I had a wonderful museum visit today where I saw 65 of the original watercolors, gouaches and pen and ink illustrations from Little Golden Books. I got a kick out of my friend's surprise that the Golden Book illustrations really were art.
Even though I've appreciated the talents of Golden Book illustrators for some time, my appreciation grew after seeing the "real thing." It was intriguing to see the texture and details of the works. It was also interesting to see the wide variety of artistic styles.
Here is one of Eloise Wilkins nature paintings featured in My Little Golden Book About God. Wilkins work has a harmonious quality.
Gustaf Tenggren is one of my favorite Golden illustrators and he was one of the most prolific. His work also shows great range. Here is a painting for King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. This as well as some of his other work has a folk art feel.
The mediums used were primarily pen and ink, watercolor and gouache. Gouache is a type of watercolor that is more vivid and opaque.
Garth Williams Elves and Fairies.
Elizabeth Orton Jones' Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood
It did surprise me that this is the most extensive showing of original Golden Book illustration. The art was borrowed from the Racine Heritage Museum; Racine, Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Little Golden Books. I would love to see a more extensive showing; maybe the Racine Museum will do that someday.
Learn more about the exhibit.