Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Carl Wilen


While I was growing up, illustrations made deep impressions upon me. An illustration is a picture that explains and adds interest to the written part of a printed work such as a book. Often overlooked by others, for various reasons, this means of communication played a significant part in my life and art.

The history of illustration is a history of men and women, serious artists, who have produced an enormous amount of high-quality work. Many of their illustrations had their origins in fine art such as early religious painting and mythological themes. A large number of fine artists have also been book illustrators. Among these are such persons as Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, and Auguste Rodin, to name a few.

Through the years my interest in illustration has been growing to the point where my objective is to become an illustrator of children's books. To increase my understanding of this area I chose to study four Americans who impressed me. They are Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, and Maurice Sendak. Also I would like to include the English painters Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The first part of this paper is a brief historical review of the lives of Pyle, Wyeth, Parrish, and Sendak. All of these illustrators have used their talents in a variety of ways other than book illustration: e.g., magazine illustration and mural painting. As I have studied their strengths - Pyle's superb technical skills, devotion, and imagination; Wyeth's ability to make his art come alive and his appreciation for the smallest details of nature; Parrish's craftsmanship and brilliant handling of color; and Sendak's philosophy of children's art and imaginative use of line and color - I have seen my own skills as an illustrator improve. Their dedication to art and high standards are exemplary.

The review of these illustrators will be followed by a comparison of different aspects of my art to the work of Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, artists who have had a significant impact upon my creative life. The conclusion will be a discussion of the history of my art, its present status, and the role it has served in my life.

Included in

Illustration Commons