They say “never judge a book by its cover”, and while this may be true, there are those among us that will always look at the illustrations of a children’s book before even reading the blurb. We’ve handpicked a selection of our favourite illustrators and the books which showcase their most magnificent illustrations. In a lot of cases, its the perfect illustrations that make the books truly timeless.
E. H. Shepard, illustrator of Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows
Many children grew up with the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Wind and the Willows. These two books really show off England’s beautiful landscape, vast countryside and very intriguing wildlife. They really are the epitome of English country living.
E.H. Shepard illustrated both these books and both sets of drawings continue to capture the imaginations of many generations. It is true that in later years both our honey-loving Pooh bear and Mole, Mr. Toad, and the gang got the Disney treatment. However, the original illustrations are timeless and legendary. To this day, adults and children alike continue to fall in love with E. H. Shepard’s art.
John Tenniel, illustrator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Tenniel was the original illustrator of Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The girl, who travels through a quite frankly insane world where “nothing is as it seems and everything is as it was”, was brought to life with John Tenniel’s beautifully constructed drawings. The illustrations are the polar opposite to the Disney-fied versions that many generations know Alice to be, and while the animated film is a fun alternative, the darker, intricate illustrations of Tenniel make Wonderland seem a little bit more mysterious, are far curiouser…
Quentin Blake, illustrator most famously of Roald Dahl stories
The partnership between Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl is one that many generations will appreciate and love. Roald Dahl’s quirky stories made him an unstoppable force in children’s literature. When you see a Quentin Blake illustration you automatically recall Dahl’s stories as the two go together perfectly. The whimsical drawings go hand-in-hand with the worlds Dahl wrote, and each picture is steeped in childhood fantasy and nostalgia.
More recently, Blake has been illustrating the stories of the new bestselling children’s author, David Walliams. Walliams has taken the children’s literary world by storm, with his humour reverberating through the pages and Quentin Blake’s illustrations maintaining the comedy of the fantastical tales.
Though Blake is best known as an illustrator for these famous writers, he is a published author and cartoonist in his own right and has a huge collection of picture books. Check our Quentin Blake’s books here.
Alex Scheffler, illustrator for Julia Donaldson books
We know the stories, we have read them over and over to our children. The neat little rhymes and the fantastic drawings have made Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler the most well-loved children’s double act of this generation. Each character is drawn with such precision that their personalities just ooze from the page. This made the TV adaptations of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, and more so seamless. We hope to see many more from this wonderful duo.
Raymond Briggs, illustrator and author of The Snowman
How can we go through some of our most loved illustrators in children’s fiction and forget this brilliant artist? Raymond Briggs, the man behind The Snowman, Ethel and Ernest and many more, has created such beautiful pieces of art in his picture books. Even though the film was adapted with a more festive feel, the animation in the movie was completely based off of Raymond Briggs’ original, magical drawings. Briggs will always be one of our favourite illustrators here at World of Books.
With so many brilliant illustrations in fantastic children’s books, we would love to list them all, however, here are a few honourable mentions: Dr Seuss, Jan Pienkowski, Jane Hissey, Eric Carle, Chris Riddell, and Helen Oxenbury. If you want to find more fantastic illustrated books, make sure you stop by our vast collection of children’s fiction and picture books here.
What do you think of our choices? Have we left out your favourite illustrator? Let us know in the comments below.