An investigation into the illustration and design of elementary school textbooks with suggestions for raising existing standards

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A Thesis Presented to the Department of Fine Arts The University of Southern California

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Art

by Mar }or ie.May Crumr ine June 1942

UMI Number: EP57839

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T h i s thesis, w r i t t e n by



u n d e r the d i r e c t io n o f h.§.V. F a c u l t y C o m m i t t e e , a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l it s m e m b e r s , has been presented to a n d accepted by the C o u n c i l on G r a d u a t e S t u d y a n d Research in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l ­ m e n t o f the re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f


D /a n



F a c u lty C om m ittee

Chairm an

/ ^ f c




The problem. ..................


Statement of the problem.........


Importance of the study..... ....


Definitions of terms used*..........


Illus tration.......


Book design......................




Trade book....................


Elementary school................


Organization of the remainder of the thesis........... Review of the literature............

4 5

Literature on the illustration and design of textbooks......


Literature on the illustration and design of children*s books in general..............



PAGE Limitations of previous studies...

Background of the subject*......... II.





Reasons for following the interests of the* child in textbook illus­ tration and design...............


The difficulty of ascertaining childrenfs preferences in textbook illustration and design.........


Children’s preferences in book, illus­ tration and design...............


The application of children’s pre­ ferences to textbook illustration and design.......................







The educational value of textbook illus tr ation Arguments



against the use of

illustrations in textbooks....



PAGE Arguments in favor of the use of illustrations in textbooks•»•»•••» 40 General educational requirements of textbook illustration,............ 47 Story telling or instructional quality* ........................49 Authenticity and accuracy*........ 50 The illustrators* part in securing integration of textbook illustra­ tion with subject matter••••.•••.» 50 The integration of textbook design and subject matter


......... ..... 56

THE DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH STANDARDS OF ART IN TEXTBOOK ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN......... 59 Visual art standards for the ideal textbook* *......... ............ ..... 60 Design................... Appeal.....................

60 •, • 61

The application of high art standards to textbook format






Title page.........................

63 64



Page layout .................


Illustrations .................... ..

05 57

Those who share in the production of beautiful textbooks♦•*...,.•...••*•.


The illus trator................., •..


The book des igner


.... ...........

Problems pertaining to the designing of textbooks •••»»...... ..............


Educational requirements....... . *•*


Financial limitations *• ,....... ...


Public attitude.,.................


Modern trends in book illustration and design..........






Suggestions for raising existing standards in textbook illustration and design. Suggestions for artists.........


Suggestions for publishers........


Suggestions for educators•••••••••••




CHAPTER I THE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM, REVIEW' OF THE LITERATURE, AND BACKGROUND OF THE SUBJECT I.THE PROBLEM In physical appearance,' both textbooks and childrenfs trade books have made remarkable progress within the last few years, yet, undeniably, the latter has as a class arrived at the higher level of achieve­ ment,

Beggs3* made the definite statement that there was

no comparison between the quality of illustrations in children*s trade books and textbooks, and he added that the fact should nob be true, that the quality should be so much higher in the former than in the latter. Although there are a number of contributing factors which have brought about this situation, the investigator feels that textbooks could more closely approximate the art standards of current children*s trade books, and could more adequately fulfill the artistic requisites peculiar to books of their kind.

1 John Begg, flThe Form of Textbooks!t, Publishers* Weekly, 134: 373-74, August 6 , 1938.



Statement of the problem»

The purpose of

the study was to investigate elementary school textbooks from the standpoint of the illustration and design, with the objective of suggesting definite methods of raising existing standards in that field*

The study was direct­

ed along three major lines of inquiry.

This led to a

discussion of textbook illustration and design in relation to (1 ) the interests of the child, (2 ) the subject matter of the textbooks, and (3) the standards of visual art*


secondary purpose of the study was to aid the public in developing an active appreciation for well illustrated and beautifully designed textbooks to the point that there may be a widespread demand for attractiveness and artistic excellence in the physical makeup of elementary school textbooks• Importance of the s tudy*

The importance of

well designed and adequately illustrated textbooks has been quite generally underestimated*

Any number of people

who enjoy and eagerly await the Christmastime influx of beautiful childrenfs books are strangely oblivious to the matter of textbook illustration*

As a matter of fact,

physical appearance is a greater asset to a textbook than to any other type of book, because textbooks are a child*s constant companions over a long span of impressionable years.


They exert immeasurable influence on the child's aesthetic experience as well as on his intellectual development.

Often a child's mcs t vivid introduction

to the art world comes with the illustrations in ids first school books.

A very true observation was made

by Thompson 2 when he said that contact with beauty should begin at home, but for millions of children it begins at school.

For this reason, all who are in­

terested in the field of art and who desire a cultural background for the children of America should be vitally concerned about the quality of the art work that goes into the making of textbooks. II. DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED Illustration .

The word ”illustration” was

used to indicate both the process and t h e .product in­ volved in the making of pictorial matter for books• illustration” was used synonomously with the word ”picture”, although photography was not included in the discussion. Book design.

The term ftbook design” referred

to the plan or layout of a book* the format.

It included

2 Arthur Thompson, ,!John Begg: Textbook Designer”, The Publishers 1 Weekly, 133: 1473, April 2, 195£TT~*

all the physical characteristics such as size, paper, type, margins, binding, etc# Textbook#

Any book intended specifically for

educational purposes or classroom use was considered a textbook#

Such books were usually those adopted for reg­

ulars school study. Trade book#

The term ”trade bookr%

any book not designated as a textbook.


In this case it

stood chiefly for books written specifically for children# Elementary school#

For the purpose of this

study the grades of one to eight inclusive were consider­ ed to comprise the elementary school. III.


The organization of the remainder of the thesis followed quite closely the three major lines of inquiry mentioned in the statement of the problem.

On the

supposition that textbook illustration and design will meet all the important requisites if diey (1 ) be.adapted to c h i l d r e n s interests.

(2 ) be integrated with the sub­

ject matter of the book, and (5) be able to stand alone as works of art, each of these three requirements formed the basis for a chapter.


The second chapter opened with a discussion of the reason for adapting textbook illustration and design to children*s interests by suggesting improved learning and appreciation for art as probable outcomes*

The childfs

visual experience is an inseparable and important part of his total experience*

Therefore, a child*s interest is an

important motivating factor both in learning and in develop­ ing appreciations.

Ascertaining the child*s preferences

in illustration and book design is the first step toward securing this required stimulus in textbooks.

The findings

of several studies and the opinions of writers and illus­ trators were used as,sources of information*

The applica­

tion of this material to textbooks was the closing note of the chapter. Chapter three was concerned with the study of the integration of textbook illustration and design with subject matter.

It stressed the educational value and certain gen­

eral educational requirements which illustrative material of textbooks should meet.

Some of the various ways

illustrators have found helpful in meeting these requirements were explained.

To conclude the chapter, the process of

adapting other aspects of b o o k design to textual matter was considered. The third line of investigation, namely, the matter of developing high art standards in textbook illustration


and design was the subject for chapter four*

Art re­

quirements were classed under the two broad terms of "design 11 and "appeal".

The application of these re­

quirements or standards to the various sections of a textbook was the next topic considered*

It was followed

by a discussion of the placing of responsibility for fine textbook Illustration and design.

Emphasis was

placed on the duties of the illustrator and the book designer.

After a discussion of the problems Involved

In attaining high art quality in textbooks, some of the outstanding trends In the Illustration and design of elementary school textbooks were presented. In the concluding chapter, suggestions were made for raising existing standards in textbook illustration and design.

These suggestions replaced the customary

section of conclusions. IV.


Considering the meager amount of material that has been written about this subject, one may assume that the importance of well-designed textbooks has been gen­ erally unrecognized.

Such is the case.

Literature on the Illustration and design of Textbooks.

No books or studies on textbook illustration


and design were found.

The only material available was

furnished by a number of short articles in The Publishers' Weekly5 a

These articles written, for the most part, by

Arthur Thompson covered many phases of the subject and showed a fine understanding of the problems and possibil­ ities of current textbook design. Literature on the illustration and design of children*s books in general.

The only book confined

entirely to -this topic was that of Mahoney and W h i t n e y .4 With the exception of a shcr t introduction, this was giade up almost exclusively of brief biographies of a large number of outstanding illustrators of children's books. Several books on children's literature contained a chapter or so on the illustration of books for children. The two mcs t helpful books were those of We ekes 5 an^ Eat on 6 .

former gave considerable information on the

physical makeup of children's books, reviewed other studies in discussing the problem of children's interests,


See Bibliography.

4 Bertha E. Mahoney and Elinor Whitney, Comtemporary Illustrators of Children's Books. (Boston: The Bookshop for. Boys and Girls, 1^30)V I&5*pp. 5 Blanche E. Weeks, Literature and the (New York: Silver, Burdett and Company,1935), 465 6



Child pp.

Anne T. Eaton, Reading with Children, (New Viking Press, 1940), 304 pp.


and described the style of work of a number of present day illustrators of children1s books*

Eaton discussed

a number of desirable attributes for all childrens books, and emphasized the importance of good design and beauti­ ful illustrations. Four field investigations involving a large number of elementary sch©ol children gave some worthwhile material for this study, especially for the chapter concerning childrenfs interests.

The first was Bamberger's? study,

which showed that the physical makeup of a book was an important factor in children's sleetion of it.

