Gerda Muller and her Illustrated Children's Books
Gerda Muller is a Dutch children's book author and illustrator. She has illustrated more than 120 books for children and her books have been translated into many languages. She is best known in Britain for her Seasons board books and A Year Around the Great Oak (all published by Floris Books).
Gerda Muller's Early Life
Gerda Muller was born on 21st February 1926 in Naarden, a town in the northern Netherlands. In the 1940s, Gerda studied at the School of Fine Arts in Amsterdam and later, L'école Estienne in Paris. As a young student in Amsterdam she was advised against pursuing a career in children's illustration; instead she was told that advertising would be more lucrative!
Determined to continue drawing for children, Gerda packed a suitcase and took her bike to Paris where she attended classes at L'école Estienne and worked with renowned French poster artist Paul Colin. But even there, the focus remained on using art for advertising and after a year, Gerda left Colin's studio.
Deciding to stay in Paris, in 1951 Gerda met Paul Faucher, the celebrated French children's writer and founder of renowned publisher Père Castor, and thus began her long career in children's publishing.
Gerda Muller and Children's Publishing
The friendship between Gerda Muller and Paul Faucher was the start of a long professional collaboration. Père Castor published her first illustrated children's book, The Good Day, in 1951 and this was swiftly followed by Marlaguette (1952). During this time, she also illustrated Paul's own stories, including the French classics Three Little Pigs and The Good Friends.
As her reputation grew and French children came to love her charming drawings, Gerda quickly found herself in demand. Over the last fifty years, she has published more that 120 children's books. She has worked with some of the most famous publishers in France and Europe, including Éditions Le Centurion, Gautier-Languereau (now part of Hachette Livre), Flammarion, Ravensburger and of course, Floris Books.
More recently, Gerda has illustrated the popular French series Turlutins and continues to work with French publisher L'ecole des Loisirs on charming modern stories such as Ce pousse comment?, published in English by Floris Books as How Does My Garden Grow?
When asked why she never wanted to be anything but a children's illustrator, Gerda replied: 'I love my profession and have spent my whole life drawing for children. When I work alone in my studio, I feel the presence of a child who looks over my shoulder and often guides me. It is for this child that I work, not for parents or publishers.'
Gerda Muller's Artistic Style
Gerda Muller works across a wide variety of mediums and uses diverse techniques when illustrating. For precise line work, she typically works with black and sepia pen, using watercolours to add colour and detail. Her picture book illustrations have also made use of coloured pencils, oils, lithography and more recently, pastels.
Gerda Muller is known for her love of nature and natural scenes. Her illustrations are vibrant and reflect the changing seasons and landscapes.
She has written and illustrated 8 children's books in English, all of which are available from Floris Books.
Gerda Muller Picture Books
Anna and Benjamin, with a little help from their neighbour, spend a year learning about all the wonderful things you can do in a garden; planting, harvesting, enjoying picnics and spotting wildlife.
Four unlikely animal companions set off on an adventure to become musicians in the town of Bremen in this beautiful new edition of a classic Brothers Grimm tale.
Sophie lives in the city, and her vegetables come from the supermarket. Then she goes to visit her grandparents in the countryside – and soon discovers how much there is to learn about how things grow!
Rediscover a classic childhood tale with Gerda's beautiful interpretation. Her timeless, intricate illustrations of naughty Goldilocks, three puzzled bears and a whole host of forest creatures offer wonderful extra detail for parents and children to spot together.
In this beautiful seasonal story set around a 300-year-old oak tree, Anna and Benjamin discover the secrets of the forest and its animals.
The twins are on a country walk when it starts to rain. They love splashing about, but where do all the animals go when it rains? Have fun spotting lots of different animals time and time again in this charming tale.
One of a series of four books without text, to lead young children through the seasons of the year. Full of fun, active illustrations, this chunky little board book shows the joys of playing with lambs, sowing seeds, painting Easter eggs and watching baby birds.
One of a series of four books without text, to lead young children through the seasons of the year. Full of fun, active illustrations, this chunky little board book shows the joys of fishing for tadpoles, playing at the beach, eating ice-cream, and enjoying evening picnics.
One of a series of four books without text, to lead young children through the seasons of the year. Full of fun, active illustrations, this chunky little board book shows the joys of playing in leaves, collecting conkers, flying kites and making jam.
One of a series of four books without text, to lead young children through the seasons of the year. Full of fun, active illustrations, this chunky little board book shows the joys of shovelling snow, ice-skating, feeding the birds, and being cosy inside with the Christmas tree.