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Leonard Weisgard. Children’s Book Illustrator.

February 10, 2011

Leonard Weisgard was born in New Haven in 1916, Connecticut but spent much of his

early childhood in Manchester, England, where his father originally came from. His interest

in the quality of children’s books began after his family moved back to the USA when he was 8.

As a schoolboy in New York, he was dissatisfied with the books supplied by the public schools

he attended. He found the illustrations monotonous and thought that the world could not be

all that dreary and limited to only one colour. He went on to study art at the Pratt Institute

and the New School for Social Research, where he was influenced by primitive cave paintings,

Gothic and Renaissance art and avant-garde French illustrators of children’s books of the 1920s.

He used a wide range of colours and media in his books, including gouache, poster paint, crayon,

chalk, decoupage, stencilling and pen and ink. Weisgard also studied dance with Martha Graham

and worked in the field of window display. He began his career making illustrations for magazines

such as Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker and Harper’s Bazaar.

There’s a whole list with images of some of the 200 books that Leonard created here, and some

beautiful examples of his watercolour illustrations for Alice In Wonderland here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2011 4:07 pm

    I never get tired of looking at Leonard Weisgard’s illustrations. He made such a great contribution to children’s books. I did a posting on two of Weisgard’s books, The Important Book and The Cozy Hour Storybook if anyone wants to take a look:

    • February 10, 2011 5:12 pm

      Thanks for the mention and link Jill, great to see yet more of Leonard’s work that I haven’t seen before. I’d love to have lived in the USA in the 50’s and 60’s for the illustration alone. Lol

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