The study

disclosed a number of interesting items concerning the illustration and design of bo oks which indicated the trend of children's preferences along those lines.

Mellinger 8

studied children's interests in pictures using a number of large drawings designed to eliminate extraneous factors. She found that

children preferred the realistic to the

conventional style of work and preferred colored pictures to those in black and white.

A study of children's pre-

7 Florence Eilau Bamberger, The Effect of the Phys ical Makeup of a Book Upon Children's Selection. {Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 19&2), 166 pp. 8 Bonnie Eugenie Mellinger, Children's Interests in Pictures, (Hew York: Teachers College, Columbia University, Bureau of Publications, 1932), 55 pp.


ferences for colors and color harmonies was made by Gale^.

The results of this investigation indicated,

contrary to general opinion, that orange was children*s favorite color and that color combination.


ange and blue was the favorite

Williams10 in her study of children*s

choices in science books found that book content and illustrations were more important factors of selection than matters of physical makeup, such as size, color of cover, etc.

Other findings were discussed in the second

chapter of the present study. Limitations of previous studies.

The chief

limitations in the previous investigations, so far as this study was concerned, was that none of them dealt directly with textbooks.

The four studies discussed

above were restricted in scope to the subject of children*s interests in book makeup, pictures, and colors.

Finally, none of them undertook a discussion

of the requisites of book illustration and design for children.

9 Ann Van Nice Gale, Children*s Preferences for Color, Color Combinations, ancT*Color Arrangements, (^Chicago: Uiiiversity of Chicago Press, 19CT3T, (50 PP*~ 10 Alice Marietta Williams, Children *s Choices in Science Books, (New York: Teachers (Joliege, ColumbiaUniversity,”"T§39), 163 pp.




The history of all juvenile hooks begins with the hfefcory of textbooks.

The earliest textbooks were

chiefly books of religious instruction, printed first in Latin and later in English.

Among these were two

books of quite unusual appearance.

One was The Horn

Book 11 originally printed about 1450, which was used extensively in Europe and eventually in America.

It was

characterized by an odd shape resembling someiirhat the traditional college hazing paddle, but with the paddle portion shortened and broadened.

This book was decor­

ated and even illustrated in spite of its small amount of usable space.

The second book of extraordinary

apjearance was the battledore book, a stiff cardboard sheet of printed paper,folded once with a flap lil© a pocketbook.

It contained alphabets, sometimes illus­

trated, syllable lists,

and prayers.1^

Although it was composed largely of English

11 Frank A. Jensen, Current Procedures in Selecting Textbooks (Philadelphia! 3T~33. LippehcotTT’ 1951) p p .2-4. 12

Loc cit.


devotional material, the New England Primer*^ by Benjamin Harris, was the first textbook written and published in America.

For one hundred and fifty years

this was the leading primer of instructions for child­ ren in America.

The book was three Inches by four inches

in size and contained eighty pages of hand-cut type*^. Its chief decorative feature was its alphabet illustrated with wood-cuts. Early in the eighteenth century, a number of children’s books were issued with illustrations.


pictures were usually crude wood-cuts, lacking perspective, delineation, and even relevance to the incident supposedly protrayed.^-5 Wood-cuts which reached a high stage of develop­ ment after the middle of the last century, were gradually replaced by other types of illustrations made possible by the advance in processes pf printing and engraving.

The Im­

proved methods of reproduction gave great impetus to the growth of the comparatively new field of children’s trade


13 Moses said that the earliest mention of it in New England was that published in the Boston Almanac of 1691 when Benjamin Harris, book seller and printer called attention to its second impression. Montrose J. Moses, Children’s Books and Reading, (New York:Mitchell Kennerly, 1907), pp. 31^32. ■■ ■ -



II ■_ I - ■



I !■< I

Jensen, loc. cit.

15 Stephen G. Rich, MThe Illustration of Children’s Books”, The Nation, 129: 589, November 20, 1929.



Yet equal stimulus in the textbook line was not


It is only within the last few years that

textbooks as a class have shown possibilities of reaching the high level of art quality already attained by a large number of children's trade books.



The first requirement for elementary school text­ books is that they meet the needs and interests of the child.

This is of no less importance in the field of

illustration and design than it is in any other phase of school books.

The illustrator must learn, as has the

educator, to go directly to the child for the source of his inspiration and methods of work.

He must know and

understand not one child, but many children.

If an

illustratorfs work is going to be a worth-while contri­ bution to children,s welfare, their education and cultural development, the illustrator must gain a psychological knowledge of the diild mind and emotions in order that his work may speak to children in a clear and effective manner. Some people believe that the sole purpose of a textbook is to inatill knowledge.

These people do not

make any effort to discover whether or not a child will find his school books attractive and appealing; further­ more, they do not think it matters.

Even educators, who

should know that the greatest aid to learning is interest,


do not always apply this principle by selecting textbooks with illustrations and design that appeal to the student. Yet, in spite of this widespread indifference to the sub­ ject, the number of people who do appreciate the importance of this side of textbooks is growing rapidly.

Shis state­

ment is confirmed by the fact that in production circles the current trend is toward school books that attract and hold the interest of the child through physical appearance as well as through the subject matter of the text. I.


Improved learning is one of the outstanding reasons for considering a child*s interests in the matter of textbook il3.ustrations and design.

A child gives

spontaneous attention to that which he likes and learns easily that which has captivated his interest.

If visual

appeal stimulates learning, this factor is of utmost im­ portance in the elementary school, where the foundations of scholarship are laid and the basic skills for education are acquired.

Of the basic skills reading is generally

conceded to be the most valuable to the child.

One of the

most important problems of the elementary school is to guide a child so that he will desire to read.


The factors that condition the ability to read are the childfs physical maturity, his mental maturity and his attitude toward reading .1

The school has little

control over the first two factors, but it can exert a strong influence on the third.

It can help children want

to read, and -this is the primary objective of the reading program in the elementary school.

Smith.2 lists this aim

first in these grades in the following manner: first grade, to arousl in children the desire to read; third grade, to cultivate interest in both recreatory and informative read­ ing; fifth grade, to develop permanent, varied, and broad interests in reading and the independent habits necessary for furthering these interests.

In view of the ultimate

objective, interest in fine reading, too much cannot be done to secure a child's interest in and attention to books.3

if a child's interest in reading can be furthered

through the physical appearance of his textbooks, this same interest will of necessity carry over into mcs t of his school subjects.

1 Lorraine Sherer, Director of Curriculum, Their First'Years in School*(Los Angeles:County Board of Education, I939T, ”pT~232T -----2. Nila B. Smith, American Reading Instruction (New York: Silver, Burdette & Co.,~ 1934), pp^232,245,254• 3 Blanche E. Weekes, Literature and the Child, (New York: Silver, Burdette and Co’., 1935), p. 3 § T ”


A second important ‘ reason for adapting textbook illustration and design to the childfs interest is that it shows him that art is a part of his daily life, not some vague, remote thing set aside exclusively for adults. It gives him positive proof that art has a place in his scheme of living, for it comes to him in a form he can understand.

It aids him in developing an appreciation

for art and the field of bookmaking.

Furthermore, his love

for beauty, engendered by attractive and appealing school books, will help him to appreciate art quality wherever it is to be found. Another factor of a secondary nature, which should not be overlooked is the preservation of school books.


has often been observed that children take better care of things they enjoy than they do of things to which they are indifferent.

Textbooks that children find attractive are

likely to be cherished, not mistreated.

Such books will

inspire children to keep all books in good condition and will help them gain respect for fine bookmaking. II. THE DIFFICULTY OF ASCERTAINING CHILDREN’S PREFERENCES IN TEXTBOOK ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN If the importance of adapting textbook illustration i

and design to children’s interests has been sufficiently



the next step is to discover what those

interests are.

This undertaking is made particularly

difficult by the lack . cit., p. 89.


Among the qualities that have an especial appeal for children is action.

Gentry45 said that


children like familiar subjects done in action best of all. When less popular subject matter is used, such as decorative treatment for older, meditative children, it should be live­ ly decorative.

According to B r o e k ^ ,

children want life in

their pictures more than anything else.

She specified too,

that things must live and move with an actual living and moving, snd not the static posing of pretended action which exists in so many pictures.

Action must be vigorous and

convincing. Humor is another important picture element.


remarked that humor was a positive factor in the choice of illustrations for children in primary and intermediate grades. This is interesting in light of the low rank humor assumed in the studies made relative to childrenfs reading interests. Wil l i a m s ^ S reported,too,that humor in the illustrations made

a more noticeable appeal than humor in the text.


Gentry, og., cit,,. p/% 110.


Brock, op. cit., p. 65.


Weekes, 0£* cit♦, p. 131.


Alice Williams, op. cit., p. 95.

All children

33 enjoy humorous pictures, but their idea of what is funny is often quite different from the adults1


said that children1s humor is an obvious sort of humor, rather of the funny pap er variety*

W i l l i a m s ^ l found that

incongruous things were regarded as funny, such as animals of unusual shape or proportions and animals doing unusual things.

Other studies are needed todetermine just what

things children will find humorous. Authentic characterization is a very necessary feature

of illustrations.

Pitz^S said that knowledge

of and insight into the character of human beings are qualities that never go out of fashion in illustration. This is just as true for children's books as for books for adults.

