Fred Marcellino

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Fred Marcellino
Fred Marcellino.jpg
Born(1939-10-25)October 25, 1939
Brooklyn, New York, United States
DiedJuly 12, 2001(2001-07-12) (aged 61)
New York City, New York, United States
Known forBook jacket design, children's book illustration

Fred Marcellino (October 25, 1939 – July 12, 2001) was an American illustrator and later an author of children's books who was very influential in the book industry. Publisher Nan Talese said that Marcellino could "in one image, translate the whole feeling and style of a book." Such was the case with his evocative painting for Judith Rossner's August , published and edited by Talese.

An illustrator is an artist who specializes in enhancing writing or elucidating concepts by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text or idea. The illustration may be intended to clarify complicated concepts or objects that are difficult to describe textually, which is the reason illustrations are often found in children's books.

Childrens literature stories, books, and poems that are enjoyed by and targeted primarily towards children

Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are enjoyed by children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader.

Judith Rossner American novelist

Judith Rossner was an American novelist, best known for her acclaimed best sellers Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1975) and August (1983).


Among many other commissions, he was responsible for the covers of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale , Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities and the 1987 Dell Laurel Leaf edition of Allen Appel's Time After Time .

Margaret Atwood Canadian writer

Margaret Eleanor Atwood is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist. Since 1961, she has published 17 books of poetry, 16 novels, 10 books of non-fiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children's books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction. Atwood has won numerous awards and honors for her writing, including the Man Booker Prize, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General's Award, Franz Kafka Prize, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards.

<i>The Handmaids Tale</i> Dystopian science fiction novel

The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, originally published in 1985. It is set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy that overthrows the United States government. The novel focuses on the journey of the handmaid Offred. Her name derives from the possessive form "of Fred"; handmaids are forbidden to use their birth names and must echo the male, or master, whom they serve.

Tom Wolfe American author and journalist

Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. was an American author and journalist widely known for his association with New Journalism, a style of news writing and journalism developed in the 1960s and 1970s that incorporated literary techniques.

Early life

Born in Brooklyn, Marcellino began as an abstract expressionist painter and spent 1963 studying in Venice on a Fulbright Scholarship. Returning to the United States, he went in a new direction as a designer and illustrator with the main focus on LP cover art illustrating the albums of such singers and groups as Loretta Lynn, Manhattan Transfer and Fleetwood Mac. By 1969, he was creating record album covers for Capitol, Decca and PolyGram.

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is a borough of New York City, coterminous with Kings County, in the U.S. state of New York, the most populous county in the state, and the second-most densely populated county in the United States. It is New York City's most populous borough, with an estimated 2,504,700 residents in 2010. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island.

Venice Comune in Veneto, Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.

The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright–Hays Program, is one of several United States Cultural Exchange Programs whose goal is to improve intercultural relations, cultural diplomacy, and intercultural competence between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. It is one of the most prestigious and competitive fellowship programs in the world. Via the program, competitively-selected American citizens including students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists may receive scholarships or grants to study, conduct research, teach, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States of America. The program was founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is considered to be one of the most widely recognized and prestigious scholarships in the world. The program provides 8,000 grants annually.

Book jackets

He entered the book publishing field by 1974, [1] producing 40 jackets a year for 15 years. He is sometimes credited with having revolutionized the style of book cover design in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s with notable work on such books as Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Charles Dickinson's Waltz in Marathon and William Wharton's Birdy .

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Anne Tyler is an American novelist, short story writer, and literary critic. She has published 22 novels, the best known of which are Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982), The Accidental Tourist (1985), and Breathing Lessons (1988). All three were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with Breathing Lessons winning the prize in 1989. She has also won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, the Ambassador Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2012 she was awarded The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence. Tyler's twentieth novel, A Spool of Blue Thread, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. She is recognized for her fully developed characters, her "brilliantly imagined and absolutely accurate detail," and her "rigorous and artful style" and "astute and open language."

<i>Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant</i> Novel by Anne Tyler

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is a 1982 novel by Anne Tyler, set in Baltimore, Maryland. It is Anne Tyler's ninth novel. In 1983 it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Anne Tyler considers it her best work.

