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Ati Forberg Mid century Children’s Book Illustrator Part 2

December 2, 2019

Ati Forberg was a children’s book illustrator, working predominantly in the mid sixties and seventies. She sadly passed away in 2014 at the age of 88. If you missed part 1 of this post you can find it here. As you scroll through her work today, just bear in mind that this is all the work of one illustrator. How many different styles can you spot ?

We start with some delicate pencil drawings.

Add a little watercolour paint, coloured pencil and wax crayons.

Printmaking techniques, combined with bolder inks and gouache paints.

Pencil and watercolour.

A very different departure, and a very stylised character in Benjy. Splodgy and fun mark making techniques.

Inks and watercolours, layers and fine shading.

And finally an almost Japanese style. Black and white line work with added watercolours and chalks.

A former children’s book illustrator who taught students from Cape Cod to Germany about modern design and the movement her father helped launch, Mrs. Johansen died of complications from a brain tumor Sept. 7 in her Wellfleet home. She was 88 and had led workshops in Wellfleet as recently as the previous year.

“She found herself in teaching,” said her daughter, Erika Pfammatter of Waltham. “Not that she was lost before, but she was a born teacher and a warm teacher — a smart, caring, succinct teacher.” Here’s a flavour of this remarkable lady.

Her daughter says…” she was just as creative with ordinary moments.” When her daughter was young and the family lived in a Brooklyn brownstone, Mrs. Johansen would drive her an hour north on chilly winter evenings to a frozen lake in Tarrytown, N.Y. There she set out votive candles to illuminate the ice and her daughter skated while the strains of “The Blue Danube” drifted from a portable cassette player. “That was the essence of her,” Erika said. “She was full of fabulous, beautiful, magical ideas.”

I, for one, would love to have been taught by her. If you know anymore about Ati and specifically her illustration, or if you are a relative and have any great memories to share, please do get in touch.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Carol Elbert permalink
    December 2, 2019 7:03 pm

    Thank you! I enjoyed this. I’m a retired children’s librarian and recognized her artwork from book memories.

  2. Deirdre O'Sullivan from Australia permalink
    December 3, 2019 9:53 am

    I had a copy of The Magic Carousel when I was a kid in the 70s – how I loved those stylised, prancing horses! What a superb talent she had – I just have a talent for losing things, because I lost that lovely book years ago!

    • December 4, 2019 2:30 pm

      Thanks Deirdre, not to worry I’ve seen plenty of second hand copies online if you fancy revisiting your youth lol

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