Golden Book Store
Golden Book Forum
Illustrators/Authors
link
LaiteBeckett

 

 

 

Gustaf Tenggren

(1896 ~1970)

Gustaf of was born in Magda parish, Vastergotland, Sweden. From 1908 to 1916 he took art lessons at the SlojdfOreningens Skola and the Valand school of Fine Arts in Gothenburg, Sweden. He had his first art exhibit at, Meden's Bookstore in Gothenburg in 1916.

After illustrating children's books in Sweden and Denmark he moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1920 to be closer to his two older sisters. 1922 found him living in New York working for commercial art studios and publishers.

In 1936 he was discovered by a young cartoon maker named Walt Disney. Walt and his illustrators had been working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs since early 1934 and had many preliminary sketches to show for it. When Walt saw Gustaf's work he knew that his old world style was just what was need to develop the cast of characters. Gustaf did the preliminary drawings that set the feel of the movie along with the movie posters.

He also assisted on the Disney short The Old Mill and Pinocchio until his departure from films in 1939.

Gustaf illustrated over 47 children's books before doing his last one, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, by Golden Press in 1962.

We lost the artistic talents of the man that made it possible for millions of children to have their first glimpse of the magical realms of witches, fairies and trolls when Tenggren died in 1970.

Recognized as one of the top illustrators of children's books in the 20th Century Gustaf lived and illustrated in Dogfish Head, Maine where he and his wife, Maline, had lived since 1944.

 

Corinne Malvern
(1905 ~ November 9, 1956)

As a child, Corinne and her sister Gladys were employed as child stage actresses.

Corinne's art education consisted of attending the Art Students League in New York City.

After leaving the New York, Corinne moved to Los Angeles, California and landed a job as a fashion advertisement artist. During this time she continued her art education taking night classes.

Her first book was, Brownie, the Little Bear Who Liked People, in 1939 for McLoughlin publishers. This was written by her and her sister Gladys. Five Pennies to Spend, Little Golden Book #238, was her last book before her death in 1956.

At the time of her death, Corinne and her sister Gladys lived in a apartment overlooking the Hudson River in New York City.

Corinne illustrated 32 books, 17 of which were published as Golden Books. Valiant Minstrel: The Story of Sir Harry Lauder, 1943, by Messner Publishing, won her the Elisworth Ford Prize.

 

Feodor Rojankovsky (Roh-jan-Koff-skee)
 (December 24, 1891 ~ 1970)

Rojankovsky was born December 24, 1891, in Mitavia, Russia. He died in 1970 white living in Bronxville, NY.

'.. When people ask me, 'Where are you from? I answer, 'From Russia.' Then l feel that l owe them an explanation. My father was a teacher and administrator of high schools and his changing jobs took him across imperial Russia. My sister was born in Kishinev, which meant that she became Rumanian when the city was taken by the Rumanians. One of my brothers was born in Odessa and therefore became a Ukrainian or a 'Little Russian'; the other brother was born near Moscow and therefore he was a 'Great Russian.' My second sister was born in Estonia and in Mitava, Latvia. So we had five nationalities in one family. When l tried to explain that to an officer of the immigration and Naturalization Service, he held his head with both hands and then grabbed an aspirin. I told him the story of a Jew who tried to explain that he was not a Pole .' But weren't you born in Poland?', asked the officer. 'Listen ,' answered the poor man, 'if a sparrow is born in a stable, that does not mean he is a horse.'

"Two great events determined the course of my childhood. l was taken to the zoo and saw the most marvelous creatures on earth: bears, tigers, monkeys and reindeer, and, while my admiration was running high, l was given a set of color crayons. Naturally, I began immediately to depict the animals which captured my imagination. Also when my eider brothers, who were in schools in the capital, came home for vacation, I tried to copy their drawings and to imitate their paintings.

"Later when l went to school in Reval Tallinn, an ancient town on the shores of the Baltic sea my love for art was enhanced and strengthened by a passion for nature. Tailinn was surrounded by forest. The sea presented wonderful opportunities for excursions and study of sea life. But there were also steamers, sailboats, flags, and all the excitement of a port. This was no less exciting than playing Red Indians or reading James Fenimore Cooper, the beloved author of all Russian children before, during, and after the Revolution .. [Bertha Mahony Miller and Eiinor Whitney Field, editors, CaIdecott Medal books: 1938-1957, Horn Book, 1957.]

"I entered the Moscow Fine Arts Academy but two years later l was serving as an officer in the 1914-17 campaign. My regiment traveled through Poland, Prussia, Austria and Rumania. My war sketches were reproduced by art magazines. During the Revolution I started to make children's book illustrations for the young Ukrainian Republic. In 1919 I was mobilized by the 'Volunteer Army' (White Army), and soon my military career was finished behind barbed wire in Poland. Since then I have seen many countries and had many occupations." [Lee Kingman and others, compilers, Illustrators of Children's Books: 1957-1966, Horn Book, 1968.]

