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: 1050L

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Starting in the late 19th century, there were advances in printing technology. These advances allowed images to be printed cheaply. They came in lively color. This resulted in consumers of newspapers and books demanding 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. He was born on September 19, 1867, 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. The books were published 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. That's where he began to translate a youthful passion for books into vivid illustrations that he made to accompany works of classic literature. 

Rackham had an expressive, detailed style of art that made 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. His graphic designs for a 1907 printing influence the visual vocabulary of the story even today.

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