Dick Bruna

If you read our sister blog you will know how excited I was to find out that a couple of children’s squeeze ‘n’ squeak toys I bought years ago were illustrated by the great Dick Bruna in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Hendrik Magdelanus Bruna, or Dick Bruna to you and me, was born in 1927 in Utrecht, Holland where he has lived and worked all his life as an author, artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

It had originally been intended for Bruna to take over the family business, A.W. Bruna & Zoon - the Netherland’s largest publishing house. He had no interest in running the business, a role that his brother took on, but over the years he has illustrated over 2,000 book covers and over 100 posters for the company including designs for Zwarte Beertjes, or Little Black Bear series, including The Saint, James Bond, Maigret (which he also translated into Dutch), Simenon, and Shakespeare.

Dick Bruna is most famous for his children's books. He has written and illustrated over 200, his more popular creation being ‘Nijntjie’ (pronounced nein-che) meaning little rabbit, better known outside Holland as Miffy.

Miffy was created in 1955, she is characterised by the thick black outline of her simplistic 2D shape and by the bright primary colours used for the clothing and the backgrounds in the Miffy books. She is female only because Bruna wanted to draw a dress rather than trousers on his new creation.

Miffy books are sold in more than 40 languages around the world and in 2005 she celebrated her 50th birthday, she is an international star! Limited edition prints are available from the Miffy shop.

Images copyright Dick Bruna.

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