Monday, August 12, 2013

Illustration Hero - Jessie Willcox Smith

Jessie Willcox Smith (1863- 1935) was an amazing illustrator.  She is one of my all time favorites. Jessie was a bit late to art, starting drawing after age 20. She was taught by the incredible Howard Pyle. Her work is beautifully done and was created with a mix of charcoal and oil paints. Jessie illustrated many books (my favorite being The Water- Babies) and created over 200 covers Good Housekeeping magazine as well as ads for Kodak, Ivory Soap, and Procter and Gamble.

Jessie never had kids but she was pretty much a genius in capturing the expressions and energy of children. I also am on love with her palette. There is such a earthiness to her colors. Her colors are both soft and strong. I think that she has been forgotten a bit through the years, perhaps over shadowed by her male counterparts. But that just makes me want to study her work even more. Here are a few of my favorites Jessie Willcox Smith's paintings.

From The Water Babies, 1916

from The Water Babies, 1916
from The Water Babies, 1916

Elizabeth Shippen Green, Violet Oakley, Jessie Willcox Smith and Henrietta Cozens in their Chestnut Street studio, ca. 1901

Red Cross Poster, 1918
Bed Time c.1902
Little Red Riding Hood c.1911
Morning, 1908
Little Miss Muffet, 1914
Mother Kissing Baby, 1904  

Young Girl Playing, 1902

Jessie Willcox Smith in her Stdio, 1917

Amazing work, don't you think? Pretty inspiring to see such amazing woman artists from so long ago. I wonder if it is still possible to have a illustration career like she had? It makes me wonder, would you buy more magazines if they had more incredible art like this on the cover? I definitely would.

Do you have a favorite classic illustrator? Who inspires you?

Well, as they say, I better get back to the drawing board....

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