and privately with artist Michael Aviano.

After college the artist worked for a short time at his uncle’s magazine called Interview magazine.

The artist left his uncle’s magazine and chose to become an illustrator. James Warhola has illustrated more than 300 book covers of science fiction and also children’s books.

The artist also gained recognition for his writing of a book about his famous uncle, Andy Warhol. The book is titled “Uncle Andy’s.”

In this clip we take a look at the book “Uncle Andy’s” Its easy to see where James found his love of art!

James Warhola also has worked with the famed Mad magazine for decades.


Warhola is based out of Tivola, New York and helps to run the Andy Warhol Museum.

A link to the website of James Warhola. Many more great illustration examples are located here!

In this clip we view James Warhola at a book signing for another book with his uncle in mind titled “Uncle Andy’s Cats.”

Price range information: Sorry none available.





Artist of the moment…….Laurent De Brunhoff

De Brunhoff comes from a very artistic family, his father Jean De Brunhoff and his mother came up with the idea of Babar the elephant. His mother made the stories for her children who were 4 and 5 years old at the time. The children convinced their father, who wan illustrator and artist to try and get his books published. Before passing away in the mid 1930s Jean published several books dealing with Babar.

Laurent De Brunhoff worked with his father as a colorist for some of his later books featuring Babar. Laurent went on to learn his father’s drawing style and produce more books of Babar and other characters he developed on his own.

For his artistic education Laurent De Brunhoff  attended the Academie de la Grand Chaumiere.

Most works comprised by Brunhoff for Babar are done with gouache and india ink.

In this clip Laurent De Brunhoff talks more about the wonderful stories of Babar!:

Price range information: Works range from $1,000 to $10,000.  Brunhoff has worked in oils and done many prints over the years.

Babar was a great part of my childhood!


Artist of the moment……Ilya Kabakov

Ilya Kabakov is a contemporary artist born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine in the year 1933. Shortly after his birth his family left the Ukraine for Uzbekistan in order to avoid persecution by the Nazi party. The artist is a painter and also creates installations. To date he has made over 150 installations.

price range information: Sorry none available.

One recurring theme of the artist was flies.

For his artistic education Ilya Kabakov attended the Leningrad Institute of Arts. Kabakov graduated from the Surikov Art Institute.

Started off his art career by illustrating children’s books. This happened in the late 1950s.

It was against his government’s wishes to allow anyone to be an artist as he had hoped, illustrating children’s books was the only way an artist could exist in his land.

In the 1970s Kabakov began to experiment with Abstract- Expressionist. Towards the end of the decade Kabakov even tried conceptual art. This group is now seen as a great force, but at the time the artist’s involved were prohibited from showing their works in public. He group was a big break through for conceptual art in Russia. At the time the government arm the KGB looked into the affairs of the artist.

In this clip we view a show given for Ilya Kabakov in 2012:

The artist represented Russia at the Venice Biennale in 1993.

Ilya Kabakov is now based out of Long Island, New York in the United States.