Blinky Bill and Friends

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blinky Bill and Friends

Blinky Bill (vignette)

The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill (Dustjacket), 1939 by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill (vignette) by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill Joins the Army - Dorothy Wall

Kookaburra with spectacles (vignette) by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill and Nutsy by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill running (vignette) by Dorothy Wall

The Story of Tommy Bear and the Zookies - Dorothy Wall

(IN) Tommy Bear and the Zookies by Dorothy Wall, 1920

'The Jackass thought he had never seen anything so funny' IN The Crystal Bowl, 1921 by Dorothy Wall

'He received such a thrashing..' IN The Crystal Bowl by Dortothy Wall

'Blinky, Splodge and Wally' by Dorothy Wall IN A Tiny Story of Blinky Bill

The Cheats by Dorothy Wall, 1914

'The Cheats' appeared in the 1914 magazine, 'The Lone Hand' and is the first known illustration by Dorothy Wall. The grotesque bush figures would appear, in one guise or another, in many of Wall's later works.

The images below are all from the one book (linked in the commentary)

Blinky Bill, the quaint little Australian - 'What shall I name this young bear', he asked. 1933

Blinky Bill - Chapter 2 vignette (1933 by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill scene by Dorothy Wall

Blinky Bill, The Quaint Little Australian - 1933 by Dorothy Wall

Dorothy Wall illustration of Blinky Bill characters 1933

Blinky Bill, The Quaint Little Australian 1933 by Dorothy Wall

'It was great fun! - Dorothy Wall illustration (kangaroo as transport)

Dorothy Wall (1894-1942) completed some artistic training in her native New Zealand before emigrating to Australia in 1914 where she quickly obtained work as a commercial graphic artist. It is no little coincidence that another contemporary childrens book artist, the more famous May Gibbs, had also come to Australia at about the same time. Gibbs' work at least partly inspired Wall (and others) to move from the calendar, card and advertising industry into children's book illustration.

Wall first gained some success in 1920 when she released 'The Story of Tommy Bear and the Zookies' -- an early koala bear model for her later work and featuring characters similar to Gibbs' gumnut babies -- and provided the illustrations for JJ Hall's 'The Crystal Bowl'. But it would be another decade of commercial graphic work before the Blinky Bill series catapulted Wall to national attention.

The use of the image of a koala in humorous prints or children's books had been pioneered, so to speak, by Norman Lindsay and his brother Lionel, in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. When Wall's 'Blinky Bill' first appeared in 1933, featuring the mischievous title character with friends, Splodge the kangaroo, Flap the platypus and Wombo the wombat and touching on environmental issues, it appealed to a new generation of children.
"[Wall] featured Blinky Bill in a series of her own books, including Blinky Bill: The Quaint Little Australian, Blinky Bill Grows Up, and Blinky Bill and Nutsy. The books are considered quintessential Australian children's classics, and have never been out of print in Australia."
Sadly, Wall suffered from depression and experienced financial difficulties, despite the incredible success that the Blinky Bill series achieved. The shortage of paper during the war stymied Wall's attempts to interest the major newspapers in her comic strip version of Blinky Bill and she died in Sydney in 1942 from pneumonia, a week after her forty eighth birthday.

Mouse over the images for the caption/book titles.

No comments:

Post a Comment