George Cruikshank was an English artist, caricaturist, and illustrator. He began his career with satirical political cartoons and later illustrated topical and children's books, but his fascination with the fantastic began much earlier in life. The fairy stories he heard from his young nurse inspired his imagination and he began to draw the way he saw fairy tales in his mind. From these rudimentary beginnings sprang one of the most prolific and popular masters of his art.
Born on September 27, 1792, Cruikshank heard many fairy tales as a child. He formed images of the characters in his mind and yearned to draw them. His father Isaac Cruikshank taught him the fundamentals of printmaking and drawing. As a very young boy, Cruikshank's parents allowed him into the studio where his mother may have colored one set of prints while his father noted ideas for the next one. At first George scrawled on odd bits of paper, but by the time he was five or six years old he was drawing quite well. The casts and prints that filled the workroom gave him material to copy and adapt. The tasks his father gave him familiarized him with artistic tools and procedures.
Cruikshank adapted these tools and became familiar with caricatures. In 1811, when George was still in his teens, he gained popular success with a series of political caricatures that he created for several periodicals. For the next fifteen years Cruikshank satirized the political policies of the Tories and Whigs. He grew to love his art and that love grew to dedication. His dedication prompted him to create many works and he became popular throughout Europe.
Along with his political interests, George Cruikshank grew up with a strong interest in drama. This love for art and drama led him to scene painting. There he truly developed his artistic talent. Ideally, George Cruikshank wanted to be an actor, but in his scene painting he realized his talent and love for art, which became his passion and lifelong profession. Cruikshank's dramatic love grew into a love for stories, and he spent most of his career illustrating fairy tales. Cruikshank became skilled at exaggerating certain aspects of himself and of the people surrounding him through which he discovered the art in making people laugh. This discovery led him...