Beloved illustrator Eloise Wilkin lived in my town

Shortly after moving to Canandaigua, NY, I discovered that the charming stone house I pass on the way into town had been the home of Eloise Wilkin, one of my favorite illustrators. I was absolutely thrilled! It felt like a good omen for my art career. It was in this idyllic setting that she raised her family and worked as an illustrator on many books, some of which you’ll surely recognize, as many were Golden Books. Here are a few that I read to my own children, and still have.

Books illustrated by  Eloise Wilkin

Books illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

Besides her charming art of children and animals, stylistically I loved her delicate line work, which you can see in this boy’s face. It hints of the Asian paintings from centuries before that I also admire. Artists of all kinds seek inspiration from those who have gone before, and Eloise was a big one for me. Looking at her books again, I see that she often used local architecture, and put a lake in wherever she could (our town sits on the shore of Canandaigua Lake.). Farms, milk cows, rolling hills, the seasons, all make regular appearances.  Here’s a short video, recently produced by our local Ontario County Historical Society, about her life in my little town of Canandaigua in upstate New York.