L a w s o n ^ felt the truth of this and summed

up the whole matter of story-telling qualities #ien he said that artists must give the child the “real” thing, real character, real adventure, real poetry, romance, humor, and beauty, for children know what they want, and,


Alice Williams, oj>. cit., p. 95.


Brock, loc. cit.


Alice Willians, loc. cit.

52 Henry C. Pitz, “Sidelights on Book Illustration”, American Artist, September, 194*0, p. 24. 53 Robert Lawson, “Make Me a Child Again”, op . cit., pp. 454-55.


Lawson continued, theyf11 get it, if not in children1s hooks, in some place less satisfactory to the parents# Maturity#

In the attempt to please a child with

the illustrations of his books, many people have been anxious to understand the cbild*s outlook on life. Haze It on^4 in speaking of illustrations,

said that in no

part of the work of book selection is there need for more, careful effort to see with the eyes of the child and to avoid adult prejudice.

Eaton§5 stated that the artists1

imagination must be that of the child; he cannot, in a book for a little child, draw with his eyes on an adult audience at the same time.

Suba56 presented another idea

which map or may not be irreconcilable to the above view. She said that maturity was a quality common to all good illustrations.

The child deserves a dignity of treatment

and anyone who concedes him less, said Suba, reveals his own lack of understanding.

L a w s o n ^ confirmed this opinion

54 Alice I. Hazelton, Reading Interests of Children, (New York: School of LiFraryService, Columbia University, 1937), p. 21. 55

Eaton, loc• c i t .

56 Susanne Suba, ,fBook Clinic Selections for August1', The Publishers* Weekly. 140:34 , August 2, 1941. 57 Robert Lawson, "The Caldecott Medal Acceptance", The H orn Book, 17: 275, July - August, 1941.


when he remarked that he had never seen in the work of any of the illustrators whom children have loved for genera­ tions the slightest indication that they were catering to limited tastes or limited understandings.

A favorite theme

with Lawson is that children are much less limited in their tastes and understanding than are adults, for children do not have stupid, second-hand notions of what they "ought" to like, or h o w they ought to think.

He said that the

moment any one's ?/ork looks as though it were obviously done for children it becomes "talking down" to children. He suggested that trying to "rise" to the levels demanded by the clear ideals of children is

a far greater task and

a much more satisfying accomplishment than meeting the "muddle-headed" demands of their e l d e r s . From the fore­ going statements one may draw the conclusion that children demand maturity of presentation, a maturity that is cogni­ zant bf the child's viewpoint, involving sincerity and strength, and, in short, all the best that an artist has to give. IV.


58 p. 448.


"Make Me a Child Again", op. cit.,


A large majority of the information presented in the preceding pages concerned children’s preferences for phys ical features found in trade hooks, hut one may assume that children like the

same things in textbooks that they

like in trade books. The knowledge of what children like in books is helpful, first, in understanding children’s reactions to the various phases of book-making in order to utilize these preferences in stimulating learning and aesthetic apprecia­ tion, and second, in discovering which warthwhile items are neglected by children so that in textbooks these items may be presented in a more effective manner.

Children’s known

interests in book illustration and design should be incor­ porated in textbooks in so far as it is possible to adapt them to the specific purposes of the b o o k and to die basic aims of the modern reading program. good point when she

S m i t h ^ brought out a

said that instead of relying too ex­

tensively upon children’s interests for guidance, one should provide more variety and especially strive to cultivate interests in desirable lines where interest is lacking.


was referring to reading interests, but the statement seems to be applicable to the subject at hand.

The ultimate goal

of textbook illustration and design should not be the

59 Nila B. Smith, American Reading Instruction,(New York: Silver, Burdette and Company, X934T, p. 271.


satisfaction of existing tastes of school children, rather, it should seek the development of a higher level of aesthetic appreciation*



THE INTEGRATION OF TEXTBOOK ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN WITH SUBJECT MATTER I. THE EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF TEXTBOOK ILLUSTRATION Properly drawn and carefully selected illustrations are very important educative devices, but one must be firm­ ly convinced that illustrations in textbooks are a notable aid to learning before he can feel much concern over their quality*

Since illustrated textbooks are the rule rather

than the exception, the majority of people are so accustomed to their use that they do not question their value.


theless, there are a few people, who having some doubt about the matter have tried to find actual proof, either for or against the educational importance of illustrations In textbooks*

Their evidence along with other general criti­

cism appears below*

It is followed by the investigatorfs

interpretation of the evidence, plus additional material favorable to the subject* ■Arguments against the use of illustrations in textbooks *

A recent argument against the use of pictures

in primary grade textbooks is that pictures actually re­ tard a childfs progress in learning to read.

It has been


remarked that very young children "read" the illustra­ tions in picture-books, and aided by their ability to memorize the often repeated stories, they are able to reproduce these stories almost word for word, as given in the text.

Some children try these methods in their

first years of school.

When children rely on pictures

for gaining information normally gained through words, it is customary for adults to condemn pictures in books as hindrances to learning. One might say that the above complaint implied that children see too much in pictures, but Miller1 findings indicate that they do not see enough.


conducted an experiment with third grade children in an effort to find out how much information in pictures actually registered in the childrenfs minds.

He found

that the children reported seeing only about thirty percent of the total number of items within the pictures, and it was apparent that these items were seen as isolated parts rather than in the proper relation to the whole.

Worse, yet, the mce t important items often es­

caped the children completely.

On the basis of this

1 William A. Miller, "What Children See in Pictures", The Elementary School Journal, 39: 288, December, 19387


study it could be said that since children grasp so little of a picture*® content, illustrations become a waste of valuable textbook space. Another study which might indicate that illus­ trations waste textbook space was Millerfs^ experiment made with the purpose of discovering whether or not pictures actually aided in the understanding of material to be read.

He found that when first, second, and third

grade children used a series of primary readers, half of which had their pictures hidden under pasted paper, those children who read without the aid of illustrations understood what they read as well as those who read from books with exposed pictures.

He remarked that

pictures may not be needed to teach children to read. Without doubt, these arguments induce thought and demand consideration.

Yet these arguments do not

represent decisive or irrefutable conclusions. Arguments in favor of the use of illustrations in textbooks ♦

The very fact that children "read11

illustrations before they read the printed word is ample evidence that meaningful illustrations used in

2 William A. Miller, "Reading with and without Pictures". The Elementary School Journal, 38: 682, May, 1938.


the proper learning situation can add a great deal of desirable information.

With adequate instructions,

pictures help rather than hinder the reading process.3 Although Miller discovered that children saw relatively few of the items present in pictures, this does not necessarily condemn their use in textbooks* There may be several reasons for Millerfs having re­ ceived the results he did.

In the first place, the

pictures may not have been suited to the age level of the informational background of the children*


they may not have been attractive enough to capture and hold the childrenfs interest*

Thirdly, the children

may not have been trained in the use of pictures and may not have known what to look for*

The first two

suppositions are merely hypothetical, but the third very likely has some foundation in fact, for Miller^, himself suggested that if pictures are to be an aid to the understanding of the printed material which they accompany, teachers will need to direct the at­ tention of children to important items in pictures and will need to develop the interpretation of these items*

3 Several elementary school teachers have verified this statement. 4 loc* cit.


MWhat Children See in Pictures11,


Sometimes an experiment proves something other than it was supposed to prove.

Much depends upon the

way in which the results are interpreted.


it is possible that Miller*s investigation of children*s reading with and without the aid of pictures was actually only a test of the informational content of the pictures in the particular series of readers used rather than a measurement of the educational possibilities of elementary school textbook illustrations.

He, himself, admitted that

his test did not measure the pictures* influence on inter­ est, enjoyment,or art appreciation.5 A test designed to measure the information ^hich could be derived only from pictures in the subject of social study was described by Goodykoontz5 .

This test

does not give as thorough or as conclusive evidence as is needed to prove the value of illustrative material, but at least the results are positive rather than nega­ tive,

Pictures were found to add about fifteen percent

to the user*s knowledge of the subject.

This percentage

might have been much higher with the use of other pic-


Miller, f,Heading with and without Pictures1*,

loc, cit. 6 Test given by Alfred S. Lewerenz, reported by Bess Goodykoontz, **The Relation of Pictures to Reading Comprehension**, The Elementary English Review, 13:127, April, 1936.


tures because pictures vary greatly in educational content.

The aufchur of this above mentioned investi­

gation believed the value of pictures in teaching was two-fold; first, they provide background for the text, and second, they add information which the text alone cannot provide* If the illustrations in elementary school text­ books are not found to be a definite aid to learning, this fact may be attributed to any one of a number of reasons*

Many illustrations have been careiess3y selected,

and are quite lacking in the qualities that foster under­ standing/

Frequently this is less the fault of the

illustrations than of the written material*

At times

the latter is so familiar that there are no new concepts for pictures to clear up* primary readers*

This happens frequently in

Another reason for illustrations appear- ■

ing ineffectual is that a page may carry several distinct ideas while the illustration emphasizes only a small part of what the text has given.

Along with this handicap, is

the worse one of pictures being focussed on the easy rather than the difficult parts of the text.*^

An im­

portant reason why illustrations lack teaching force is

‘ 7 William A. Miller, ,fThe Picture Crutch in Heading”, The Elementary English Review, 14:264, November, 1937•

44 simply that they, the Illustrations, are not*used, either by the teachers or by the students.


many illustrations lose their educational value because the writer and illustrator do not agree*

This unfortun­

ate situation, aside from being most confusing to the child, violates the first and foremost requirement of book illustration. The educational values of good textbook illustration are many.

