Eric Carle, a widely known children’s book illustrator, was born in Syracuse, New York in 1929. His stylistic technique of collaging hand painted papers that are cut and layered to create cheery images has made him and his work distinct and easily recognizable. He grew up in Germany but moved back to the states where his advertising career began, followed by his work as an illustrator. Due to Carle’s love for nature and successful advertising career, his vibrant, simple, and animal-filled illustrations are clear pieces of evidence that reflect his past experiences.
Carle had a happy childhood in America. However, he moved to Germany with his parents when he was six years old and attended the prestigious art school Akademie der Bildenden Künste. In 1952 he moved back to New York to return to the happy place where he grew up. He was then recruited as a graphic designer by The New York Times before he was enrolled as a mail clerk in the Korean War. Once he returned, he worked as the art director for an advertising agency (“Eric Carle”).
His first work as an illustrator was with a famous author named Bill Martin Jr. Martin asked Carle to illustrate his book after he saw an advertising piece he’d done of a red lobster (“Eric Carle”). This is when his illustrating career truly began. Over the years he has not only had numerous successes in his artwork but has even written his own books. He’s most well-known for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar where bright colors, odd shapes, and unique cutouts are used throughout the pages.
Carle always had a love for nature; a majority of his books depict animals or plants of some sort. This recurring theme is seen in all the years of his career ever since his first work called Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (1967) to Mister Seahorse (2004). Carle says, “With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school,” (“Eric Carle Infosite”). The bold images entice the children and bring them joy while they learn. For example, in A Very Hungry Caterpillar Carle follows a caterpillar that devours a variety of foods. At the end it teaches kids that caterpillars turn into butterflies after they come out of their cocoons.
Perhaps one of the most distinct qualities of Carle’s work is his use of color. Everything is always vibrant and alluring causing the subjects to stand out from the page even if the colors don’t necessarily make sense. When he was a little boy one of his teachers secretly showed him a painting of a blue horse by an artist named Franz Marc. The teacher explained to Carle that the painting was banned by the Nazis during the war because the colors were considered incorrect. Carle took a liking to this painting and believed that children...