Painting complex creatures with simplicity, and without losing their true character, was a signature skill of Charley Harper (American, 1922–2007). He painted animals from all continents, both wild and domestic, and created now famous posters for organizations that care for and protect animals. He combined his talent with a respect for the world’s creatures to create artwork that has delighted animal lovers for decades.
Harper grew up on a farm in West Virginia and studied at the Art Students League of New York and the Art Academy of Cincinnati. In 1947 Harper and his wife, Edie, went on a six-month journey through the United States. While at the Grand Canyon, he understood that realism couldn’t capture its immensity. Harper decided he must reduce what he saw to its simplest forms—a decision that led directly to his self-described minimal realist style. His classic animal artwork that uses clear geometric forms is perfect for a set of coloring books.
Inside are twenty-two pages of Charley Harper’s playful animals, with his full-color illustrations featured on the inside of the front and back covers. Don’t forget about the blank pages at the end—we’ve left them there for you to draw the animals you find in your world.
A Sample of Selections:
- The sea otter loves to float around and eat, and sometimes it uses tools like rocks to pry open its favorite shellfish. The name of this painting is Otterly Delicious.
- The plump quail likes to stay low, foraging and building its nest on the ground.
- The lucky little ladybug is pretty smart, too: its shining red wings and black spots tell predators to stay away. The name of this painting is Lucky Ladybug.
- The brilliant feathers and prideful tail of the orange-bellied trogon can be spotted in the humid forest canopies of Panama and Costa Rica.
- Don’t feed the bears! But black bears do enjoy munching on berries they find in the wild. The name of this painting is Blackbeary Jam.