And of course my favorite book of his was "The Cricket In Times Square". The little world that he created for Tucker the mouse, Harry the cat, and Chester the cricket in the subway enthralled me. Tiny matchbox beds and thimble tables. I loved every drawing! I often copied the drawings trying to get his pen and ink style. It was my exposure to Garth Williams' drawings that made me fall in love with drawing as a child and made me want to be an artist. I loved that he created these magical worlds where adorable creatures lived and had these memorable adventures. His work touched both the artist and the adventurer in me and has influenced me to this day.
Garth Williams was born in New York City to artist parents. Like many great artists he studied art in Europe when his parents moved to England. He studied architecture and then switched to painting and sculpture. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Art and served briefly as the headmaster of the Luton Art School outside of London before resigning to immerse himself in art. When he returned to the United States, he tried to become a cartoonist for The New Yorker, but his work was rejected because it was considered too wild and European. Isn't that funny! His work was considered too wild? I wonder what he showed them!
He eventually found an opportunity at Haper and Row when a manuscript for a children's book came in. It was E.B. White's "Stuart Little". I guess he wasn't too wild for children:) That was the beginning of a long and successful career as a children's book illustrator for Garth Williams. And while his illustrations were the reason for the success of such books as "Stuart Little," "Charlotte's Web," and "Cricket In Times Square" at the time of their success he was often not credited.
For me, almost all of Garth Williams work sits on my bookshelf. He is frequently a "go to" resource for me when I want inspiration. He captures a sense of innocence and wonderment in his illustrations that I want to develop in my own work. He has not been with us since 1996 when he passed away, but his art has left a permanent mark on me and maybe on you too.
What is your fondest memory of Garth Williams work? Leave me a comment below.