My Favorite Illustrators #1 Gyo Fujikawa

I like collecting childrens books and I would like to talk about some illustrators which inspire me. I begin by presenting one illustrator that I discovered recently, Gyo Fujikawa. I very much like flea market and garage sale and I look for things, books and toys from the fifties to the eighties. This hobby gives me the opportunity to find some children’s literature treasures.

In the picture below, you can see my collection of Gyo Fujikawa books.

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (01)

Gyo Fujikawa (1908-1998) was born in California. She illustrated and wrote more than 50 books and her book are regularly reprinted. She worked for the Walt Disney Company and for advertising agencies. She published her first illustrated book in the 1957 at the age of 50 and her first written and illustrated book in the 1963. This book titled Babies was one of the earliest children’s books to use multi-racial characters.

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (02)

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (07)

Her illustrations are always joyful, coloured and the children are very expressive.

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (03)

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (05)

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (09)

It is easy to recognize her books at first glance : the children have a round face and a little red and round nose.

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (04)

She also illustrated books with animals, but I prefer her children’s illustrations.

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (06)

While preparing this post, I pointed at this highly original illustration in which we can see elves and aliens in a flying saucer.

Mister Lapin Gyo Fujikawa (08)

The children’s books in those years were often sexist (the little girls take care of their dolls and little boys are brave and strong), but this is not the case here. Boys and girls without distinction jump into puddles, climb trees or cuddle animals. Gyo Fujikawa’s illustrations are a perfect representation of a joyful childhood, a period of the life in which black or white, girl or boy do not count.

You can also read an article in the New York Times here and another in Wikipedia here.

Did you know this illustrator? Did you have some of her books when you was a child?


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