Brian Wildsmith Animals and ABC’s Part 2
Welcome back to part two of my post about Brian Wildsmith. Who, by the way, is considered to be one of the greatest children’s illustrators worldwide. The British Library Association recognised his first book, the wordless alphabet book ABC (Oxford, 1962), with the Kate Greenaway Medal for the year’s best children’s book illustration by a British subject. The biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children’s books. Wildsmith was one of two runners-up for the inaugural illustration award in 1966 and one of three runners-up in 1968.
I decided to add a few of his editions to my own library and was delighted to see , close up, just how decorative and textural his work really is. It’s sometimes hard to appreciate the layers and depth to his illustrations online.
I’ve tried to capture a little of his textures here.
This snowflake-encrusted Arctic landscape, is perfect to suggest the penguins frosty environment, and what a clever way to do this too.
I also love the scratchy mark-making surrounding some of his other creatures.
Each different animal’s skin appears to be carefully considered and a suitable method for painting it is used. For me, this illustration and style of brush strokes, perfectly captures the grey, leathery, elephant hide or the strong, thick fur of the Brown Bear.
What a fab sight to see him riding a little bicycle, great claws too. A few of his 80+ book covers.
In 1994 a Brian Wildsmith Art Museum was opened in Izu-kogen, in the south of Tokyo, Japan. About one and a half million people visited an exhibition of his work in 2005. Eight hundred of his paintings are on loan to the museum.
The museum opened with the cooperation of Mr. Brian Wildsmith. The atmosphere of the interior and the exterior of the museum is made to look as much as possible like his atelier/house in Southern France, the place of his activities today. In addition to the original picture book illustrations that have been produced, they keep and manage all the invaluable records relating to Wildsmith including posters, illustrations for stage designs, large-scaled paintings, drawings produced during his art school years, works by his family, memorial photographs and small articles.
Sounds like a place well worth visiting if you’re a fan… I’ll put it on my list : ) What a pity that we don’t have one in the UK. There’s an interesting article here in The Independent from 2010. Which of Brian’s work is your favourite ? Happy Friday and Partial Solar Eclipse day !