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Cynthia Amrine School days revisited

June 24, 2019

For those readers of Fishink Blog, growing up in the U.S.A in the fifties and sixties, the artwork of Cynthia Amrine may seem familiar. Her bold distictive style using, line, shading, texture and minimal colour was as popular then as it is today.

Many illustrators (like Helen Borten or Bernice Myers) working in the mid century found this style to be the way forward. Publishing costs were expensive, so artists were encouraged to use additional textures rather than colours. Cynthia’s work for children is particularly engaging as it’s clear, precise and yet still has an educational element, that combines both fun and humour too.

In 1965, Cynthia Amrine worked with librarian Mary Joan Egan to publish Using Your Library: 32 Posters for Classroom and Library, a lavishly illustrated book of tear-sheet posters for educators and librarians to promote library usage in primary and secondary schools.

Due to the interactive nature of this book, there are only a handful of copies still in existence – we can only assume it is because those posters were torn out and used in school libraries across the country! How many of my American readers remember these book illustrations and posters ?

Her popular style led to many books being written and published supporting her illustrations.

Her work features animals and plants.




Looking at the world around us.

How things work.

Man-made and natural things.

Alongside a wealth of great illustration.

This lovesick girl, below, reminds me of the style of Mary Blair.

Everyone is happy and times look carefree and fun.


Wish we could see more like this day to day in the world around us. Cynthia’s work reminds me of the drawings or Bernice Myers, you can find more here and here. What do you think ?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2019 1:57 pm

    Thanks for this! I have a few of Cynthia Amrine’s posters that I’m going to frame but I’d never seen so much of her other work. Great nostalgia.

    • June 24, 2019 6:16 pm

      My pleasure, just took a bit of careful googling lol

    • Peggy Amrine permalink
      October 25, 2020 6:59 pm

      Cynthia Amrine is my Aunt. I have several of her watercolors in my home. They are so beautiful!

  2. Miss Pat Schmidt permalink
    November 4, 2022 10:16 pm

    I am librarian for our small church school. I would like to be able to get ahold of the 1960 period library posters. Thanks.

    • November 5, 2022 6:32 pm

      Hi Pat, not sure they are still available but if anyone knows differently please let us know, thank you

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