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Robert Ingpen (1936–) Biography - Personal, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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(Robert Roger Ingpen)

Personal

Born 1936, in Geelong, Victoria, Australia; Education: Attended Geelong College; Royal Melbourne Technical College (now Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), Diploma of Art (graphic arts), 1957.

Career

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia, senior artist, 1959–68. Freelance author, illustrator, and designer, 1968–. Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia, foundation councillor; Dromkeen Children's Literature Foundation, governor. Exhibitions: Ingpen's illustrated works have been exhibited in Europe and the United States.

Honors Awards

Award for illustration, Children's Book Council of Australia, 1975, for Storm-Boy; award for illustration, International Board on Books for Young People, 1978, for The Runaway Punt; Hans Christian Andersen Medal, 1986; Dromkeen Medal, 1989; honorary doctorate of arts, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 2005.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Pioneers of Wool, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1972.

Pioneer Settlement in Australia, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1972.

Robe: A Portrait of the Past, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1975.

Marking Time: Australia's Abandoned Buildings, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1979.

Australian Gnomes, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1979.

The Voyage of the Poppykettle, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1980, Minedition (New York, NY), 2005.

Australia's Heritage Watch: An Overview of Australian Conservation, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1981.

The Unchosen Land, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1981.

(With Sally Carruthers and others) Australian Inventions and Innovations, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1982.

(With Graham Pizzey) Churchill Island, Victoria Conservation Trust (East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1982.

(With Mellonie Bryan) Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between, Hill of Content (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1983, published as Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children, Bantam (New York, NY), 1983.

Click Go the Shears, Collins (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1984.

The Idle Bear, Lothian (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1986, revised as The Miniature Idle Bear, NTC, 1989.

(With Margaret Dunkle) Conservation, Hill of Content (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1987.

The Age of Acorns, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia), 1988, Bedrick/Blackie (New York, NY), 1990.

The Dreamkeeper: A Letter from Robert Ingpen to His Granddaughter Alice Elizabeth, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1995.

The Afternoon Treehouse, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996.

(With Ted Egan) The Drover's Boy, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

(With Michael Lawrence) The Poppykettle Papers (graphic novel), Pavilion (London, England), 1999.

Once upon a Place, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

A Robert Ingpen Compendium, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

A Bear Tale, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2000.

Pictures Telling Stories: The Art of Robert Ingpen, commentary by Sarah Mayor Cox, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2004, Minedition (New York, NY), 2005.

The Rare Bear, Lothian (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2004.

(With Gary Crew) In the Wake of the Mary Celeste, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2004.

(With Bryan Mellonie) Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between, Puffin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 2005.

(With Rosanne Hawke) Mustara, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2006.

Also author of a series of Chinese-language books for Grimm Press, Taiwan.

Author's works have been translated into German, French, Japanese, and Swedish.

Ingpen's papers are collected at the National Library of Australia.

SELF-ILLUSTRATED; WITH MICHAEL F. PAGE

Aussie Battlers, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1982.

The Great Bullocky Race, Hill of Content (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1984, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1988.

Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places, and People, Paper Tiger (Limpsfield, England), 1985, Viking (New York, NY), 1987.

Out of This World: The Complete Book of Fantasy, Landsdowne Press (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1986.

The Making of Australians, Dent (Knoxfield, Australia), 1987, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1990.

Worldly Dogs, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1988.

SELF-ILLUSTRATED; WITH PHILIP WILKINSON

The Encyclopedia of Mysterious Places: The Life and Legends of Ancient Sites around the World, Viking (New York, NY), 1990.

Encyclopedia of World Events: Eighty Turning Points in History, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.

Encyclopedia of Ideas That Changed the World: The Greatest Discoveries and Inventions of Human History, Viking (New York, NY), 1993.

A Celebration of Customs and Rituals of the World, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1994, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1996.

SELF-ILLUSTRATED; WITH BARBARA HAYES

Folk Tales and Fables of Asia and Australia, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Folk Tales and Fables of Europe, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Folk Tales and Fables of the Americas and the Pacific, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Folk Tales and Fables of the Middle East and Africa, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

SELF-ILLUSTRATED; WITH MOLLY PERHAM

Ghouls and Monsters, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1995, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1996.

Gods and Goddesses, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1995, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1996.

Heroes and Heroines, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1995, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1996.

Magicians and Fairies, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1995, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1996.

ILLUSTRATOR

Colin Thiele, Storm-Boy, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1974.

Michael F. Page, The Runaway Punt, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1976.

Don Dunstan, Don Dunstan's Cookbook, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1976.

Andrew McKay, Surprise and Enterprise: Fifty Years of Science for Australia, edited by Frederick White and David Krimpton, Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization, 1976.

