• Callie Budrick

22 Dr. Seuss Illustrations You’ve Probably Never Seen

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“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, has been a staple in literature and illustration for decades. His love for surrealism brought us brightly colored scenes of strange creatures in curious environments. Ask anyone and they can probably name at least one, if not five, of his best-selling children’s books. But ask about the start of his career and you’ll more than likely receive a shrug as an answer.

According to DrSeussArt.com, “Ted” got his start as an illustrator at age 23. He traveled to New York City looking for work. After three months, he made his first professional sale—a cartoon purchased by The Saturday Evening Post on July 16, 1927 for just $25. Now his original art sells for thousands.

Shortly after settling down permanently in NYC, it was a job with Judge launched Ted’s career. Specifically, a cartoon “in which Ted used Flit bug spray in the punch line that led to a seventeen-year Flit advertising campaign with Standard Oil of New Jersey. Ted’s catchphrase ‘Quick, Henry, the Flit!’ soon entered the American vernacular and Flit sales increased wildly. By the time Ted returned to Dartmouth in the spring of 1928 for a reunion, his celebrity was duly noted by friends and professors.”

Six months after working for Judge, Ted signed his first artwork as “Dr. Seuss.”

[related: Chwast’s Quote: The Illustrated Words of Dr. Seuss; Dr. Seuss Takes An Arousing Zamboni Ride While Playing The Trombone?]

His career clearly didn’t stop there. Since his time with Judge, Dr. Seuss has received countless accolades and awards, from being on Life Books100 People Who Changed the World list, to the Pulitzer Prize and multiple Emmy awards for his works.

After his death in late September 1990, Dr. Seuss’s “Midnight Paintings” started circulating.

“Illustrator by day, surrealist by night, Dr. Seuss created a body of irrepressible work that redefines this American icon as an iconographic American artist,” explains the Dr. Seuss Art website. “Dating back to the 1995 book …The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss often shows a side of the artist that most readers, familiar with him through his classic children’s books, have never seen. These ‘Midnight Paintings,’ along with significant drawings and sculpture, were often created by Dr. Seuss at night for his own personal enjoyment and were rarely, if ever, exhibited during his lifetime.”

Here we go: 22 Dr. Seuss Illustrations You’ve Probably Never Seen

All images are trademarks of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. and can be found at http://www.drseussart.com/

Abduction of the Sabine Woman

Every Girl Should Have A Unicorn

Golden Girl

Green Cat With Lights

I Dreamed I Was a Doorman at the Hotel del Coronado

Incidental Music for a New Year’s Eve Party

Cat Behind the Hat

Joseph Katz and His Coat of Many Colors

After Dark in the Park

Bring on Your Dragons

Cat Detective in the Wrong Part of Town

Cat From the Wrong Side of the Tracks

The Economic Situation Clarified


Self Portrait of the Artist Worrying About His Next Book

Elephant Presenting Flower to a Bird

Lion Stroll

Relaxed in Spite of It

Talk Talk Talk

That Winter Spring Came Late

Tower of Babel

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#Surrealism #bookdesign #illustration #DrSeuss #DesignHistory #illustrators