They include, not only the

definitely instructional aids, but the intangible, aesthetic qualities which are also, in a sense, educa­ tional*

For the purpose of this chapter, discussion

was confined to the former, to the things which are concretely helpful to the teaching of academic subjects. Well chosen illustrations in textbooks provide a medium of instruction just as effective as the printed word.

Since children differ in their abilities and

capacities, teachers must find ways to meet these in­ dividual differences.

For some children, pictures are

more stimulating than words, and are much more real and meaningful.

For such children, pictures are not a luxury,

but a necessity.

All children profit by variety of pre­

sentation in their school work.

Pictures afford repeti­

tion without monotony, and thus serve to fix information in the childrens minds.

Illustrations in textbooks

45 should be recognized as another and exceedingly valuable avenue of approach, an approach which should be stressed in elementary school teaching• Illustrations in textbooks are an economy^ they actually conserve space/

Long paragraphs of description

and explanatory material can often be eliminated through the substitution of a clear, forceful illustration* o Lawson,0 who has illustrated textbooks as well as trade books, must have had something of this in mind when he said that the infinite detail which i t is possible to put in a drawing to enhance the scene would, all too often, if written, hopelessly retard the action and drama of the narrative*

Although Lawson was speaking of fiction, yet

illustrations as a space-saving device can be equally valuable with non-narrative material* Pictures are a direct informational source for the student*

Lewerenzfs 9


which has been mentioned

proved that pictures do add to the studentfs

knowledge of the subject.

First, pictures are often the

means of clarifying new or difficult concepts.

Even though

8 Robert Lawson, ”Lo, the Poor Illustrator”, The Publishers1 Weekly, 128: 2091-94, December 7, 1935* 9

Goodykoontz, loc* cit*

46 detailed explanations are given in a text, a picture is frequently needed to make sure that the student grasps the full import of the subject*

For example, a piece of

machinery may be described at length without a student being able to visualize what it looks like, but insert a clear drawing or photograph, and immediately the student is given a concrete conception of the machinefs appearance* No amount of printed matter could produce like results* Imagine a geography book without pictures/

Another type

of information contributed by illustrations is background and atmosphere*

Lawson*^ ga£(i that the aim of the

illustrator was not merely to do in pictures what the author has already done in words, but to go on and carry out in a pictorial and decorative form the spirit and atmosphere the author can really only suggest*

Any number of instances

could be cited to show that this phase of the illustratorsf work has added immensely to the students1 store of histor­ ical data and has caught the students1 interest through the intriguing detail and fasidnating content of well selected pictures•


Lawson, loc* cit *

47 II.


The major educational requirements that textbook illustration must meet Is perfect agreement or Integration with the printed text.

Betts H

said that it should unite

with the text both mechanically and meanfully.

If book

illustration lived up to its name and all that its name implies, it would be high in the scale of educational perfection.

The word “illustration" is defined in the

dictionary as “pictorial elucidation and decoration".


Is the first part of the definition that demands attention in this chapter.

“Elucidation”, which means “to make clear”,

obviously refers to the clarification of the text, for such is the purpose of book illustrations.

This presupposes a

close association of pictures and words, a requisite for the illustration of any book, but for textbooks, a quality that assumes the greatest degree of importance. Harmony between pictures and words is essential for accurate instruction; the potential educational values of textbook illustration cannot be realized unless this harmony exists.

The**© is nothing so disconcerting to the

student as the finding of pictures and words in his school

11 Emmett Albert Betts, “The Prevention and Correction of Reading Difficulties. ' (Evanston',iLlinois: Row, Peterson andr Company,"" 19365, p. 186.


books which are at variance with each other.

It prevents

the establishment of confidence in his mind in regard to specific data.

It interrupts the normal and highly de­

sirable rapport between the student and the book content. A blatant e&rror in the context of a picture is comparable to a discordant note in a musical concert.

In short, such

mistakes defeat the purpose of the textbooks. Perfect integration of illustrations with the text is the goal of intelligent book makers and the quest of alert educators.

Jordon-*-2 in describing the ideal children's

book, said that she asked that illustrations fit the text, and moreover, that they accord so completely with the temper and atmosphere that they are a part of the very structure of the book.-*'-r>

D o b b s a n

editor of children's books, felt

so strongly that pictures must go f!hand in hand” with the text that she declared that illustrations by an artist other than the author are always a problem.

Unfortunately this

problem is ever present in the making of textbooks, for author-artists in this field are rare indeed.

The situation

IS Alice M. Jordon, ftThe Ideal Book from the Stand­ point of the Children's Librarian”, Children's Library Year­ book, 3 s10, (Chicago: American Library As soc’i at Ion,' 193T) • 13 Hose Dobbs, wTen Years of Publishing Children’s Books”, The Horn Book, 14:318, September, October, 1938.


demands the wholehearted attention of artists, and the maintenance of definite, high standards ^n the part of editors and publishers*

Cooperation is, in this case,

the key to harmony* The integration of pictures and printed material is the "backbone" or prerequisite for other educational requirements, which are actually no mare than attributes of the all-important quality of integration; they repre­ sent different phases ©>f one and the same thing* Story telling or instructional quality.

The term

"story telling", is not sufficient to describe the first of these attribute’s; neither is the term instructional.


combination of the two might mop e adequately cover the idea that illustrations should not only tell a story, but, at the s ame time, they should impart worthwhile information* It must be understood that the term "story telling" is not, in this instance, used exclusively in the literary sense. Pictures which are meaningful and educationally stimulat­ ing to the student or, in other words, pictures which describe, explain, or in anyfray make clear the ideas ex­ pressed in the text may be said to have this quality. Needless to s ay, if the text tells one story and the pic­ tures tell another, the educational value of the pictures


is nil.

But perfect agreement between the illustrations

and the text greatly facilitate the student’s assimila­ tion of the material to be learned.

Then the illustra­

tions trul^felucidate the text, and thus they become an additional medium of instruction. Authenticity and accuracy.

Authenticity and

accuracy in illustrations are naturally dependent upon the integration of pictures and subject matter.

If drawings

are to be authentic and accurate adcording to a standard, that standard must be the text which they illustrate. Pictures should illuminate subject matter presentations and aid the pupil to develop basic understandings• W e a v e r ^ said that the more definitely the pictures re­ late to and focus upon the basic subject matter and the more carefully they show matters of detail, valuable they become educationally.

the mere

Accuracy is the

keynote of a textbook’s printed content;

it should also

be the keynote of a textbook’s illustrations. III.


14 "Textbook Exhibit at the Lakeside Press," The Publishers Weekly, 139: 1035, Mardh 1, 1941.

51 Since artists are largely responsible for inte­ grating the illustrations with the text, they must be led to understand its importance.

They must recognize that

with textbooks, their job depends considerably on their ability to illustrate accurately and on their ability to inspire confidence in the accuracy of their work, Seredy?-6 a prominent illustrator of children's books, said that working for educational editors was real training. One of them told her, "You can be funny in tradebooks, you can be artistic in tradebooks, but in school books you have to be correct.” In recent years, the vast strides made by the camera has been looked upon as a threat to the place now occupied by textbook illustrators.

Thompson-1-6*said that

there is something convincing about a photograph, and in a factual presentation such as geography, that the reader never feels quite sure that a drawing is giving him an accurate picture of the subject. work is usually subjective;

He said that an artist's

he is apt to be idealistic;

sometimes he is ignorant or incompetent; and occasionally

15 'Kate Seredy, "Newberry Medal Acceptance”, The Horn Book, 14: 226-29, July-August, 1958. 16 Arthur Thorny on, "Current Textbooks: Problems of Illustration", The Publishers' Weekly, 132: 2158-60, December 4, 1937.


he is a downright liar*

These are strong words, but an

unbiased perusal of an unseleeted group of textbooks will convince the average person that Thompson is right* On the other hand, Lehmann-Haupt 1*7 said that one can compare artists 1work m'ith photographs for documentary type illustrations, often to the disadvantage cf the latter*

He s a!id that photography cannot replace the

artist-illustrator and that there are no indications that, it etref will, no matter how brilliant the development of photography may be.

The first part of this statement

implies that the artist*s work was selected for its ex­ cellence, and when really good w r k is compared to photo­ graphs, there is no danger of its* being eclipsed by the camera*

But all too frequently, really good illustrations

are not to be found between the covers of a textbook, and there are far too many illustrations that are inadequate and inaccurate.

It' would be well for the average illus­

trator of textbooks to make every effort tobring his work up to the standard that perfect integration of pictures and text demands • It is extremely difficult for an artist to in­ terpret another person*s ideas, but that is what an illustrator is expected to do*

Whenever it is possible

to do so, an illustrator should collaborate with the author*

17 Hellmut, Lehmann-Haupt, tfPhotography for Book Illustration”, The Sixth Annual Advertising and Publishing Yearbook* (Hew Y o r E T C o l t o n Press Inc.', 194077 P* 118*

53 TiJhen the two people ape able to plan and discuss the illustration in relation -to the text, there is a far better opportunity for attaining an Integrated book. The most important prerequisite for the integration of pictures and printed text is the illustratorfs under­ standing of children and child psychology.

