Storybook Fantasies: 10 Classic Children’s Fairy Tale Illustrators

In a world where it’s not uncommon for children to own electronic devices that are far superior to the phones the rest of us have been holding together with duct tape until our next paycheck, International Children’s Book Day is a beacon of hope. The celebration honors the import role reading plays in healthy child development, aiming to instill a lifelong love of printed works for young bookworms across the world. The event coincides with Hans Christian Andersen‘s birthday — the Danish author whose fairy tale gems like The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, and The Snow Queen have delighted the minds and hearts of readers big and small.

Children’s storybook illustrators have been bringing the tales of Andersen and other authors to life for eons, offering an imaginative entryway into each fable’s unique universe — many of the artworks now inseparable from the books. With this in mind, we wanted to share the incredible creations of several famed fairy tale illustrators. Click through for more, and tell us who captures your imagination most in the comments section.

Vilhelm Pedersen

The first person to illustrate the works of Hans Christian Andersen was Danish artist Vilhelm Pedersen — a naval officer who had a way with drawing. When the two met, Andersen’s writing was celebrated throughout Europe, and his popularity had soared thanks to help from several successful poems and rubbing elbows with the likes of Charles Dickens and other famous faces. Pedersen’s talents arrived on scene in 1849, and he was asked to illustrate a new, five volume collection that would include 125 drawings. They worked together for the next ten years, and today it’s hard to imagine an Andersen story without the delicate linework of Pedersen completing the picture.