Do you recognize this character? It's Arthur Rackham's Cheshire Cat from his illustration's in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." (Arthur Rackham/Jim Barnes)
Meet the illustrator who brought children’s books to life
January 30, 2020
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It started in the late 19th century. Advances were made in printing technology. These advances allowed images to be printed cheaply. They came in lively color. Readers demanded images. They wanted them paired with the words they were buying. Those two factors led to the rise of a so-called "Golden Age of Illustration." One of the leading figures of this age was an artist. He was English. That artist was Arthur Rackham. He was born on September 19, 1867. He was born in Lewisham. It is a borough in South London.
You might not know his name. But you'll know his illustrations. Rackham created fantastical creatures. He created fantastical people. They decorated the pages of the children's books. The books were published in the early 20th century. Rachkam was modest in appearance. He had a humble manner. He worked as a junior insurance clerk. That was before starting part-time at the Lambeth School of Art. That's where he began to translate a youthful passion. That passion was for books. He turned his passion into vivid illustrations. These were paired with works of classic literature.
Rackham had an expressive style of art. It was detailed. It made his instantly recognizable. One example were his iconic drawings of scenes in Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales. Maria Popova is with Brain Pickings. She offers her thoughts on the other artists to tackle Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. She offers that none did more for the work than Rackham. He made graphic designs for a 1907 printing. These influence the visual vocabulary of the story even today.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What is your favorite children's book? Why?
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