The illustrator

must know what children like and how they react to various situations before he can be certain that his illustrations convey to children the intended meaning.

This knowledge

of children can be gained by cultivating their friendship whenever an opportunity is presented, by working with child­ ren at playgrounds, and church activities, and by reading and studying child psychology and related subjects dealing with modern school practices and education in general. A background of Information covering a wide range of subjects is needed by an illustrator of textbooks who is expected to be familiar with a great variety of people, places, and things.

A well rounded education augmented' ■i

by travel and selected reading are important contributing factors to this informational background.

But in addition

to these, an artist finds another fine source of knowledge in a cultivated power of observation.

An Illustrator

should train himself to notice everything, to pick out salient features, and to catch little details that escape the average person.

He should be constantly on the rrlook


out1* for material to incorporate in his dra?/ings, and when he finds items of real interest and value, he s hould study them until a mental image is formed that can he retained fora

reasonable length of time.

"The life of any illus­

trator ", said Lawson, "is an endless process of observing and stowing away in some curious rag-bag part of his mind, all the thousands of ill-assorted facts and impressions that he will sometime be called upon to use".***®

Not only

should the illustrator be constantly alert to find material he can store in his mind, but whenever it is at all possible, he should make a physical record of it in order to preserve it for future use.

An artist usually wastes no time in

acquiring the habit of sketching.

He is seldom to be found

without the equipment for making small, rapid drawings which may record a facial expression, a wrinkle in a coat, a shadow on a bowl, or any of the miriad of details that an observant artist sees during all his working hours. These sketches, made with pencil, conte, crayon, pastel,


even paint, are valuable aids to the artist when he begins the actual plan for a picture.

They form a vital step in

the process of constructing an accurate and authentic illustration for a textbook. A successful illustrator must often employ a


Lawson, loc. ci t .

55 helper to do his research work, but a beginner cannot allow himself this luxury*

He must do his own research

and make provision for taking care of the material* Many an illustrator has found that he cannot always depend upon his memory, and he certainly cannot make^ise of mis­ placed sketches.

In some instances, the matter actually

calls for further research, but often the artist has tbe material that he needs and is not able to remember where it was put.

Since an artist is expected to know inhere to

locate quickly a tremendous amount of data covering almost any sphject from the anatomy of man and beast to the architecture of foreign countries, it is essential that such material be made available for immediate use.


of the best solutions to the problem is the acquisition of a classified, alphabetized file .for the illustratorfs reference material.

It should have ample space for an

expanding collection of newspaper and magazine clippings, notes, and sketches.

The file may be one of the commercial

varieties of metal or wood, or it may be a homemade con­ traption of boxes and scrap wood.

Often an old piece of

furniture such as a chest or a wardrobe may be cleverly and practically converted to meet the illustratorfs pur­ pose*

Regardless of the type of container selected, the

artist will find that a properly filed collection of use­ ful information will not only serve as a great time-saver,

56 but will definitely aid him to be accurate in his work* IV. THE INTEGRATION OF TEXTBOOK DESIGN AND SUBJECT MATTER In considering the matter of the integration of the physical factors of a textbook with the printed material, it is obvious that the illustrations are the most Important of these factors*

Consequently, it is more

customary to demand that illustrations fit the text than it is to insist upon harmony between other phases of book makeup and subject matter*

It is unfortunate that these

other items should be neglected, for unity is achieved through the coordination of these items with the text* Thompson-^ said that atmosphere appropriate to the story Itself Is good design, good because It provides a real accompaniment to the text, not just incidental music.


the same reason, atmosphere appropriate to the text is educationally valuable. Aside from the illustrations, the cover or binding, the end sheets, and the title page are the portions of a book most easily adapted to the subject matter.

The cover

gives a student the first suggestion as to the type of book he

is going to read.

of the b o o k ’s content.

It should be a definite reflection

A plain blue grey cover, for instance,

does not suggest South America or Mexico in either color or

19 Arthur Thompson, nCurrent Textbook Design", The Publishers’ Weekly, 140:46, July 5, 1941.

57 character*

An often repeated formula in cover designs

is not desirable for school books, either*


said that children's books should not all l^pok alike ’ and they s^hould not look dull. by interesting subject matter,

If1 they are inspired they will avoid this

fault* The end sheets are the pages adjacent to the book cover*

When a book is opened either in the normal

way or from the back, the double spread that is exposed is callediah endvsheet. This space offers a fine opportunity for decoration to contribute to atmosphere or mood, yet usually this space is left blank.

Aside from the small

amount of expense involved, the chief reason for this waste of space is probably the fact that when the book is rebound, half of the design would be lost.

If the

enc^feheets were carefully planned, this loss would not need to spoil the general effect. The title page is easily adapted to decoration because its small amount of printed material leaves quite a bit of free space.

Also the large type is easily

worked into a page layout incorporating print and pictopiall matter*

This being the first page of the book makes

it a fine place to begin stimulating the student’s

20 Anne Carroll Moore, Hew Roads to Childhood* (Hew York: George H* Doran Co., 192o), p. £5.


interest in the hook nontent by the judicious use of decoration that expresses the mood or subject of the book. A major requirement for

attractive textbooks is

met by the integration of all the various physical aspects of the book with subject matter.

This require­

ment is "unity”, one of the most important of art prin­ ciples.

Ward^l expressed the idea with h h


that the vital relationship between word and image is the essence of great illustration and when incorporated in significant subject matter makes the book a major art form.

■ 21 'Lynd Ward, ”A Note on James Daughterty”, The Horn Book, 16:243, July - August, 1940.



THE DEVELOPMENT OP HIGH STANDARDS CP ART IN TEXTBOOK ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN The two preceding chapters stressed that textbook illustration and design should follow childrenfs prefer­ ences, in so far as it is practical, and that they should accord perfectly with the subject matter of the book. The satisfaction of these two requirements is preliminary to the third requirement, namely, the attainment of a high level of art quality*

Beauty in textbook illustration

and design provides a cultural stimulus that is extremely valuable to the child in troubled times

such as these.

With the many serious and disturbing matters that demand attention today it is easy to overlook the importance of art to the elementary school child.

In many places where

no provisions have been made for acquainting the students with either the appreciation for or the application of art principles, school books may present almost the .only source of visual art.

The ^feeling” of a good book, a well p Tint­

ed and well illustrated book, will grow within the child*s range of appreciation^- and will serve to introduce him to

1 Margaret Evans^i ’’The Printing of Children*s Books*1, The Horn Book, 11: 216, July - August, 1935.

60 the art world.

Suba2, in speaking of the art of bookmak-

ing, said that Americans should be keenly aware of cultural defenses as well as physical defenses and should carry on in this country the cultures which have added to the knowledge 5f the past and iftoich are at present stagnated in the countries of their origin. of our cultural defenses,

If textbooks are to be a part they should exemplify the very

highest achievement in the art field as well as in the educational field. I.

VISUAL ART STANDARDS FOR THE IDEAL TEXTBOOK Visual art Standards for textbooks should be

similar to those for any art endeavor.

A textbook should

incorporate all the factors that are commonly associated with any:£Lne work of art.

All these factors may be

summed up under two broad terms, namely, ^design” and wappealn. Design.

Design is both the process and the re­

sult of combining the art elements, line, color, and dark and light, in a harmonious fashion.

Every portion of a

textbook1s format, binding, page layout, illustrations,

2 Susanne Suba, ,fBook Clinic Selections for August11,*The Publishers* Weekly, 140: 332, 334, 336 -«37, August 2, 1 9 4 ’

61 etc., should embody good design*

Throughout the entire

book there should be a feeling of unity, with each part contributing its share to a perfect whole* Appea l .

Appeal is the combination of thcB e

qualities which reveal the essence of true art*

It is

the magnetic power that attracts and holds the attention and that calls forth feelings of pleasure and appreciation* The ideal textbook must be outwardly attractive to draw the child to a closer examination of its contents*3

it must

also have a certain amount of adult appeal because text­ books are selected by adults*

The two need not be in­

compatible, for art is not bound by age brackets*


is a universality of appeal in the finest art which makes possible the appreciation of both the child and the adult. Some may believe that textbooks are too much limited by function and subject matter to display very much individuality and appeal.

That should not be true.

There is no reason why all illustrations in textbooks, for example, should be strictly objective and impersonal* Many occasions arise which ]© rmit the illustrator to give free play to his imagination and personality and yet not


Alice M. Jordon, nThe Ideal Book from the Standpoint of the Childrenfs Librarian**, Children^ Library Yearbook, 3: 4-8, (Chicago: American Library Association, T93lT*

62 disturb the educational value of the picture.

It is the

artist*s personal interpretation in terms of an individ­ ual technique which h a s b rought fame to illustrators in the commercial field.

It is the lack of this very quality

that is responsible for muchr of the dull, indifferent work, lacking in spirit and vitality, that is seen so often in elementary school textbooks.

And it is probably the example

set by childrenfs commercial books that is responsible for the change for the better seen in a steadily increasing number of textbooks. II. THE APPLICATION OF HIGH STANDARDS OF ART TO TEXTBOOK FORMAT The qualities of design and appeal that have been mentioned in a somewhat general way must be incorporated in rathe r specific ways to the various components of the textbook.

If the sum total of these components, the

format, is to reflect the highest level of artistic development, close attention must be paid to each of its parts• Binding.. Bindings for textbooks must be durable, made of cloth or of very strong composition material. They should be suitable to their purpose and to the content of the book. designed.

