Scott Gustafson Biography Continued:

...library. Its illustrations by N.C. Wyeth galvanized him, making him realize that this was the sort of detail, color and vibrancy he had been looking for all his artistic life.

While Gustafson pursued animation throughout his years at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and Columbia College, also in Illinois, he still sought illustrations by Wyeth, Arthur Rackham, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and others. It was not until he discovered the realities of the animation industry that he started to consider fine art illustration as a career option. “The opportunities of animation, in terms of subject matter and creative control, weren’t nearly as interesting or rewarding as those of illustration,” he says.

His classic, opulent approach elicited immediate response, and soon his work was appearing in magazines as diverse as The Saturday Evening Post and Playboy. His work came to the attention of book publishers and he began to illustrate anew such classic children’s books as The Night Before Christmas, The Nutcracker and Peter Pan. At that time, he also wrote and illustrated new volumes, including Alphabet Soup and The Animal Orchestra.

As Gustafson’s readership grew, so did interest in his work as a subject for collector’s plates. He has created more than a dozen paintings, based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes, for this purpose. Today Scott continues to explore the delights his art can bring to young and old alike—including in the medium of porcelain. In 1997, The Greenwich Workshop® Collection introduced Gustafson’s “treasures for the child in each of us” as exquisitely detailed three-dimensional works of art.

Scott Gustafson’s earliest artistic ambition was to become an animator. But by the time he entered high school, he became acquainted with artists from the Golden Age of Illustration. Great illustrators like N.C. Wyeth, Normal Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and Arthur Rackham opened a door onto a world of beautiful images that continue to inspire him to this day.

Lingering dreams of making animated films, however, led Scott to major in animation at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. It wasn’t until after leaving art school that the possibility of a career as a freelance illustrator began to truly appeal to him.

Over the nearly twenty-five years that span his career, he has had the opportunity to fulfill commissions for a number of varied clients and publishers such as Celestial Seasonings, Playboy magazine, Saturday Evening Post, The Bradford Exchange, Dreamworks and The Greenwich Workshop. His illustrated books include The Night Before Christmas, Peter Pan, Nutcracker, as well as two original titles, Animal Orchestra and Alphabet Soup. His newest release, Classic Fairy Tales, was recently awarded a Chesley award for best interior book illustrations from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

Return to the Art of Scott Gustafson