Rojankovsky arrived in the United States in 1941, after the occupation of Paris.

He must of been illustrating up until his death because the last book with new illustrations was published around 1970.

 

Leonard Weisgard

(December 13, 1916 ~ January 14, 2000)

Biography of Leonard Weisgard

Leonard Weisgard was born in New Haven the 13th of December, 1916, the only child of Samuel and Fanny Weisgard. Samuel was born in Manchester so much of Leonard's childhood was spent in England. The family moved back to America when Leonard was 8. Leonard Weisgard once stated," Exposure to the dreary pictures and stories used in public school textbooks forced me to resolve that someday I would perhaps try to change those books". He stayed true to his word and later came to illustrate over 200 books.

 "My first art experience was to let paint drip down the sides of milk bottles and watch the accidental patterns as the different colors overlapped.  Then I tried everything,  including cutting up lace curtains just to interrupt the design. After taking my punishment, I developed a tremendous esteem for Belgian lacemakers." 1

Biography Continued                 Leonard Weisgard Website
 

 

Eloise Wilkin (Burns)
( March 30, 1904 ~ October 4, 1987)

Eloise Burns, was born in Rochester, New York in 1904. She became a freelance illustrator after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a year later was in New York City, with Joan Esley, another graduate. Maybe that's why Joan's LGB, Play Street looks so much like and Eloise book. Her first day in New York she was given a book contract to illustrate for Century Publishing. Married, Sydney Wilkin, around 1935, they moved to Canandaigua to illustrate and raise a family. Eloise, illustrated her first book with her sister Esther Wilkin (married Sydney's brother), Mrs. Peregrine and the Yak, in 1939. They would collaborate on around 20 books.

In 1943, George Duplaix, and editor for Simon & Schuster and one of the key people in the development of Little Golden Books asked her to come to New York and talk about a contract. She told him she couldn't because she hadn't a babysitter. Duplaix, would not take no and Eloise went to New York and signed a contract with the Little Golden Book people to do around four books a year. She illustrated, exclusively for Golden Books from 1943 to 1961. Her last book for Golden was published around the mid 80's.

Eloise was a women that stood up for her beliefs, whether it was refusing to paint pants on a woman or marching with Martin Luther King or assisting a college student in the burning of his draft card.

On October 4, 1987, Eloise died of cancer, at Genesee Hospital in Brighton, New York. At the time of her death at 84, she was working on a new doll and was still illustrating.

With around 100 books illustrated, she will be remembered as one of the top children's illustrators of the 20th century.

Ron Dias

Ron began his animation career with Disney Studios in 1956, where he worked as an inbetweener and clean-up animator on "Sleeping Beauty". Ron's desire to become involved in animation was sparked when, at the tender age of 6, he saw "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". He was so taken by the film and its beautiful art that he decided, then and there, that he would someday become an animation artist. After winning a national contest for his design of the U.S. Postage Stamp "CHILDREN'S FRIENDSHIP" in 1956, Ron headed to Hollywood determined to work for Disney. After two portfolio submissions, Disney Studios recognized Ron's exceptional talent, and he was hired. Thus began an illustrious 40+ year career as a top animation artist. In fact, Ron is appearing as the guest speaker on Disney animation at the City of Kawaguchi's World Festival, on July 25th, in Kawaguchi, Japan.

While Ron started his career as an animator, he made his mark on this artform and has spent the bulk of his career painting beautiful backgrounds for some of our favorite animated features and TV shows. Over the years Ron has contributed to so many feature and TV projects for so many studios that we thought it best to highlight a "short-list" of his work through the years.

For more information on Ron Dias and to look at some of his art please click on these links:

The art of Ron Dias Acme Animation Gallery

 


Vivienne Blake McCandless Demuth
Born: March 8, 1916 in Nutley, New Jersey.

Artist for Norcross Pub. Co. 1936-1940.
Illustrator for Fisher Price Toys 1950-1975.
Illusrtated for many children's book publishers from 1957-1980. Illustrated the Little Golden Book The Alphabet from A-Z

 

 

Mel Crawford

MEL CRAWFORD has lived in the Washington Connecticut area for more than thirty years. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States and Canada. His work can be found in museums and in the homes of private collectors. Mel is a past winner of the Franklin Mint Gold Medal for watercolor, and winner of several Grumbacher Gold Medals for excellence.

Collectors of fleetwood cachets will remember him for the "Flags of Canada", "Flags of the United Nations", and "Seals of the Fifty States" series. Twice a finalist in the "Arts for the Parks" competition, his entry "Summer Treasures" was chosen by Ambassador Robert Strauss to hang in the Ambassador's residence during his tenure in Moscow.

Widely acclamimed as a painter and illustrator, Crawford has done work for major magazines, newspapers and publishing houses. He has illustrated over two hundred children's books. Over 93 being Western Publishing titles.