They should be attractive, colorful,

and well

Attention should be given to proportions and

63 lettering.

Hand lettering is recommended because type

is too inflexible to meet the space requirements,4 The display matter should begin with the book*s cover, for that is the part that meets the eye first. Publishers are aware of the sales value of beautiful bindings so that today they are the rule rather than the exception.

Haines5 said that variety and individ­

uality in both color and design have replaced the digni­ fied but monotonous Victorian cloth bindings in solid, somber browns, greens, blacks, and reds.

In fact, this

is the phase of book design that has witnessed the most widespread trend of improvement.

Today many a bright

and beautiful cover conceals a distinctly inferior arrangement within. Type.

The typography of a child*s book is very

important, for when the page looks forbidding, children do not even give it a t r i a l S i n c e

a textbook must be

read and reread, the first requirement is legibility,

4 Arthur Thompson, “John Begg: Textbook Designer”, The Publishers* Weekly, 133: 1471-73, April 2, 1938. 5 Helen E. Haines, Living with Books, (Hew York: Morningside Heights, Columbia University Press, 1935), p. 165. 6

Jordon, Loc.cit.

64 The relative legibility of one type face as against another is hard to establish, but certain features that aid legibility should be insisted upon*

These are open

counters, medium color, high ascenders, compact fitting, absence of striking peculiarities, and ehough liveliness in the drawing of the letter to avoid monotony.*^

The type

should be simple and appropriate and not so different that it makes the child conscious of the process of ^reading* This may seem to be a technical rather than an artistic problem*

Actually it is both*

A type face should be

selected for its beauty and its harmony with the illustra­ tions as well as for its legibility* . Type may be used to achieve artistic effects and to contribute to the character and atmosphere of the book* Title Page *

The title page should be one of the

high spots of the book*

It is conspicuous because it

carries large type surrounded by a great deal of space. The majority of textbook title pages are dull and dis­ tinctly feeble.

Thompson® said that there have been more

poor title pages in primary texts than anywhere else in

7 Arthur Thompson, "Current Textbook' Design: Some Matters of Detail", The Publishers1 Weekly, 137: 1754-55, May 4, 1940. 8 Arthur Thompson, "Textbook Deglgn: The Forgotten Title Page", The Publishers * Weekly, 140:832, September 6, 1941.

the world.

Lawson9 said that title pages in children's

books were forbidding and that the jr esent trend is to make them look like a rare collectors item with "perfect, chaste typography, perfect taste, perfect spacing-perfectly deadly"•

He continued with the ironical comment that these

title pages have all the warmth and interest for children of a nice, new memorial stone in Willowbrook Cemetery* Title pages should have a personality that will interest a prospective student*

They should be appropriate to the

book, well lettered, and spirited*

As T h o m p s o n ^ stated,

the format of a modern primary book is bold, colorful, and informal,

and unless the title page has the same qualities

it is* out of place* Page layout*

The page consists of the content,

printed text, illustrations, and the frame or margins*

and other decorative features,

The proportion of these areas

is extremely important to the appearance of the page* According to William Morris, the true page is the double page.

He said that the inner margin should be one half

the width of the outter margin so that the amount of free space displayed in the center of the open book would balance

9 Robert Lawson, "The Caldecott Medal Acceptance", The Horn Book, 17: 281, July - August, 1941* 10

Thompson, op* cit., p* 833.

66 with these outter m a r g i n s . ^

He spoke of a number of

rules which might have been easy to follow a few years ago but which would not always be applicable to the modern type layout, which is characterized by decorative borders, vignettes, and illustrations extending to the very edges of the page.

For such innovations, good taste

and knowledge of design are the only possible guides. Waughl^ said that extravagant decoration on a manyttimes repeated text page is more wearying than barrenness, but a touch of elaboration prevents monotony.

There is some

discussion as to whether decorated margins should be used in children’s books.

Weekes-^ said that when they break

into the body of the print they are definitely undesirable. She said that the left margin should be straight and un­ broken except for paragraph indentations, for breaks inter­ fere with the return sweep of the eye from one line to the next. The placing of illustrations is an important problem. If they are to serve their purpose they should be placed as


Haines, op. cit., pp. 162-163.

12 Dorothy Waugh, "Design in Children’s Books, The Horn Book, 16: 118, March-April, 1940. 13 Blanche E. Weekes, Literature and the Child, (Hew York: Silver, Burdette, and Company, 1935), p. 37.

67 near as possible to the word picture or the idea which they interpret, but this cannot always be done without interfering with the arrangement of the printed p a g e . ^ By all means, the picture should not be placed at random, possibly several pages distance from the textual descrip­ tion*

Full page illustrations are most desirable and

easiest to accommodate.

They should occupy the right or

uneven numbered page of the book.

Two full page illus­

trations should never face each other.

Double spread of

one picture may be used if allowance is made for the center fbld.

If a full page illustration is not de­

sired the upper portion is said to be the best place for it, leaving the lower portion for printed material. Other arrangements may be satisfactory if proportions are carefully planned and good balance is achieved. Illustrations.

While illustrations have frequent­

ly been considered, in this paper, apart from other phases of book design, their proper place is with these other factors.

They, also, should be a manifestation of the

spirit of the book and should be in harmony-with the other physical aspects.

They should be designed for the express

purpose of going between the covers of a book.


Weekes, op. cit., p. 38.


Loc. cit.


68 they should he large, but they should not look better at a distance than they do at close range.

For unity, they

should be printed on the same paper as the text.*^ Today, illustrations are expressed in practically every medium, oils, water color, pastel, crayon, conte, pencil, pen and ink, lithograph, wood blocks, and lead blocks, all reproduced by many fine new processes.

1 *7


Regardless of the

medium used, the illustrations should be carefully printed so that they reveal definite darks and lights, clarity of line, and purity of color.

They should represent the

h3g h e s t .degree of art quality in order to be worthy of decorating a book intended for children. The entire format of a textbook should emphasize simple, definite effects, enriched by fine color and spirited creativeness.

It should avoid sentimentality,

haziness, dullness, over-elaboration, and above all, IP ugliness in all forms. ° III.


16 Helen Gentry, “Childrens1 Books“, The Sixth Annual Advertising and Publishing Production Yearbook^ T¥ew York’: Colton Pres s , Inc., 1940 )7 p • 111 * 17 Bertha E. Mahoney and Elinor Whitney, Contemporary Illustrators of Childrenrs Books, (Boston: The Bookshop for Boys and Girls, 193(5), pT~* 18 Carl Purington Rollins, “Printing for Children1*, The Saturday Review of Literature, May 18, 1929, p. 1032.

69 The production of a beautiful textbook is a cooperative project, depending upon the proper synthesis of contributions from a number of sources*

If one were

to analyze these contributions, one might begin with the work of the illustrator and that of the book designer, for this work must clearly reflects art quality or the lack of it.

But if one were to investigate further, he

would have to give attention to the influence wielded by the publisher and many members of his production staff. The publisher^ the editor, and sometimes the art director function in a supervisory capacity.

Their influence is

of inestimable importance due to their power of selecting and discharging artists, of accepting and rejecting illustrative material, and of encouraging or discouraging the use of new ideas, methods, and techniques.

The pro­

duction staff is responsible for the final execution or multiple reproduction of the art features as well as the printed text of the book.

The engravers, photographers,

lithographers, printers, typographers, etc. must be technically competent in the manipulation of their tools and machinery in order to make the final textbook product beautiful and effective.

As V a l e n t i ^ said, designing

19 Angelo Valenti, "Five Years of Books Made for Children", The Publishers * Weekly, 14-0: 1762, November 1, 194TV"

70 alone does not play an important part in the making of hooks.

He said that the knowledge and mastery of machinery

are also important and the understanding of modern methods of reproduction, machine type composition, high speed print­ ing processes, and machine made materials go a long way to­ ward the perfection of a well made hook. A detailed discussion of the duties of the various technicians was not practical for the purpose of this paper, hut a brief statement of the functions and qualifications of the illustrator and of the hook designer was desirable due to the fact that the work of these two is most definite­ ly representative of the art field and thus becomes an integral part of the subject under consideration. The illustrator.

The illustrator is responsible

for the design and preparation for reproduction of all the pictorial matter in the book.

In other words, he makes

the illustrations for the pas ages in the text Itxhat require visual explanation or description.

Basically, this is his

task, but as an artist much more than this should be ex­ pected.

Gossop^0 said it is for the artist to recapture

the gift of vision for us,

and the illustrator:

of books

has a fine opportunity to accomplish this tiling for children. And as d fAulaire asked, rlIs there any vocation that could he richer and more fulfilling than work for children?"^1

20 Robert P. Gossop, Book Illustration, (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1937)7~~P• ’T4* 21 Ingri Parin d* Aulaire, "Working Together on Books for Children", The Horn Book, 16:248, July-August, 1940.

71 The illustrator of textbooks should possess certain qualifications.

First, he should have a knowledge of child

psychology and an attitude toward his work that is charac^terized by deep interest in children and their education. He should have a sense of the importance of his own contri­ bution to their welfare that will inspire him to put forth real effort without undue emphasis on the monetary gain involved.

Second, he should have a high degree of creative

art ability marked by a sense of good design, a feeling for color harmony, and a talent for drawing.

