Gustaf Tenggren's illustrations
Gustaf Tenggren's teacher at the Valand school of Art, Axel Erdmann, constantly encouraged his pupils to attend
artistic areas where they could get an outcome. Illustration was a dedicated branch at school and many of
Gustaf's fellow students chose to become illustrators.
Gustaf, already in his twenties, started to draw for books and magazines, and illustration was to be his foremost form of expression all through his life.>
underbare prinsen, 1916
He worked in many medias; during his first twenty years, watercolors was the material he preferred, applied on top of a thin, sensitive ink line.
The procedure was common with the generation of artists working within the tradition acquainted to "The Golden age of Illustration", for example
Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham or John Bauer.
A bullfight in Lima, 1919
From the start of the forties, Gustaf Tenggren moved to paining in tempera, causing faster production and allowing alterations.
From his apprentice period at the lithographer's shops och from the Valand School of Art, he had a thorough graphical education that came to use during his commissions for The Golden Press.
Many of the Big Golden Books where made only in black crayon and india ink.
After that he chose four-color blends from color charts, and the colors were added during the printing process,
a method similar to the one used when printing original art lithographies.
Seldom and the Golden Cheese,
His specialty was detailed renderings of historical and mythological figures:
west indian pirates, persian kalifas, greek warriors or medieval knights.
In that area, he excelled in clothing styles, decorations and fabric painting in a spectacular range of color.
But the most important thing was the human individual.
Tenggren Tell-It-Again Book, 1942
To describe living and expressive people, each and everyone with his own
body stature and anatomy, sense and character, was his greatest concern.
By making the people in his illustrations so real, he made the fairy tales he illustrated yet more true.