The Australian Countrywoman's Cookbook, photographs by Peter Gower, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1976.

Colin Thiele, Lincoln's Place, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1978.

Nick Evers, Paradise and Beyond: Tasmania, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1978.

Colin Thiele, Chadwick's Chimney, Ashton Scholastic (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1979.

Colin Thiele, River Murray Mary, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1979.

Colin Stone, Running the Brumbies: True Adventures of a Modern Bushman, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1979.

Michael F. Page, Turning Points in the Making of Australia, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1980.

Michael F. Page, Robert Ingpen, compiled by Angela Ingpen, Macmillan (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1980.

Ronald Rose, This Peculiar Colony, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1981.

Mary Small, Night of the Muttonbirds, Methuen (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1981.

A.B. Paterson, Clancy of the Overflow, Rigby (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1982, reprinted, Lansdowne (The Rocks, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.

Max Charlesworth, Religious Worlds, Hill of Content (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1985.

Michael F. Page, Colonial South Australia: Its People and Buildings, J. M. Dent (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1985.

Barbara Hayes, reteller, Folk Tales and Fables of the World, Paper Tiger (Limpsfield, England), 1987.

Mark Twain, The Stolen White Elephant, Ashton Scholastic (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1987.

Mark Twain, A Strange Expedition, Ashton Scholastic (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1988.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Tree, Ashton Scholastic (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1988.

Charles Dickens, The Child's Story, Ashton Scholastic (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1988.

Patricia Wrightson, The Nargun and the Stars, Hutchinson (Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia), 1988.

Maurice Saxby, reteller, The Great Deeds of Superheroes, Millennium (Newtown, New South Wales, Australia), 1989, P. Bedrick (New York, NY), 1990.

Maurice Saxby, reteller, The Great Deeds of Heroic Women, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1989, P. Bedrick (New York, NY), 1990.

Katherine Scholes, Peacetimes, Hill of Content (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1989, published as Peace Begins with You, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

Philip Steele, River through the Ages, Eagle (London, England), 1993, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1994.

Colin Thiele, Brahminy: The Story of a Boy and a Sea Eagle, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1995.

Jacqueline Dineen, Hunting, Harvesting, and Home, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1998.

Jacqueline Dineen, Feasts and Festivals, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1998.

Michael Cave, Fabulous Places of Myth: A Journey with Robert Ingpen to Camelot, Atlantis, Valhalla, and the Tower of Babel, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

Ejnar Agertoft, Jacob, the Boy from Nuremberg, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

Jacqueline Dineen, Rites of Passage, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1999.

Jacqueline Dineen, Living with the Gods, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1999.

Tom Pow, Who Is the World For?, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Michael Rosen, Shakespeare: His Work and His World, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Anna Carew-Miller, Chief Seattle: Great Chief, Mason Crest (Broomhall, PA), 2002.

Charise Neugebauer, Halloween Circus at the Graveyard, North-South Books (London, England), 2003, published as Halloween Circus, North-South Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Anne Marie Sullivan, Mother Theresa, Mason Crest (Broomhall, PA), 2003.

John Riddle, Robert F. Scott: British Explorer of the South Pole, Mason Crest (Broomhall, PA), 2003.

John Riddle, Marco Polo, Mason Crest (Broomhall, PA), 2003.

Beatrice Phillpotts, The Wizard's Book of Spells, Viking (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

Keith Dunstan, The Tapestry Story: Celebrating 150 Years of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan and Wendy, Orchard (New York, NY), 2004.

Brigitte Weninger, The Magic Crystal, Minedition (New York, NY), 2005.

Werner Thuswaldner, Silent Night, Holy Night: A Song for the World, Minedition (New York, NY), 2005.

Michael Rosen, Dickens: His Work and His World, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling, Minedition (New York, NY), 2005.

ILLUSTRATOR

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, The Lands of the Bible, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, The Magical East, Angus & Robertson (Pymble, New South Wales, Australia), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, The Mediterranean, Angus & Robertson (Pymble, New South Wales, Australia), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, The Master Builders, Angus & Robertson (Pymble, New South Wales, Australia), 1992, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, People Who Changed the World, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, Statesmen Who Changed the World, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, Scrolls to Computers, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, Caves to Cathedrals, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, Science and Power, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, Scientists Who Changed the World, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, Wheels to Rockets: Innovations in Transport, Dragon's World (Limpsfield, England), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, Generals Who Changed the World, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1994.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, Transportation, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1995.

Philip Wilkinson and Michael Pollard, The Industrial Revolution, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1995.

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, The Early Inventions, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1995.

