Count Renato Zavagli-Riccardelli, better known as René Gruau (1909-2004), was born in Rimini, Italy. He was probably the most well known fashion illustrator of his time – at least, his works are. Prolific in his output during his lengthy career, his work graced the covers and pages of fashion magazines such as Marie-Claire, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. He produced illustrations for a string of haute couture fashion houses; most famously Dior, but also Givenchy, Lanvin, Balmain, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Elizabeth Arden. He also designed advertising posters and other material for brands such as Air France, Martini, Cinzano, Du Maurier, Rodier, Blizzand and Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita.
His work is widely available online, from original artwork and prints on Artnet and 1st Dibs to reproduction items on eBay and Etsy. A handful of books have been published about the man and his designs – available on Amazon.
Having not grown up in the UK, Jan Pieńkowski unfortunately passed me by until recently. Luckily, I’ve discovered his wonderful, award-winning illustrations as an adult.
Today’s kids will know him as the co-creator (with Helen Nicoll) of Meg and Mog. People of my age, will know his earlier graphic work from his time working on the BBC’s Watch children’s programme in the early 70s – where he first met Nicoll.
We just have to share the the Jessie Gertrude Townsend’s limerick that accompanied his illustration in their Annie, Bridget and Charlie collaboration… you’ll know why!
H is for Horrid young Hannah,
Who has the most shocking bad manner.
She went out to dine
With a party of nine
And she ate every single banana.
His illustrated children’s books (many of which are still in publication) are readily available on WHSmith, Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
Alan Fletcher (1931-2006) was one of the true giants of 20th century graphic design. He is the legend that designed the logos of news agency, Reuters and the V&A museum.
He designed book & magazine covers and illustrations for publishers such as Penguin, Time, Life and Fortune. He designed advertising material for brands such as Pirelli, Olivetti and Cunard. He even designed the cover artwork for Pulp’s 2001 album, We Love Life.
Fletcher was one of the five original founders of Pentagram, today the world’s largest independent design consultancy. He was an art college contemporary of, amongst others, David Gentleman, Terence Conran, Peter Blake and Peter Firmin.
There are examples of his Mebel clam ashtrays, books, postcards and limited-edition prints available on eBay and Etsy.
This week, we’re drawing your attention to the fantastic work of Teeside-born and Brighton-based Sean Sims. We first mentioned him in our Tuesday Huesday series way back in 2012 and he’s produced lots more great designs in the years since then.
His work ranges from children’s book illustrations, aircraft in-flight meal snack boxes, posters, greetings cards, gift wrap, magazine covers… even a jigsaw puzzle! Last autumn, he designed one of the 44 Snowdogs that were auctioned off on behalf of The Martlets Hospice.