Famous children's book illustrators

Updated April 17, 2017

While there are hundreds if not thousands of talented children's book illustrators, there are a few that stand out in terms of recognisable style and worldwide fame. The work of these noted artists will continue to awe and influence generations of youngsters who will probably be exposed to one if not all of these children's book illustrators at some point in their lives.

Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904 - Sept. 24, 1991), an American cartoonist and writer, was more commonly known by his famous pen name: Dr. Seuss. Under this persona he wrote and illustrated more than 45 children's books, some of his most famous including "Horton Hears a Who," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and "Oh, the Places You'll Go." All feature the recognisable rhythm, imaginative characters and artistic style of Dr. Seuss.

Geisel wrote "The Cat in the Hat" in 1954, the first of many "beginner books" that would feature his newly developed simplified-vocabulary style consisting of only 250 words. He wrote it under the encouragement of William Ellsworth Spaulding, a textbook editor at Houghton Mifflin, after Life Magazine published a report on illiteracy among children. The report stated that students weren't interested in learning to read because they felt books were boring.

Geisel went on to write and illustrate books for children and adults alike in a distinct drawing style, rhythm and simple vocabulary. Even though he never had children of his own, he devoted himself to them, often saying "you have 'em; I'll entertain 'em."

Eric Carle

Eric Carle is the creator and illustrator of classic children's picture books such as "The Grouchy Ladybug," "The Mixed Up Chameleon" and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" Born in 1929 in Syracuse, New York, Carle moved to Germany with his parents as a child and went on to graduate from the Akademie der bildenden K√ľnste, one of the most prestigious art schools in the country.

Intent on returning to America, Carle moved to New York in 1952, where he went on to illustrate more than 70 children's books, several of which he also wrote, in his distinctive hand-painted, collage-style artwork under the encouragement of author Bill Martin, junior His most famous work, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," was originally published in 1969 and has sold more than 30 million copies in more than 45 languages across the globe.

Shel Silverstein

Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein (Sept. 25, 1930 - May 10, 1999) was an American children's book author and illustrator as well as a poet, cartoonist and musician. He was known by his young readers as Uncle Shelby. Born in Chicago, Silverstein began drawing at age five by tracing works by Al Capp, and was influenced by Virgil Partch as a teen. Silverstein left his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago after one year and went on to draw cartoons for the military publication Pacific Stars and Stripes, which also published his first book, "Take Ten," in 1955.

Not intending to pursue a career in children's books, Silverstein developed his signature writing and drawing style under the encouragement of Ursula Nordstrom, an editor at Harper & Row (now HarperCollins). He is best known for his children's books "The Giving Tree," his biggest seller to date, and "Where the Sidewalk Ends," both of which display the writing and illustrative style that readers associate with Shel Silverstein.

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About the Author

Melissa Sherrard acquired her Bachelor of Science in public relations from the University of Florida in 2007 and has been writing professionally ever since. She also has extensive hands-on experience planning weddings and other private functions. She has created original print materials including announcements, invitations and programs for weddings, corporate events and private functions.