Illustration from A Child’s Garden of Verses, Jessie Willcox Smith
Philadelphia-born artist Jessie Willcox Smith studied with Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and later with American illustration master Howard Pyle.
It was through Pyle’s classes that she encountered fellow students Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley, with whom she would become lifelong friends.
Like Shippen Green, Smith often worked in a multi-media approach that involved layers of charcoal drawing, fixative, watercolor and sometimes gouache and ink.
Her use of white paint is evident in this beautiful illustration from A Child’s Garden of Verses, one of her most prominent projects. The combination of drawn lines and color gives that wonderful effect of being both a drawing and a painting.
Smith’s evocative portrayals of the joys of childhood were also often a paean to motherhood.
There are contemporary editions of the book from which this is taken. Amazon has unfortunately mixed the reviews of editions from different publishers, some of which are negative, so it’s hard to determine which edition is problematic.
I would suggest this 2015 edition from Pook Press, which contains 12 color images of Smith’s illustrations in addition to her pen and ink spot illustrations: A Child’s Garden of Verses Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith (Amazon US).
For readers in the UK: A Child’s Garden of Verses Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith, (Amazon UK).
Jessie Willcox Smith
Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Visit from St. Nicholas illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith