Born into a family of publishers in Utrecht Dick Bruna early on developed
a passion for drawing and for books. Initially intending to follow in
his father's footsteps he went to London and then Paris to learn the
trade of printing. But in Paris it was the works of Matisse, Picasso,
Braque and Leger that had the biggest influence upon the young Bruna
and he determined to become an illustrator, combining his love of books
and his love of art.
Bruna is now one of the most famous creators of children's picture books
in the world; he has written and illustrated over one hundred books,
which have been translated into some forty languages, won countless
awards, and have sold more than eighty million copies. Bruna's greatest
creation, Miffy, was born in 1955: while on holiday with his family
Bruna watched his son playing with his fabric toy bunny, and, recalling
too the pet rabbits he had as a boy, penned the first Miffy sketch and
poem. A perfectionist by nature, Bruna took years to arrive at Miffy
as we now know him, and the first Miffy book was published in 1963.
There are now over twenty titles.
Bruna, like Pienkowski, draws in bold black contours which are later
coloured in. What distinguishes Bruna is his paring-down of form, his
two-dimensional perfection which achieves an absolute clarity. Bruna
has an immediately recognisable colour-scheme, and limits his books'
colour to blocks of red, blue, yellow, green and white, never with any
shades. The format of his illustrations are a consistent 15.5 x 15.5
cm, the perfect size for his books to fit tiny hands.
Bruna has been famed for his collage technique, of which Miffy is a
perfect example. In preparing a book Bruna will first put together the
scenes with paper, scissors and glue - which is surely testament to
his love of Matisse.