View Full Version : Once Upon a Time-Ludwig Bemelmans-Dec and Jan

12-01-2009, 05:26 AM
Once Upon a Time artist for December 2009 and January 2010: Madeleine books!!:thumbsup:


In an old house in Paris
that was covered with vines
lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

Ludwig Bemelman's most famous children's book "Madeline" was patterned after his daughter and brought him world fame, but he also wrote a bunch of other children's books and books for grown-ups. His stories were in the New Yorker magazine and he did many covers for them as well. He has a bar in the Hotel Carlyle named after him because of the murals he painted on the walls. He and Jackie Onassis were once going to collaborate on a children's book, alas, never to be.

Here are some links:





Please be inspired by Mr. Bemelmans art work and either do something in his style or perhaps a children's illustration of your own, and post it here so we all can enjoy. Unfortunetly his work is still under copyright, so we can't do a direct copy, but we can have fun anyway.-Janet :heart:

12-01-2009, 05:32 AM
Forgot to mention that there are more repros of his work on Google images. :heart:

12-01-2009, 06:16 AM
Here is a link with a few really nice images:


12-01-2009, 03:35 PM
Thanks Janet!! I am looking forward to visiting his work.

12-06-2009, 06:23 AM
Bemelmans study I did a little while ago. Acrylic on gessoed paper.


12-15-2009, 02:15 AM
A nice design, Janet, and it has a modern or contemporary feel to it.

I will extend this topic over January to give others time to participate!!

12-15-2009, 01:12 PM
June, so glad you are extending the time as I really would like to take part, but looks unlikely before Christmas.

Janet, nice study - love the colours and the subject. :clap:

01-01-2010, 10:06 AM
Happy New Year everybody!

Just a quickie or two from me in Bemelmans style (hopefully):



01-01-2010, 07:12 PM
Janet - that is delightful....... I love the thoughtful eyes and mouth on the lady on the left.....from a photo? or imagination?
Inky - yep, you got it nailed

01-02-2010, 11:29 AM
A cute Bemelmann's girl Inky.

I did my painting from a few Bemelmann's drawings and paintings and imagination. I changed around some of his rooms and characters so they weren't direct copies.

Here's another I did today...I like it but still can't get that Bemelmanns looseness I want. It's in watercolor and gouche. Just discovered gouche, and I can see why June likes it. I just love it. Had some partially dried up tubes that I cut open and am using.


01-02-2010, 01:43 PM
Inky and Janet, youve both captured that wonderful child innocence for these illustrations.

Janet, I love the distribution of the reds in the colour of the two at the table.

Inky, I love the happy little dog taking the girl for a walk!! I know that feeling.

01-02-2010, 08:23 PM
Janet, you gave those ladies real character! I like especially the lady on the viewer's left - such an expression. I can imagine the nuns would look like that after a glass or two. In your second piece, you gave the vase, the dog and the table very Bemelmans touch!!!

Inky - your second Madeleine looks like a cross of Japanese manga and the French version. Very cute.

I finally had a bit of time and thanks for all those links, Janet.

Here is the color scheme of one of his work more or less and I improvised along the way.

Derwent Inktense & Derwent Graphitint Pencils with wash here and there
Pentalic 140 lbs Nature sketchbook 8.5 x 11 inch half page


01-04-2010, 07:42 AM
Sandra, you've got the looseness I was trying for. Like your choice of medium too.

It's funny about Bemelmanns. He painted in gouche for years, but decided late in the game that if he wanted to be a serious painter he would have to work in oils. He taught himself by copying his gouche paintings. Actually I like the gouche work better.

01-08-2010, 12:54 PM
Janet - I think you did a good job of it....maybe if the trees and shrubs were solid forms it would be closer but I think the people especially the little girl and dog are right on the mark. Oh my, you both go on about gouache and I have a notion I too would like it alot but must hold off until I use some of my present materials.

Sandra - Oh what a lovely foggy piece.....that must be Madeline wandering about.

I didn't know how this was gonna go for me cause I love detail but I really enjoyed this and hope to do one with color soon.

01-13-2010, 11:13 AM
That is such a cute stove, Robin. Very wobbly looking.

01-13-2010, 03:11 PM
Hi Sandra, I love the oriental buidings. Madeleine in Russia perhaps? I haven't read any Madeleine books.

Hi Robin, love the stove. Gouache paint would certainly be good for this.

01-20-2010, 09:39 AM
This is a scene from the movie Nanny McPhee. It is Aunt Adelaid . I love Bemelman's simple color scheme though I did not get the light yellow light enough here........I will definitely be using this style more....it's fun!!!! Thanks Janet for the introduction.

01-21-2010, 01:35 PM
Janet, lovely gouache painting I like the subject, just beautiful.:thumbsup:

Sandra, definitely Madeline in Russia lovely work.:thumbsup:

Robin, nice attention to detail in your drawings I just love that kettle on the stove and adore that uplifting yellow. :thumbsup:

Great stuff everyone!

01-22-2010, 09:48 AM
That's a marvellous drawing Robin.

01-22-2010, 11:47 AM
Here are my 3 attempts at 'Madeline'.



01-23-2010, 01:25 PM
Robin, wonderful yellows. I enjoy so much looking at the old classic stories that are just in blue and yellow. Very nice take and good loose style.

June, those lemurs stole the show!!! Brilliant interpretations!

01-23-2010, 03:43 PM
yep, I'm a lovin' those lemurs, June.....

01-24-2010, 05:51 AM
Robin, that old stove looks good. Yours? Nanny McPhee, I had all but forgotten her...very Bemelmanns, loose and the yellow.

:lol: Love this June. "Madeleine and the Lumers" Very amusing and sweet at the same time.

Think I'll post one more, before we put it to bed. :angel:

01-24-2010, 06:02 AM
An old Bemelmanns inspiration. Thank you Ludwig.