Illustrators were sometimes presented with tip sheets suggesting pages in the manuscript the illustrator might find a suitable character or location to illustrate. Marcellino, however, insisted on reading the entire manuscript and producing a carefully designed, tasteful illustration that captured the overall mood of the book, often symbolically. Art director Steven Heller described Marcellino's approach:

His surreal landscapes, exotic backdrops, impressionist palette, and precisionist typography defined a particular kind of literary genre. By "defined" I mean Marcellino gave authors including Anne Tyler, Tom Wolfe, Milan Kundera, Judith Rossner, Margaret Atwood and Primo Levi, to name but a few, a visual persona that underscored their words and ideas. Marcellino's distinctive personal style never conflicted with the writers' character, but like the best graphic interpreters he added dimension that was not always there. He also, and perhaps most importantly, challenged the strict marketing conventions imposed on packaging fiction and non-fiction blockbusters that required gigantic type for the author's name and a small, literal illustration of the plot or theme. Although these kinds of covers grabbed attention there was little aesthetic resonance. Marcellino introduced subtly painted and smartly lettered mini-posters that established allure. He was a master of sky and many of his book jacket illustrations use rich, cloud-studded skyscapes as backdrops and dramatic light sources for effect. He typically rendered the light of early dawn and late afternoon in pastel hues and airbrush smoothness to create surreal auras. The way in which he manipulated light on such subjects as walls, chairs, and doors enabled him to transform the commonplace into charged graphic symbols. [2]

Children's books

In the mid-1980s, he began doing children's books, starting with Tor Seidler's A Rat's Tale. He found it to be a different experience, commenting:

Tor Seidler is an American author of children's literature. Many of his books feature anthropomorphic animals. Mean Margaret was nominated for a National Book Award, The Wainscott Weasel was named a Notable Children's Book by the American Library Association, and A Rat's Tale was named Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. In 1998, A Rat's Tale was adapted into a puppet film by Augsburger Puppenkiste and distributed by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment. 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios planned to adapt The Wainscott Weasel into a movie, which started development in 2003. However, Fox shelved the concept in 2006.

Each picture is a link in a chain, and they all exist in counterpoint with the text. And although you want each picture to have impact, just like a jacket, the book illustration can also be much more subtle. It can be pondered and savored over a period of time. It's a very different discipline from what I was used to, but I must say it was love at first sight. [3]

Charles Perrault's Puss in Boots , his first full-color picture book, won a 1991 Caldecott honor, and he won more awards with The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Wainscott Weasel, The Pelican Chorus and Other Nonsense, The Story of Little Babaji (a revision of The Story of Little Black Sambo ) and Ouch! (adapted from the Grimm tale, The Devil and His Three Golden Hairs).

He moved into writing with I, Crocodile (1999), honored by The New York Times (Best Books of the Year), Publishers Weekly (Best Book of the Year), Child magazine (Best Book of the Year), The New York Times Book Review (Ten Best Illustrated Picture Books) and the ALA Notable Book.

In 1998, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, and he died on July 12, 2001. At the time of his death, he was working on the I, Crocodile sequel, Arrivederci, Crocodile.

In December 2016, it was announced that "Arrivederci Crocodile," would be completed by the French illustrator Eric Puybaret and published in September 2019 by Atheneum. [4]


• November 9, 2002 - January 26, 2003: Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts [5]
• April 7 - July 29, 2007: Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California [6]
• June 9 - October 29, 2011: National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, Abilene, TX [7] [8]
• April 6 - May 20, 2012: Stamford Museum and Nature Center, Stamford, CT [9]
• July 14 - September 29, 2012: Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska [10]
• October 15 - December 24, 2012: Abraham Art Gallery at Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX [11]
• March 28 - June 2, 2013: Children's Museum of Houston, Houston, TX
• November 17, 2013 - January 17, 2014: Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, TX [12]
• June 30, 2015 - October 25, 2015: Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA [13]

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  1. Lookout Cartridge
  2. Harper Highlights, Michael di Capua Books/HarperCollins, 1996.
  3. Corbett, Sue. "Fred Marcellino’s ‘Crocodile’ Resurfaces," Publishers Weekly
  4. "The Voice News: "The Art of Fred Marcellino at Rockwell Museum"". Archived from the original on 2017-07-05. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  5. Minutes: City of Los Angeles Board of Library Commissions, December 14, 2006 [ permanent dead link ]
  6. National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature: "The Art of Fred Marcellino" at NCCIL
  7. Goldmeier, Jeremy. "From cats to crocs: New NCCIL exhibit highlights Fred Marcellino," Abilene Reporter-News
  8. Stamford Museum & Nature Center: Dancing by the Light of the Moon
  9. Joslyn Art Museum: Upcoming Exhibitions
  10. "Illustrator speaks with clear, visual voice"
  11. Discover Denton: Dancing By The Light Of The Moon: The Art of Fred Marcellino
  12. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: A Renaissance Man: The Art of Fred Marcellino