Third, his natural

artistic abilities should be developed by the finest art training available.

His: preparation should include basic

courses in figure drawing, design, layout, and lettering. He should follow up his schooling with as much commercial work as he can find in order to acquaint himself with all the various techniques and processes that will enable him to properly prepare his work for reproduction.

According to

his wife, Lawson has never regretted the hard training of the commercial field.

The different mediums that he has

been required to use developed a greater technical versatility; the limitations of space a finer sense of de­ sign; the insistance on accuracy a keener sense of observa­ tion of detail,

a surer draughtsmanship.^

The investiga­

22 Helen Dean Fish, "Robert Lawson", The Horn Book, 16:24, Jamary - February, 1940.


tion of modern processes suited to book illustration has carried the artist directly into the craftsmanship of book^making, the best possible place, said Ward^S f or an illustrator to be.

Mahoney and W h i t n e y ^ Said that the

artist should see to it that he has training in engraving, etching, and lithography, for today, the artist who succeeds best in the field of illustration is he who understands best the processes by which his pictures will be reproduced. Many artists, among which are the d*Aula±i?es and Kurt Wiese, now draw directly on the zinc p l a t e F o r

such as these,

technical training has been a valuable aid to an art career. When an artist knows and enjoys children, literature, and bookmaking, understands and accepts the function of text­ books and illustrations, possesses and appreciates real art ability and creative ingenuity, acquires and utilizes thorough training and practical experience, he is qualified to illustrate children*s textbooks. The book designer. One of the mcs t important creative

23 Lynd Ward, Contemporary Book Illustration”, The Horn B ook, 6:5, February, 1930. 24 Bertha E. Mahoney and Elinor Whitney, Five Years of Children *s Books, (Garden City, New York,? Doubleday,Doran & Co., Inc., 1936), pp. 10 and 11. 25 Milton Glick, Children*s Book Illustrations”, The Publishers* Weekly, 130:1591-92, October 17, 19361

efforts behind the book publishing and printing industry is that of the book designer.

He is the one who with

imagination, intelligence, and technical knowledge of the printing craft is able to assemble material and arrange it in pleasing patterns.^6

Excepting the illustrations,

he is responsible for the appearance of all the physical features of the book.

Haines27 said that comparatively

few people understand what a good book is, in its physical and artistic aspects, and that probably in no other field does ignorance masquerade so complacently and with such genuine self delusion as in this field of book knowledge, which so many assume and so few possess.

Thompson2® said

that people in America who design good textbooks can be counted on the fingers of two hands• Since the duties of the designer are frequently added to those of the illustrator, it is not surprising to find that the qualifications of a good book designer include most of those specified for

an illustrator, namely,

creative art ability, good basic art training, and experi-

26 Trade Book Clinic Committee, ffBook Designing as an A r t ”, The Publishersf Weekly, 138:46,48,50, July 6, 1940.

l o c . cit.


Haines, o p . c i t ., p. 149.


Thompson, tfJohn Begg: Textbook Designer”,

74 ence in commercial work.

In addition, he must have a

very specialized and technical training in book^making. He should be a person of gpod taste with a deep apprecia­ tion for literature of wide range, having a knowledge of and feeling for design.

He should have a long acquaintance

with papers, printing processes,and types.29

Price30 said

that the book designer should knew at least one hundred type faces by name.

It requires patience and ability to

appreciate minute differences in spacing, margins, and precise character of type, but since type is the design material of typography, it must be thoroughly knov/n if it is to be used creatively or even in routine practice. The arrangement of type on a page calls for ingenuity, a good knowledge of layout and design, and a technical com­ petence in spacing and makeup.3 ^ Thompson3^ said that a book designer has not one job, but two; the first is to make the book useful;



Waugh, op. cit. p. 116.

30 Matlack Price, 11Typography as a Career1’, American Artist, February, 1941, pp. 23-24.. 31

Trade Book Clinic Committee, l o c .cit.

32 Thompson, ’’Textbook Design% Title Page”, o£. cit., p. 831.

The Forgotten

second, sometimes forgotten, is to make it attractive to the sight and touch*

The hook designer as well as the

illustrator can make a book a work of art.

In fact, the

debt of an illustrator towards a good designer is great, for it Is the designer who can give drawings their full dramatic value by the way he places them and by his choice of paper.

jt is often he who really establishes the

character of a book.

Taking his cue from the illustrations

and the text, the intelligent designer creates a book that Is best suited to its subject and that Is at the same time distinctive in style and beautiful in form. IV/


Every business has its own peculiar problems. book production is no exception to this rule.


Some of the

problems are common to any book publishing company, but others pertain more exclusively to those companies who publish books for school use.

If one is interested in making

suggestions for improving the art quality of textbooks, it is necessary to learn something of those problems that in­ fluence the production of attractive textbooks.


complete understanding of these problems is not possible to achieve by one not a member of the "inner circle" in the


Suba, op. cit., p. 336.

76 publishing field, enough understanding to grasp the essential outlines is accessible*

A sympathetic attitude

and a fair analysis of textbook problems is a ncessary prerequisite to suggesting methods of raising existing standards in the field, for criticism which ignores conditioning influences is not likely to prove^effective. Three of the mcs t important problems and s u g g e s t tirons for alleviating or partially overcoming the difficul­ ties they involve were presented in the following paragraphs. Educational requirements.

The educational require­

ments are for the mos t part related to that major education­ al requirement which is emphasis upon content.

The very

nature of a textbook demands that content be the first consideration. as possible.

Each page must carry as much subject matter This, of necessity, limits the amount o#&pace

which may be devoted to illustrations and margins. margins, more space between lines,


and larger and more

numerous illustrations cause the book to be thicker and heavier, making it too unwieldly for handling by small children, and incidentally raising the cost of production. The problem cannot be solved by using the thin, cheap paper and the small print found in many trade books.

A school

book, because it receives longer and harder use than other books, must be durable and well made. nor long lines of print may be used.

Neither small print Print must conform


77 very definite standards both in size and length of line. G o b b l e ^ said that book designers must give more attention to getting the maximum amount of material on a page before they have anything really valuable to show the educational publisher# A second requirement is permanence#

Because most

textbooks are expected to serve for a period of approximate­ ly ten years, every effort must be made to insure a lasting quality in the illustrative material.

This necessitates,

for the most part, a realistic style in art which will not rapidly become out of date#

Novelties and fads of the

modern commercial art field must be avoided#


matter for illustrations must be carefully selected to eliminate these items that are extremely transitory. Wo m e n ’s fashions are an example of this style of thing. Textbook illustrators have found that the quickest way to date their work is to draw a woman wearing a hat. Another educational requisite is universality of appeal.

The textbook publisher literally tries to please


He tries to meet the needs and interests of

people in all parts of the country, and that is not easy to do#

Care must be taken to eliminate from pictures and

text anything which might offend or draw unfavorable

34 William E. Gobble, r,It Looks Like a Textbook", The Publishers* Weekly, 129:1085, 86, 88, March 7, 1936.

78 criticism from various groups or organizations. racial,


and religious viewpoints must be taken into con­


Some political groups pay close attention to

social studies and history textbooks.

Some sections of the

country have a large percentage of foreign people requiring a sensitive handling of race problems in textbooks.


books meet frequent opposition from religious interests. And all these factors involve illustrative material in the proportion to which it is integrated with the text. The opinion expressed in an article in The Publishers 1 7 C

minimized the importance of this problem w i t h the statement that state specifications had very little effect upon the design of textbooks.

As ,far as specific require­

ments are concerned this may be essentially true, for permanence and universality are not unreasonable require­ ments, but, in a general way, one cannot overlook the fact that the educational emphasis on printed content does limit the quantity of illustrations and decorative features, especially in the higher grades

cf the elementary school

where it is assumed that children have learned the mechanics of reading and are ready to apply themselves to reading for information.


This same emphasis on content is partly

35 Arthur Thompson, "What is Meant by Textbook The Pub1ishe r s 1Weekly,# 134:1692-94, November

79 responsible for inadequate margins and other deficiencies in page layout*

But this limitation is the only one that

directly effects art quality*

If there is not a generous

amount of space available for illustrations, that is all the more reason for making every effort to secure really excellent illustrations*

Through improving the quality

of the art features, publishers can offset the limitations of curtailed quantity and minor restrictions in subject matter.

Also, If publishers will think of educational

demands as a challenge to increased endeavor rather than as an obstacle to the production of well designed textbooks^ they can produce a fine book and at the same time conform to educational restrictions. Financial limitations *

One of the biggest problems

confronting textbook publishers is the fact that textbooks must sell many'times cheaper than trade books.

This, in

itself, Is a great handicap to experimentation and the subsequent development of new ideas that could improve the appearance of the books.

This Is one of the chief

causes of inferior illustrative work, for good artists usually command good salaries.

Publishers feel they can­

not afford to hire first class illustrators and book de­ signers or expend more than the minimum in the reproduction of art fdatures*

Engraving, color processes, technidians,

etc. involve considerable cash outlay that becomes a heavy

80 burden to the average company that publishes textbooks* This, no doubt,

accounts for the large number of books

in w h i c h the text has been revised, the cover redesigned, and the remainder of the book, illustrations, title page, margins, etc. has maintained the s ame unattractive and out-of-date character.

