Happy Day After St. Patrick’s Day – Illustrators Named ‘Neill’ Edition

by John Holbo on March 18, 2016

I forgot St. Patrick’s day. But I remembered all-Trump, all-the-time is dull. And some people like my pen-and-ink posts. So let’s celebrate a pair of illustrators named ‘Neill’, or nearly.

First, Rose O’Neill. American born. She’s famous/not-famous. She invented Kewpies. Major breakthrough in cuteness technology, making her hugely wealthy through sale of toys. She was also a writer and active suffragette. And those things came together.


But here’s the good stuff, pen-and-ink-wise. She also produced what she called her ‘sweet monster’ art, which is really very striking, to my eye. And I don’t think many folks know of it. Some of it Irish mythology-inflected, but all of it with a powerful swirling flow, which is also one of the features that makes kewpies so cute.

And those things come together as well: the kewpies and kelpies and powerfully-foreheaded monsters and whatever-they-are.

Moving right along: John R. Neill. Again, you may know him without knowing him. He illustrated Oz. And he did some impressively elaborate pen-and-ink work.


Here’s one that might work for St. Patrick’s day and for the Republican Party.



Phil 03.18.16 at 7:39 am

The first of these is certainly apt for Shelah’s Day (have a good one!).


DocAmazing 03.18.16 at 3:48 pm


DocAmazing 03.18.16 at 3:50 pm


John Holbo 03.18.16 at 11:14 pm

Point taken, Doc.


Caroline Abbott 03.19.16 at 12:05 am

Odd Bodkins captured the late 1960s SF Bay area perfectly. It was the best thing in the Chronicle.


js. 03.20.16 at 1:04 am

Oh hey, can Belle do one of her music posts soon? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease? Because unfortunately I don’t really get this pen-and-ink stuff (I wish I did!), and the rest of CT is unreadable right now. Thanks!


liveoak 03.21.16 at 12:15 pm

I lurk here now and again. Politics are always somewhat sickening but I’d lately be driven to despair of I weren’t oldish and wry. Thanks for the Rose, those are wonderful. Who’d have imagined that wild, muscular sensibility lurking behind Kewpies?

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