Robert McCloskey, the famous children's book author and illustrator, was born on September 14, 1914. His formal training was as a painter. He attended the Vesper George Art School, and later studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City. I've always admired his work tremendously, as a child and as an adult. And I feel a special connection with him as well: he and I both studied painting, a generation apart, with Jerry Farnsworth and Helen Sawyer at their school of art in North Truro, Massachusetts. In fact, at the time I was a student there, over the doorway of the main studio room, splashed out with a brush in bold black letters, was the legend: Robert McCloskey, Prix de Rome, 1939. He must have been a student with Jerry when he won that very prestigious prize. In studying with Farnsworth, McCloskey was continuing a tradition of outstanding American painting, as Farnsworth in turn had studied with the legendary Charles W. Hawthorne. McCloskey's early career as a painter was a financial flop, for which we can all be forever grateful: he next decided to try children's books as a way to create an income.
Everyone knows, of course, of Make Way For Ducklings, as well as McCloskey's other picture books. But the books I love even more---if that be possible---are those for older readers: Homer Price, Centerburg Tales, and Lentil. If you are not familiar with these, go find them today. You are in for a treat.
McCloskey was not a prolific artist, by some standards. But the books that he wrote and illustrated are, as far as I can make out, all still in print---a wonderful testimony to the care and attention that he put into his work. Below are a few sites that will give you a bit more information about Robert McCloskey and Jerry Farnsworth.