Meet the illustrator who brought children’s books to life
Meet the illustrator who brought children’s books to life 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
Lexile: 1400L

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Starting in the late 19th century, advances in printing technology allowed images to be printed cheaply and in lively color. Consumers of newspapers and books, conversely, began to demand images to complement the words they were purchasing. Those two factors led to the rise of a so-called "Golden Age of Illustration."  One of the leading figures of this age was the English artist Arthur Rackham, who was born 150 years ago on this day, in the South London borough of Lewisham.

If you don't know his name, you'll know his illustrations. Rackham created many of the fantastical creatures and people that decorated the pages of the children's books in the early 20th century. Unassuming in appearance and manner, Rachkam worked as a junior insurance clerk before starting part-time at the Lambeth School of Art, where he began to translate a youthful passion for books into vivid illustrations that he made to accompany works of classic literature. 

Rackham's expressive, detailed style of art makes pieces like his iconic drawings of scenes in Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales instantly recognizable. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings opines that of all the artists to tackle Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, none did more for the work than Rackham, whose graphic designs for a 1907 printing influence the visual vocabulary of the story even today.

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What is your favorite children's book? Why?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • YinuoF
    2/29/2020 - 06:33 a.m.

    My favorite children book is 'My Foxgirl'. I love foxes and it is also a very sad story about a catgirl who thinks cats are better than anything and thought foxes are evil. (Ps. The catgirl is foxgirl's sis) I like sad stories and ANs.

  • Megang-pla
    2/04/2021 - 02:52 p.m.

    This article was about how Arthur Rackham was about to bring children's book illustrations to life. He was an extremely detailed artist who became famous for his work about how recognizable it was. This small act is important in civic engagement because it will help engage children when reading books which will create a more knowledgeable generation. In addition, this gives motivation to artists that their work can be used anywhere and that is it ok to have a creative style. All in all, this article brought more knowledge to the younger generations and made visual vocabulary more advanced.

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