Jan Pienkowski, one of the most original European illustrators and designers, died this Sunday, 20, at the age of 85, in London. He published more than 140 books for children and his work was marked by almost needing words to tell a story. His style is unmistakable. Pienkowski resorted to bright colors and defined shapes.
One of her most popular titles, made in collaboration with writer Helen Nicoll is Meg and Mog, a funny series about a witch and her cat. In an interview, Pienkowski said the series, which he produced with Helen Nicoll between 1972 and 2012, allowed him to work with monster figures from his childhood.
The witch’s striped cat from Meg and Mog, revealed the illustrator, was inspired by the cats that suffered at the hands of Dennis the Peppermint, a naughty boy from the comics that the neighbors hated.
Pienkowski received one of the most prestigious illustration awards in 1971 when he signed the second collaboration with writer Joan Aiken, The Undersea Kingdom, composed of stories inspired by fairy tales from Eastern Europe, Pienkowski’s place of origin.
With the end of World War II, he took up residence in London. His interest in the collage technique that marked his illustrations was born during the war, in Warsaw, where a soldier kept the boy distracted by cutting newspapers and building funny figures. Critics noted that the Polish Gothic style was somewhat macabre for children. But attractive.
Ambitious, his is an edition of Homer’s Odyssey with illustrations. He also illustrated the Bible.
The cause of death is not known.