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Thursday, December 15, 2005


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Birth: 1925 


Illustrator and Painter

Bio Summary

Mel Crawford was born in Canada in 1925. He served in the Canadian Navy during World War II. He used his veteran's benefits to go to Royal Ontario College of Art. He then came to the U.S. in the 1940s to work for Disney Studios. He worked in animation for a while but disliked the repetition. He began working on backgrounds and then books and album covers. He worked on "Alice in Wonderland," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "Jungle Book," and more. He later worked for the program Sesame Street. Over his lifetime, he illustrated over 200 children’s books, over 93 of them Western Publishing titles. He worked on some newspaper comic strips, sometimes an assistant and sometimes an illustrator. He has made numerous paintings. Early in his career he used watercolors, but now he prefers acrylics. He still enjoys painting the landscapes and wildlife across America and Canada. Over the years, one of the ways Crawford made money has been to teach. He has taught in many states and has done many demos for children. These days, when he has time away from his paintings, he teaches locally.

Early Life/Family

Mel Crawford was born in Canada, served in the Canadian Navy during World War II, and went to Ontario College of Art.


Royal Ontario College of Art

Career Outline

Disney Studios
-Sesame Street
-Newspaper strip assistant for "Iffy and "Versus"
-Illustrator for "First-Day Cachets"
-Newspaper strip artist for "Rabbits Rafferty" and "McCall of the Wild"
-Painter (watercolor and acrylics)
-Illustrator for children's books, including many Western Publishing titles
-More work for many magazines, newspapers, and publishing houses

Comments On Style

Crawford's style in his children's books were often very brightly colored with loosely composed graphic shapes. In the book "Rootie Kazootie" you can see his expressive aplication of paint and loosely described backgrounds. Although not extremely detailed, the composition of the figures and their environment are well thought out and carefully placed, making it both enjoyable and accessible to young children.
His paintings are similar in that he tells a story in each one. He often paints out in nature, capturing scenery, trees, animals, and people in his acrylic paintings. In one painting he shows a couple of moose standing at the edge of a river. Another shows a fisherman catching a large fish next to a beaver dam. His style is very soft, the images almost look blurry. The colors are at times bright and at other times muted. It all comes together to show a living, changing world, always in motion.




"I have an ongoing love affair with Montana. In June of 1999, I spent a week in Glacier National Park and the surrounding area, and I was thrilled to be there. My first visit to Montana was in the early fifties. The grandeur of the mountains was spellbinding to a young fellow who had never seen real mountains, or bears or elk. Since that time it has been my ambition to paint everything I had seen on my whirlwind visit to Montana." -Mel Crawford


Mel Crawford has been interviewed for a book on the Golden Age of Golden Book illustrators. He knew many of the great children's book illustrators and was guided and mentored by them.


"Alice in Wonderland"
"Snow White"
"Jungle Book"


-Franklin Mint Gold Medal Award
-Grumbacher Gold Medals
-Kent Art Association's prestigious Medal of Merit

Related Links

Bibliographic References

Contributors To This Listing

Ginni Crawford
Mel Crawford
Matthew Augustin

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