It's odd that Seymour Chwast is not readily considered on the top tier of children's book artists despite having publishing over 40 of them, and creating many more. It is shocking that he's never won a Caldecott Medal, awarded annually to illustrators and artists to recognize the most distinguished illustrations in children's picture books, although he did win the NY Times Best Illustrated in 1969. The great thing—and what continues to make him so relevant—is that Chwast defies categorization as an artist and illustrator. After all these decades of mastering so many media, he is not prisoner to form, style or fashion. So, does it matter that he's not "officially" a children's book artist/author?
On the occasion of his 90th birthday, I asked him what he would most like to do now that he can do what he'd MOST like to do. He answered: "My kid's books."
Of course, I've learned not to take any single response at face value. He'll do anything that excites him (in fact, I hope he'll do a book with me called Seymour's Letters) but children's books trigger challenges and allow the freedom to develop stories, characters and lettering galore. Not all of Chwast's have been published, but gradually most have seen the light of day. Below are some of the recent crop of covers. Coming soon—the interiors, too.