April is a month of new beginnings so it's no surprise that it’s a month for the many birthdays of famous illustrators! From the fairy tale master Hans Christian Andersen to the beloved children's book illustrator Garth Williams, let's take a closer look at some of the most notable illustrators born in April.

Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) is best known for his fairy tales, including The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow Queen. In addition to his writing, Andersen was also a talented illustrator and often created his own illustrations to accompany his stories! His illustrations were typically simple yet effective, featuring delicate lines that created a sense of whimsy and lightness.


Sketch from Hans Christian Anderson’s diary entry dated May 22, 1831. 

    Illustration by Edmund Dulac, this image from The Snow Queen is a testament to Hans Christian Andersen's enduring influence on the art of illustration. 


    Charles Folkard (April 28, 1878 – February 26, 1963) was an English illustrator and children's book author best known for his charming and whimsical illustrations. He worked on a wide range of projects throughout his career, including illustrating children's books and creating advertising campaigns. One of his most notable works is his illustrations for The Arabian Nights, which captured the magical nature of the tales.

    Charles Folkard is best remembered as the creator of Teddy Tail (1915-1974), one of the earliest British newspaper comics—he's thought by some to have created speech balloons in comics!


      Leonetto Cappiello (April 9, 1875 – February 2, 1942) was an Italian-French poster artist who is considered to be one of the fathers of modern advertising. He is best known for his bold and colorful posters, which were designed to grab the viewer's attention and promote various products and events. His most famous works include posters for brands such as Campari, Dubonnet, and Pirelli.

      Let’s celebrate Leonetto Cappiello!

        We’ve given some of Leonetto Cappiello’s art, like this polar bear poster, another life as a greeting card!


          C.W. Anderson (April 12, 1891 – May 12, 1971) was an American illustrator and writer who specialized in creating children's books about horses. His most famous works include Billy and Blaze and its sequels, which were beloved by young readers for their engaging stories and beautiful illustrations.


          C.W. Anderson wrote and illustrated over 30 books about horses including an 11-book series about a boy named Billy and his beloved horse, Blaze.


            Garth Williams April 16, 1912 – May 8, 1996) was an American illustrator who worked on some of the most beloved children's books of all time. His most famous works include his illustrations for Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, both of which were written by E.B. White. Williams' illustrations were known for their warmth and whimsy, and his characters were often depicted with a great deal of emotion and expression.


            Garth Williams was also a prolific illustrator of Little Golden Books. He’s prominently featured in our series inspired by Diane Muldrow's best-selling Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book.

            Dorothy Lathrop (April 16, 1891 – December 30, 1980) was an American illustrator and writer who was known for her beautiful illustrations of animals. She worked on a variety of projects throughout her career, including illustrating children's books and creating designs for greeting cards. Her most famous works include her illustrations for Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, which won the Newbery Medal in 1930.

            A bonus Hans Christian Anderson connection! Illustration from 1939’s The Little Mermaid by Dorothy Lathrop.


              Ludwig Bemelmans (April 27, 1898 – October 1, 1962) was an Austrian-American illustrator and writer who is best known for his series of children's books about the mischievous and adventurous Madeline. His illustrations were known for their bold colors and whimsical style, and his stories were beloved by generations of young readers.

              In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
              Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
              In two straight lines they broke their bread
              And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
              They left the house at half past nine
              In two straight lines in rain or shine-
              The smallest one was Madeline.”
              Madeline, written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans

              Cecil Aldin (April 28, 1870 – January, 6 1935) was an English artist and illustrator who was known for his ability to capture the charm and character of animals. He was born in Slough, England and began his career as a commercial artist, working on advertising campaigns for various companies. Aldin's true passion, however, was in painting and illustrating animals, and he became a sought-after illustrator for books, magazines, and newspapers. His most notable works include A Dog Day, Sleeping Partners, and The Adventures of a Terrier.


              Much of Cecil Aldin’s work was inspired by his own beloved dogs: Cracker (seen here!), a bull terrier and Micky, an Irish wolfhound

                Palmer Cox (April 28, 1840 – July 24, 1924) was a Canadian illustrator and author, best known for his humorous illustrations of brownie characters. He began his career as a political cartoonist, but gained popularity for his work on The Brownies, a series of children's books featuring mischievous sprite-like creatures based on Scottish folktales. His most famous work, The Brownies: Their Book, was published in 1887 and sold over two million copies. 

                Palmer Cox’s brownie characters appeared in 16 books and a long-running comic strip. They were a true cultural phenomon of the late 1800s/early 1900s and were the first North American comic characters to be internationally merchandised!

                Brownies were used (sometimes without Palmer Cox’s permission) to sell coffee, soap, oranges, and peanuts, and Kodak cameras among MANY other things.

                  In conclusion, if you were born in April you are in excellent company.

                  Happy birthday from your friends at Laughing Elephant!


                  barney cohen said:

                  It’s interesting that so many of the illustrators worked on or created books for children. Great Post.

                  Mary Eaton said:

                  Great share! Appreciate all that you offer.

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