Mel Crawford Website

 

Sharon Kane

SHARON KANE grew up in Indiana, the child of an artist/writer mother (Eunice Young Smith) and engineer father. She began her art career at the age of nine when she had a drawing published in Children's Activities Magazine (now Highlights For Children) and the thrill of seeing her work in print got in her blood. Soon many more of her pictures, stories and poems found their way to that and other children's magazines. She was a steady contributor to Child Life and The Christian Science Monitor.

As a teen her art was published in Scholastic Magazine and Seventeen Magazine and The South Bend Tribune. At 17 she stepped into the professional arena when she created a teen age cartoon, "BUTTONS AN' BEAUX", which was syndicated in newspapers across the country. Through this she was able to finance her college education and graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 1954.

At age 25 she wrote and illustrated her first children's book, WHERE ARE YOU GOING TODAY?, published by Albert Whitman & Co. Chicago.

Over the next twenty years, while being married and raising children, she illustrated more than 25 picture books for Golden Press and Rand McNally with titles such as MY BABY SISTER, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, MY COUNTING BOOK, COUNTING RHYMES, GIANT GOLDEN BOOK OF STORYTIME TALES, TIE MY SHOE, PEEK-A-BOO, TIME FOR A RHYME, LITTLE MOMMY, THE FARMER IN THE DELL, THE PET PARADE, TIME FOR EVERYTHING, BEDTIME STORIES, THE CHRISTMAS SNOWMAN and many others. Her work has reached children in every English speaking country in the world. Many of her books, now out of print, are collector's items. In 1991 she was invited to contribute representative works to be permanently held and displayed by the NORTHERN INDIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY in South Bend, Indiana, her place of birth. Today her creativity continues with watercolor paintings produced as prints for framing, warmly expressing her abiding love for children and the wonders of childhood.

See More of Sharon Kane's Art.    Sharon Kane's Website

 

Garth Williams
 (April 16, 1912 ~ May 8, 1996)

Garth Williams was born in New York on April 16, 1912.  Both of his parents were artists.

Around 1912 the family moved to England.  He studied painting and sculpturing in London at the Westminster Art School in 1929 and the Royal College of Art from 1931 to 1934. From 1935 to 1936, Williams was headmaster at the Luton Art School.  In 1936 he won the prestigious, British Prix de Rome, and went to Rome as a postgraduate scholar.

He illustrated for The New Yorker from 1938 to 1939.  From 1939 to 1941 he served in England during the war for the British Red Cross Civilian Defense until a back injury suffered during the London Blitz forced him to resign.

He moved back to the United States in 1941 and was contacted by Harper and Row to illustrate the E.B. White classic, Stuart Little in 1944.  The popularity he received helped him to decide that a children's book artist was what he wanted to be.  In 1948, Williams, illustrated his first of many Little Golden Books, The Golden Sleepy Book. Though he is well known for his Little Golden Book illustrations he was also  known internationally for, Stuart Little (1945), The Little House on the Prairie series from the 1950's and Charlotte's Web (1952).

Toward the end of his life he lived between a home in Texas and one in Guanajuato, Mexico.  He died of pneumonia in Mexico on May 8th 1996.

 

Gordon Laite
 (July 11, 1925 ~ May 1, 1978)

Gordon was born in New York City on July 11, 1925 to Polish immigrants. Sometime during his early childhood the Charles and Blanche Fisher Laite became his foster parents.

Charles Laite was a Broadway actor and appeared in four silent films. Charles died in February 17, 1937 of a heart attack at the stage door of the Cleveland House Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio, were he was an understudy for the play "In a Nutshell"..

Blanche was the illustrator of one of the most popular children's book's ever sold, The Real Mother Goose by Rand McNally. Over 3,600,000 copies of this book have been sold since its first printing in 1916.

He attended Beloit College in Wisconsin and the Chicago Art Institute.

Gordon married his wife Jeanne in 1948 and the couple had three children.

His later years were spent in Gallup, New Mexico until his death in 1978 at the age of 52.

* I've tried to find information about this very talented man, but with no luck. If anyone has any information they like to share it would be greatly appreciated.

 

Sheilah Beckett
Born: 1913 in V
ancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sheilah BeckettSheliah only illustrated a couple of Little Golden Books, The Twelve Dancing Princesses in 1954 and The Twelve Days of Christmas almost
50 years later in 1992. I would place, The Twelve Dancing Princesses in the top five most sought after out of print Little Golden Books.

At 100 years young she has just finished the new cover for the first reprint of, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, since 1954. The book is due out on January 7, 2014.

Her first break came at the end of the 1930's when she was given the job of illustrating a series of books released in 1940 on the plays of Gilbert and Sullivan.

In the 50's besides illustrating books and magazine stories, her art can be seen in advertisments for Whitman's Chocolates, Necco Wafer candy to name a couple.

Sheilah's characters and style of painting are easily recognized and she has done this without an art lesson.

Sheilah, I can't wait to see what paintings you share with us all in the years to come. Congratulations on becoming a centenarian.