Artwork in children's books

I've noticed a trend when I post about books that I love...

... the imagery is beautiful.
... this book has beautiful images.
... also, the artwork is beautiful.
... beautiful artwork.

I think it's safe to say I often choose a book based on its illustrations. Given the artwork in children's books is so important to me, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the kind of artwork I love and why. 

One quality I like is for the artwork to be vague and open-ended... more like a prompt to create an image than a pre-made picture. Just as imagination is the child's work in play, it is also the child's work in listening to stories. Giving a child space to imagine a character or a scene allows him to make it what he needs it to be to be relevant to his life. 

Beach, Elisha Cooper

Beach, Elisha Cooper

The Hello, Goodbye Window, artwork by Chris Raschka

The Hello, Goodbye Window, artwork by Chris Raschka

A Color of His Own, by Leo Lionni

A Color of His Own, by Leo Lionni

But the artwork doesn't have to be vague to inspire. I love these pictures - even though they are well-defined, they still allow one to imagine movement. That is, they are not outlined in black ink with a shallow, still feel to them (i.e., Dora, Thomas the Train). They have depth and beauty.

Inside All, artwork by Holly Welch

Inside All, artwork by Holly Welch

Owl Babies, artwork by Patrick Benson

Owl Babies, artwork by Patrick Benson

The Serpent who came to Gloucester, artwork by Bagram Ibatoulline

The Serpent who came to Gloucester, artwork by Bagram Ibatoulline

And then there is artwork that is done through different mediums. I love the creativity and work that went into creating these.

Teddy, by Enid Warner Romanek. (The illustrations are from etchings done on zinc plates on the artist's own etching press)

Teddy, by Enid Warner Romanek. (The illustrations are from etchings done on zinc plates on the artist's own etching press)

The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside, by Cynthia von Buhler. (The illustrations are photographs of a set the artist designed and created - using clay, hand sewn clothing, a homemade dollhouse, and various other materials)

The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside, by Cynthia von Buhler. (The illustrations are photographs of a set the artist designed and created - using clay, hand sewn clothing, a homemade dollhouse, and various other materials)

Finally, there is artwork that is just plain awesome. David Wiesner's Art & Max, for example.

Maaax.jpeg
Arthur.jpeg

What are some of your favorite illustrators?