Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Marcia Brown, American author and illustrator, was born on July 13, 1918, and died in April of 2015---just last year. Brown's work was awarded three Caldecott Medals, and six Caldecott Honors, during her career---more Caldecotts  (awards and honors together) than any other illustrator. She also received the prestigious Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1992 for her lifetime contribution to children's literature. Yet how well-known is she today? 

Brown should be talked about more than she is. Her work demonstrates a dazzling range of virtuosity, style, and media.

Woodcuts in two or three colors...


...vigorous yet delicate pen-work with pastel color...


...atmospheric color with lots of lines...

...bold flat primary color with hardly any line at all...


...exotic colors and dramatic silhouettes...

The Bun

...or just the simplest strokes of pencil and crayon. Pen-and-ink, gouache, watercolor, pencil, crayon...
Note with illustration
...playful, adventurous, bold, sweet, powerful, delicate, silly, serious...her artwork covers the gamut. One would never guess that all of this diversity came from the hands of one individual. And I haven't even said a word about her writing. Honor this artist by looking up some of her books today.   (This site is especially informative, including several interviews)


  1. Thank you for this post, Wendy. I love Marcia Brown's work and you have described why succinctly. Her woodcuts and use of color are stunning, both for their boldness and their subtlety. Time for a MB display in our library. I'm guessing there are new illustrators who are learning from her catalog - Peter Brown comes to mind.

    1. A display at your library would be wonderful! And yes, it is heartening to see that today's illustrators are learning from Brown' work.

  2. She well deserves the attention you have given her here, as do you, another remarkably versatile artist. Happy Birthday, Wendy Watson! We celebrate you, too!

  3. Wendy, what a wonderful tribute! I recognized some of the art, but not her name. Thank you for bringing her back to life for us.

    1. Thanks! I so enjoy talking about these illustrators whom I read as a child, grew up with, and often met as a young illustrator---it's very rewarding to remind others of their work.

  4. I love this post, Wendy. Such a range she had . . . and what a career!

    1. Yes, an amazing artist and career. I was so very lucky to be able to meet her when I was a young illustrator. Very inspiring for me.