Charles Santore’s (b. Philadelphia, 1935) work as an illustrator is celebrated and diverse. Not only has he illustrated for top advertising agencies and leading magazines (TV Guide, Redbook, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Time, Life, Newsweek, and other publications) but his artwork is also included in distinguished collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Brandywine River Museum in Pennsylvania and the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Since 1986, Santore has added children’s book illustration to his broad body of work, including the following classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Other Cherished Stories, Aesop’s Fables, The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, The Fox and the Rooster, Paul Revere's Ride; the Landlord’s Tale, The Camel’s Lament, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, The Night before Christmas and version of Jack and the Beanstalk for limited Internet distribution. Santore most recently illustrated Margery Williams Bianco’s beloved The Velveteen Rabbit, which, along with his versions of Aesop’s Fables, The Night before Christmas, The Wizard of Oz and his own William the Curious: Knight of the Water Lilies, was selected by US retailer Kohl’s for its seasonal Kohl’s Cares merchandise program supporting children’s initiatives in communities nationwide. In addition to William, Santore is also author/illustrator of A Stowaway on Noah’s Ark, Three Hungry Pigs and the Wolf That Came to Dinner, and The Silk Princess.
Santore has received numerous awards and recognition for his artistic excellence, both for his past achievements in the magazine and advertising fields and for his children’s books, including the Society of Illustrators Award of Excellence and prestigious Hamilton King Award, and the Alumni Award of the Philadelphia College of Art. In 1998, his first original book, William the Curious, Knight of the Water Lilies, received the 1998 Storytelling World Honor Title. His subsequent book A Stowaway on Noah’s Ark won the Gold Medal at the 2000 Society of Children’s Illustrators Annual Show, and in 2003, he won the Silver Medal at the Society of Illustrators Annual Show for his illustrations for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride: the Landlord’s Tale. Santore’s illustrated edition of this American classic was also named 2004 Children’s Book of the Year for Poetry by the Bank Street College Children’s Book Committee.
His illustrations for Aesop’s Fables were the inspiration for a series of national and international Merill Lynch TV commercials aired during the 1993 Winter Olympic Games, for which several works from his book were animated. In 1995, a selection of Santore's illustrations for The Wizard of Oz, widely considered to be the quintessential illustrated version (of which a new edition has recently been published), were used as the scenic backdrops for a major television performance of the work. Santore was also the subject of the 1997 documentary Charles Santore Illustrates the Wizard of Oz, in which he describes his artistic vision and approach to illustrating L. Frank Baum’s classic tale.
Santore’s work has also been the focus of several major exhibitions. In 1992, he was honored for his work in book illustration with a major exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum, and his work was also included in the traveling exhibition Myth, Magic and Mystery: One Hundred Years of American Children’s Book Illustration, where it appeared alongside work by renowned illustrators such as Maurice Sendak and N.C. Wyeth. Santore’s illustrations for Paul Revere’s Ride: the Landlord’s Tale were one of the highlights and inspirations for the 2005 exhibit Paul Revere’s Ride and Longfellow’s Legend, at the Brandywine River Museum and the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2009, he created the official poster for the 2009 National Book Festival in Washington, DC, and was one of the event's featured authors. In 2012, Santore was honored with a retrospective at The Society of Illustrators in New York.
Santore lives and works in Philadelphia. His next project will be announced shortly.