Such books are a vast disappoint­

ment to the person \vho expects to find the bright attract­ iveness

of the exterior reflected throughout the b o o k ’s


Yet the publisher is obviously attempting to

better his product, and he is. putting the emphasis where it will be noticed.

Often the publisher would like to

incorporate attractive features, but is restrained from doing so through fear of additional expenditures. First, one should remember that financial limita­ tions reflect an age-old problem and are commonly found in almost every field of endeavor.

If textbook publishers

are forced to more rigid economy than trade book publishers, it means they must employ more thought and ingenuity to circumvert this obstacle and produce textbooks that can compete favorably with trade books in the matter of illustration and design.

‘-Actually# there is some founda­

tion for the idea that textbook publishers can afford to spend more money on their product than can trade book publishers.

Although textbooks sell for much less than

trade books, tbe sales of the former usually reach a volume

81 far beyond that of the mos t popular juvenile trade book. When a certain textbook series is adopted by a county or a state, it means not only that the sales volume will be tremendously large at the time of the adoption of the series, but there will be reorders for a number of years to come in order to replace lost and damaged books and to supply increased enrollments where they occur. Revision of the budget sometimes gives amazing results.

But true economy is not achieved by eliminating

decorative features in a textbook.

It begins by making

sure that only artists with ability, enthusiasm, and adaptability are employed.

Since the illustrator and

designer are the two artists most directly influential in producing beauty in textbooks, they should be carefully selected.

This does not mean that publishers should employ

only artists who have already achieved success.


to these fields often possess a great deal of talent, and they do not expect large salaries.

Publishers might con­

sider sponsoring competitions in textbook illustration and design in order to discover these ”as-yet-unappreciated” talents. Authorities of the American Institute of Graphic Arts36 have repeatedly declared that a good textbook need

•36 ”The Textbooks of the Future”, Design Magazine, 37.: 42, April, 1936.

82 not be costlier to produce than a bad one* is not necessarily expensive*

Good design

Simplicity, good taste,

and imagination are infinite in their variety.37

In the

same line of thought, Begg3 ^ stressed the fact that good color in a book does not cost more to print than bad color. Good design and color depend on art knowledge$ such know* ledge is the property of good book illustrators and de­ signers*

With the aid of capable artists, attractive

textbooks can and are being produced with a minimum of expense• Public Attitude*

The publisher feels that it is

his business to meet public demands, to produce the kind of books that will sell.

The textbook publisherfs public

is usuaully represented by curriculum committees, school boards, and superintendents,who in turn, are often in­ fluenced by various city and county groups.

The publisher,

therefore, is interested in producing the kind of textbooks that these people select.

According to Gobble3 ^ and others^O^

the textbook publisher has a conservative public that does not readily accept new styles or experiments, and attract&ve-

37 Arthur Thompson, ’’What is Meant by Textbook Design”, loc. c i t ♦ 38 John Begg, ’’The Form of Textbooks”, The Publishe r s 1 Weekly, 134: 370-74, August, 1938. 39

Gobble, loc. cit.

40 ’’Restyling our Textbooks”, The Publishers * Weekly 128:733, September 7, 1935.

83 ness in textbooks must be considered a new factor if modern textbooks are compared to those of twenty years ago.

In general, it may be said that these groups that

select textbooks do not place much emphasis on attract­ iveness.

This statement is bora out by the findings of

W h i p p l e * s ^ study of procedures used in selecting school books.

She found that when score cards were not used in

city systems that the percentage of mention of the p h ^ i c a l makeup was 28.5.

On the surface this is not a low percent­

age, but when one sees that type and binding account for over half of that figure and that attractiveness in binding received a mention of only .04, as did the item of color, it definitely denotes lack of interest in those things. Illustrative material received a score of 4.8 while appeal of illustrative material rated only .03. frequency of^mention was 272.

The total

When score cards were not

used in selecting state textbooks physical makeup rated 33 points out of 115, bub clear illustrations and general appearance each rated only .09.

When score cards were

used, attractiveness received a larger share of attention. This lack of interest In art quality is due in part to the fact that laymen appointed to the selecting commissions and to s chool boards are not trained for the work of evaluating

41 Gertrude Whipple, Procedures Used in Selecting School Books, (Chicago: The University of cETeago Press, 193677 ppTl57-60, 174,175.

84 books for school needs and often have little appreciation for art amd its importance to -die education of little children* If it is true that the selection of textbooks Is generally made by people who are conservative in taste and who lack interest in quality of attractiveness in textbooks, it does not follow that the publisher must limit his output to the type of books found to be popular with these people* It does mean that the publisher should make every effort to convince his public that he is overlooking a valuable educational aid when art qualities are ignored.

The pub­

lisher must recognize that the production field is not limited to supplying products that meet consumer demands. Rather does the production field introduce new articles and persuade the consumer that he needs them.


is an important phase pf the publishing business.

It might

stress the educational value of attractive textbooks instead of placing the entire emphasis on the printed text.


might acquaint the public with textbook illustrators and their work.

A valuable avenue for enlightening the textbook

public might be found in articles published in educational journals, magazines, and bulletins, articles which stress the value of visual art in elementary school textbooks. And, certainly,

salesmen from the publishing companies

should be well informed concerning the art aspects of text­


books and their value for the child in order that- they may pass on the word to their customers in a truly convincing manner*

Faith in the public1s willingness

to select textbooks with due consideration for "eye appeal” was indicated by a statement in an article that appeared in The Publishers! Weekly to the effect that if school trustees are also the citizens who have been buy­ ing new automobiles because they are freshly "styled”, they may quite easily be expected to choose textbooks for the same good and sufficient reason.4^

If the

publisher will do his share and possibly more than his share in disseminating information about the value of attractiveness in textbooks, his efforts may result in a widespread demand for well designed textbooks* V-

V. : MODERN' TRENDS IK TEXTBOOK ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN In recent years great progress has been shown

in the physical aspects of textbooks as well as in textu­ al^ matter.

Textbook publishers deserve much praise for

the vast strides of improvement they have effected in their product for they have surpassed in quality the


"Restyling our Textbooks”, loc* cit *

86 textbook production of all other countries*


aaid that the United States holds the undisputed first place in producing textbooks. Among a number of things, which have been r e - ‘ sponsible for the marked advancement in the visual H aspect of textbooks is the fine example set by chi l d r e n s trade books.

Publishers could not be content to let

school books lag too far behind trade books,

and neither

could the public remain satisfied with dull, unattractive textbooks when childrenfs trade books were flaunting gay, colorful, exteriorss and strikingly beautiful illustrations. Another factor influencing the new trends in text­ book production is that the discriminating market casts its lot with good textbooks.

This fact instigated keen com­

petition among publishers, a competition which has contri­ buted much in producing better looking textbooks.44 Some explanation of the movement for attractive textbooks may be found in the present, widespread demand on the part of the public for beauty in utilitarian articles.

Industry has made America design-conscious to

a greater extent than ever before in her history.

To a

43 Prank A. Jensen, Current Frecedure in Selecting Textbooks, (Philadelphia: T7b .lippencott, 1931), p* 6. 44

Jensen, loc. cit.

87 people accustomed to artistic window displays, attractive packaging, beautifully designed buildings, furniture, etc., beauty in textbooks must a p p ar as a natural course of events• Trends in modern textbook illustration and design are easily ascertained.

They are revealed through even a

hasty comparison of recently published elementary school textbooks with those of a generation ago.

In this study,

only the qualities that showed a fairly steady development in a certain direction were considered to be trends. Occasionally innovations or isolated examples were not included in this category.

Incidentally, almost all the

trends mentioned in the following paragraphs denote progress• These are some of the most important trends reflect­ ed in,recent elementary school textbooks. 1.

Larger and more numerous illustrations.


found that primers and first readers often demote as much as forty percent of the space to illustrations, and that more illustrations were used in books for the higher grades than had previously been the custom. 2*

Greater use of color.

Variety and brilliance of

color prevade most of the primary textbooks from cover to cover, color in bindings, color in end&heets, color in illustrations, and frequently^olor in margins as borders

45 Nila B. Smith, American Reading Instruetion, (New York: Silver, Burdette and Company, 1934), pp. 202-3.


or other decorations# 3.

Informality in illustrations and page layout#

This trend is noted particularly- in the modern !,casualtt style of illustration which is the antithesis of the stilted, tightly handled pen drawings with superimposed color washes# Modern illustrations have a diredtness and ffdash” which is characteristic of modern commercial art#

This trend is also

reflected in the tendency to omit boundary lines in illus­ trations, sometimes letting portions of the drawings extend, into the margins.

Frequently the combining of illustrations

and text follows no formal standards of arrangements, but achievestits - informal character by using variety in page placemen t. 4*

More v igor and vitality in illustrations# t

These qualities are evidenced not only in the technique of the illustrations but in the emphasis on human interest and realism that has added so much to their instructional value# 5•

Increased variety in techniqu e s .

The develop­

ment in new printing processes 'has opened the way for e x ­ perimentation in numerous media, and the combination of these processes has produced a new graphic interest.^6


are no longer limited to line drawings, grayed half tones, and one and two color processes.

Lithography, color photo-

46 William A. Kittredge, ”Five Years of Progress in School Book Design”, The Publishers * Weekly, 139:1037, March 1, 1941#

89 graphy, and many other new developments in reproduction have made attractiveness in textbooks more accessible* 6.

Improved mechanical makeup.

Greater resources