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pyle

Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle (March 5, 1853 – November 9, 1911) was an American illustrator and author, primarily of books for young people. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, he spent the last year of his life in Florence, Italy.

During 1894 he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University), and after 1900 he founded his own school of art and illustration named the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. The term Brandywine School was later applied to the illustration artists and Wyeth family artists of the Brandywine region by Pitz. Some of his more famous students were N. C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Violet Oakley, and Jessie Willcox Smith.

Pyle traveled to Florence, Italy to study mural painting during 1910, and died there in 1911 of a sudden kidney infection (Bright's Disease). Go to top

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N. C. Wyeth

Newell Convers Wyeth (October 22, 1882 – October 19, 1945), known as N.C. Wyeth, was an American artist and illustrator. He was the pupil of artist Howard Pyle and became one of America's greatest illustrators. During his lifetime, Wyeth created over 3,000 paintings and illustrated 112 books, 25 of them for Scribner's, the Scribner Classics, which is the work for which he is best-known. The first of these, Treasure Island, was his masterpiece and the proceeds paid for his studio. Wyeth was a realist painter just as the camera and photography began to compete with his craft. Sometimes seen as melodramatic, his illustrations were designed to be understood quickly. Wyeth, who was both a painter and an illustrator, understood the difference, and said in 1908, "Painting and illustration cannot be mixed—one cannot merge from one into the other." Go to top

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Arthur Rackham

Rackham was born in London as one of 12 children. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art.

In 1892 he left his job and started working for The Westminster Budget as a reporter and illustrator. His first book illustrations were published in 1893 in To the Other Side by Thomas Rhodes, but his first serious commission was in 1894 for The Dolly Dialogues, the collected sketches of Anthony Hope, who later went on to write The Prisoner of Zenda. Book illustrating then became Rackham's career for the rest of his life.

In 1903 he married Edyth Starkie, with whom he had one daughter, Barbara, in 1908. Rackham won a gold medal at the Milan International Exhibition in 1906 and another one at the Barcelona International Exposition in 1912. His works were included in numerous exhibitions, including one at the Louvre in Paris in 1914. Arthur Rackham died in 1939 of cancer in his home in Limpsfield, Surrey. Go to top

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Edmund Dulac

Born in Toulouse, France, he began his career by studying law at the University of Toulouse. He also studied art, switching to it full time after he became bored with law. He spent a very brief period at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1904 before moving to London.

In London, he was given a commission to illustrate Jane Eyre. He then began an association with the Leicester Gallery and Hodder & Stoughton; the gallery commissioned paintings from Dulac who used them as illustrations in illustrated books, publishing one book a year. Books produced under this arrangement by Dulac include Stories from The Arabian Nights in 1907, with 50 colour images; an edition of William Shakespeare's The Tempest in 1908, with 40 colour illustrations; The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in 1909, with 20 colour images; The Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales in 1910; Stories from Hans Christian Andersen in 1911; The Bells and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe in 1912, and Princess Badoura in 1913.

During World War I he contributed to relief books, including King Albert's Book, Princess Mary's Gift Book, and, unusually, his own Edmund Dulac's Picture Book for the French Red Cross (1915) . Hodder and Stoughton also published The Dreamer of Dreams (1915). Go to top

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Jessie Willcox Smith

Jessie Willcox Smith (September 6, 1863 – May 3, 1935) was a United States illustrator famous for her work in magazines such as Ladies Home Journal and for her illustrations for children's books.

Born in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1884 Smith attended the School of Design for Women (which is now Moore College of Art & Design) and later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia, graduating in 1888. A year later, she started working in the production department of the Ladies' Home Journal, for five years. She left to take classes under Howard Pyle, first at Drexel and then at the Brandywine School.

She was a prolific contributor to books and magazines during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, illustrating stories and articles for clients such as Century, Collier's Weekly, Leslie's Weekly, Harper's, McClure', Scribners, and the Ladies' Home Journal.

Smith may be most well known for her covers on Good Housekeeping, which she painted from December 1917 through March 1933. She also painted posters and portraits. Her twelve illustrations for Charles Kingsley's The Water-Babies (1916) are also well known. On Smith's death, she bequeathed the original works to the Library of Congress' "Cabinet of American Illustration" collection. (A thirteenth illustration remains in a private collection.) Go to top

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Kay Nielsen

Kay Rasmus Nielsen (1886 – 1957) was a Danish illustrator who was popular in the early 20th century, the "golden age of illustration" which lasted from when Daniel Vierge and other pioneers developed printing technology to the point that drawings and paintings could be reproduced with reasonable facility. He joined the ranks of Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac in enjoying the success of the gift books of the early 20th century. Nielsen is also known for his collaborations with Disney for whom he contributed many story sketches and illustrations.

Read more about Kay Nielsen in our Spotlight section. Go to top

Parrish portrait

Maxfield Parrish

Maxfield Parrish (July 25, 1870 – March 30, 1966) was an American painter and illustrator active in the first half of the twentieth century. He is known for his distinctive saturated hues and idealized neo-classical imagery. After attending Haverford College, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Drexel Institute of Art he entered into an artistic career that lasted for more than half a century. He had numerous commissions from popular magazines in the 1910s and 1920s including Hearst's, Colliers, and Life and was also a favorite of advertisers. In the 1920s, Parrish turned away from illustration and concentrated on painting for its own sake. Androgynous nudes in fantastical settings were a recurring theme. Parrish helped shape the Golden Age of illustration and the future of American visual arts. Go to top

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Frank Earle Schoonover

Frank Earle Schoonover (August 19, 1877 - Aug 1972) was an American illustrator. Born in Oxford, New Jersey, he studied under Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia and became part of what would be known as the Brandywine School. A prolific contributor to books and magazines during the early twentieth century, the so-called "Golden Age of Illustration", he illustrated stories as diverse as Clarence Mulford's Hopalong Cassidy stories and Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Princess of Mars. In 1918 and 1919, he produced a series of paintings along with Gayle Porter Hoskins illustrating the American forces in the First World War for a series of souvenir prints published in the Ladies Home Journal. Schoonover died at 94, leaving behind more than two thousand illustrations. Go to top

Oakley portrait

Violet Oakley

Violet Oakley was born in Bergen Heights, New Jersey into a family of artists. In 1892, she studied at the Art Students League of New York. A year later, she studied in England and France. After her return to the United States in 1896, she began study with Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute. Oakley and her two friends, the artists Elizabeth Shippen Green and Jessie Willcox Smith, were named the Red Rose girls by Pyle because they lived together in the Red Rose Inn in Villanova, Pennsylvania from 1899 to 1901. She had early success as a popular illustrator for magazines including The Century Magazine, Collier's Weekly, St. Nicholas Magazine, and Woman's Home Companion. Go to top

Green portrait

Elizabeth Shippen Green

Elizabeth Shippen Green (September 1, 1871 – 1954) was an American illustrator. She illustrated children's books and worked for many years for Harper's Magazine.

Green studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1889–1893). She then began study with Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute where she met Violet Oakley and Jessie Willcox Smith with whom she became close and lifelong friends with.

She had already begun publishing when she was eighteen and began making pen and ink drawings and illustrations for St. Nicholas Magazine, Woman's Home Companion, and the Saturday Evening Post. In 1911, she signed an exclusive contract with Harper's Monthly. Green was also a prolific book illustrator. She continued to work through the 1920s and illustrated a nonsense verse alphabet with her husband Huger Elliott. Green died in 1954. Go to top