Marcia Brown (1918- ) began her career as an illustrator/author several years after graduating with an English degree from the New York State College for Teachers (now the University at Albany) in 1940. Brown wanted to be an artist since childhood, but decided that a teaching career would be more practical. While in college she maintained her connection to visual art by studying painting during summers in Woodstock, New York and by contributing line illustrations to the collegeís literary and humor magazines. After graduation, Brown taught high school English for three years, and then moved to New York City where she resumed her dream of pursuing a career as an artist.
In New York, Brown studied art at the New York School for Social Research with American abstract painter, Stuart Davis. She also worked in the Central Childrenís Room of the New York Public Library from 1943-1948. While at the library, she developed her skills as a storyteller and gained first-hand knowledge of childrenís literature from the libraryís international collection. Brownís first four books were finished during this time and each received favorable recognition. By 1948, Brown had established her reputation as an illustrator/author of distinguished books for children.
Brownís career as an illustrator draws from a lifetime of travel and research into art, myths, and folktales from cultures around the world. Throughout her career, she has explored a variety of mediums---gouache, collage, pastel, watercolor, pen and ink, and linoleum and woodcuts. Brownís illustrations are not marked by a single style. Instead, she matches her artistic and technical resources to the tenor of the individual story --- whether her own, a folktale, or a classic fairytale.
A number of Brownís books have been translated into other languages including Afrikaans, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Xhosa-Bantu. Many of Brownís lectures and essays on the philosophical and theoretical aspects of illustrating and writing books for children can be found in her book, Lotus Seeds.
Brown is the recipient of three Caldecott Medals, for Cinderella
(1955), Once a Mouse (1962), and Shadow (1983), and six Caldecott
Honors for Stone Soup (1948), Henry-Fisherman
(1950), Dick Whittington and his Cat (1951), Skipper Johnís Cook
(1952), Puss in Boots (1953), and The Steadfast Tin Soldier
(1954). Brown has received numerous other awards for her work and, in 1992,
was honored with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her lifetime body of
distinguished works in childrenís literature.