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Brian Wildsmith Animals and ABC’s Part 2

March 20, 2015

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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.

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I’ve tried to capture a little of his textures here.

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This snowflake-encrusted Arctic landscape, is perfect to suggest the penguins frosty environment, and what a clever way to do this too.

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I also love the scratchy mark-making surrounding some of his other creatures.

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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.

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What a fab sight to see him riding a little bicycle, great claws too. A few of his 80+ book covers.

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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.

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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 !

10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2015 3:28 pm

    Who could choose a favorite? They are all exquisite. As much as I like the large shapes, I find myself happily getting lost in the fine details of grass, leaves, insects, etc. It’s all too beautiful. Thanks for the photo of Brian, isn’t his vest wonderful? I did a little research, would love to find a single volume about his work, but none exist? Otherwise, I may be forced to purchase every single book of his illustrations! (Heading over to the library’s children section today for sure!). Would love to bundle up all of this color, tie it up with a red-checked ribbon, and carry it with me every single day. Perfect post for the first day of Spring. Thanks for all of your effort and dedication.

    • March 20, 2015 8:59 pm

      I’m so pleased his work also inspires you as much as it does me. There doesn’t appear to be one volume of his work (as you said) which is perhaps a book waiting to happen ! Let me know how you get on at the local library, there are plenty smaller ones Like the Fishes for 1 penny plus postage on some of the book sites. Happy Shopping : )

      • March 24, 2015 10:12 pm

        Only two books at the library…

      • March 25, 2015 8:17 am

        Well that’s not a bad start, you can probably order more through interlibrary loan system, if you don’t want to own them.

  2. boabee1 permalink
    March 20, 2015 7:09 pm

    Looking at these I can see how he has influenced illustrators and artists of today. (Immediately thinking of Mark Hearld with the birds).

    What the moon saw with that sunny collage is perfect for today with the 90% eclipse too! 🙂

    • March 20, 2015 9:00 pm

      Good point, I’m sure he’s influenced sooo many people either knowingly or subconsciously. You’re spot on with the eclipse ref too : )

  3. March 22, 2015 9:22 am

    How lovely that on visiting blog land after a long absence, I’m treated to this post about one of my favourite illustrators…I love his animals but I have a particular soft spot for his suns and moons, andanything with squares and triangles….maybe they remind me of patchwork quilts. The cover of Puzzles (which I’ve never seen before, and now I MUST HAVE!) is stunning. I wish I’d been aware of his work when I went to Japan back in 2008, I would have loved to visit the museum! I’m off to trawl Bookfinder so that I can add a few more of his titles to my vintage kids book collection 🙂

    • March 22, 2015 2:53 pm

      Welcome back Rachel, you see what you’ve been missing when you come back : ) Thanks for your comments and so glad that I can show you something inspiring too

  4. Cindi permalink
    March 25, 2015 8:54 am

    I don’t often comment, but I love the posts and save some to refer back to. Thanks for all your wanderings through some very wonderful works!

    • March 25, 2015 10:58 am

      Hi Cindi, thank so much for your comment. I know there are many folk following my blog who rarely or never comment, but it really does make a HUGE difference to hear from you, so I also appreciate your thoughts and effort too : ) Keep following.

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