Philip Wilkinson and Jacqueline Dineen, Art and Technology through the Ages, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1995.

Also illustrator of maps, brochures, and other visual materials.

Sidelights

Robert Ingpen is an Australian author and illustrator who has captured the natural beauty and cultural quirks of his native country within his books. Elements of the supernatural weave through the pages of many of his titles, including Australian Gnomes and The Voyage of the Poppykettle, as well as a series Ingpen coauthored with Molly Perham that includes such titles as Ghouls and Monsters and Magicians and Fairies. Ingpen's interest in not only the supernatural but also in folklore, technology, and the history of ideas and politics is worldwide in scope. This wide-ranging interest is evident in the many nonfiction books he has coauthored with others and which include his award-winning artwork. Ingpen is the only Australian to ever be awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration.

Born in 1936, Ingpen was raised in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Trained in art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, he began his publishing career by writing and illustrating several books recording the history of Australia's lesser-known locales. His first illustration project for young people was the book Storm-Boy, written by Colin Thiele and published in 1974. Awarded several prestigious honors, including the 1986 Hans Christian Andersen medal, Ingpen's artwork has been compared to that of U.S. ilustrator N.C. Wyeth due to his realistic approach. Although Ingpen uses a variety of media, including watercolor, pencil, and pastel, his work is distinctive in its detail and its adherence to historical accuracy. Ingpen has been praised for his style, his choice of earthen hues, and his unique approach to light and shadow.

Among the fictional works penned and illustrated by Ingpen are The Idle Bear and The Age of Acorns. Teddy bears figure prominently in both works; in The Idle Bear, two worn teddies who have watched their owners grow up and leave them try to make sense of their place in the world, while in The Age of Acorns, a younger bear is accidentally left outdoors by the child he belongs to. Called both humorous and poignant, The Idle Bear drew praise from reviewers, including a Publishers Weekly commentator who concluded that "such wide-eyed bears, in dire need of family, should find a home in any reader's heart." Although a Kirkus Reviews contributor praised the dialogue in The Idle Bear as "deceptively aimless yet cadenced and philosophical," Zena Sutherland of Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books questioned its appropriateness for a young audience. However, Sutherland went on to praise Ingpen's illustrations as "remarkable for their textural quality and their deftness in depiction of light and shade." Sutherland also praised The Age of Acorns in a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books review, noting that "the colors are quiet, reflecting the poignant wistfulness of the story."

The Dreamkeeper: A Letter from Robert Ingpen to His Granddaughter Alice Elizabeth was published in Australia in 1995. Interweaving elements of reality and fantasy, he explains how the beings conjured up by human imaginations during dreams are kept from invading reality by a Dreamkeeper, who with the use of imaginative and intricately engineered traps and other tools, returns all dream beings to their proper home in the Dreamtree. Storybook characters, as well as scarier creatures, live within the dreams of imaginative young people, and characters from Aladdin to Long John Silver to the entire cast of Alice in Wonderland are among those caught by the ever-vigilant Dreamkeeper. "Myth and lore collide to create a promising fantasy" in Ingpen's unique work, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor who noted that the book, hand-lettered by the illustrator to resemble a letter to Alice, is by turns "mystical, dreamlike and occasionally nightmarish."

In 1999 Ingpen revisited his picture book The Voyage of the Poppykettle and teamed up with Michael Lawrence to adapt the work as a graphic novel, The Poppykettle
[Image Not Available]
Papers
, about the Hairy Peruvians featured in the original story. Like The Voyage of the Poppykettle, the graphic novel tells the story of the journey of a group of tiny people across the ocean. Two young boys discover a bundle of papers translated by an archeologist that reveals the dangers the Hairy Peruvians had in their crossing. According to Barbara Buckley in a review for School Library Journal, "Ingpen's illustrations are painterly, giving the impression of danger and excitement without scariness." The original tale was published in the United States in 2005; a Kirkus Reviews contributor commented, "Ingpen captures the voyage with engrossing drama."

In keeping with his penchant for myth and fantasy, Ingpen has collaborated with Barbara Hayes to create a series of collections of folk tales and fables from around the world, including Folk Tales & Fables of Asia and Australia and Folk Tales and Fables of the Middle East and Africa. Of the latter title, Booklist reviewer Julie Corsaro noted that Ingpen's "full-page paintings are meticulously detailed, warmly colored and strikingly composed." Ingpen has collaborated with Michael Page on other fantastic titles, including Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places, and People. Richard K. Burns, in Library Journal, considered the book "a significant contribution to all collection in fantasy and allied genres," and noted: "the illustrations are extraordinary."

Ingpen has illustrated books for many children's authors, and two published compilations of his work have been published to showcase his art: A Robert Ingpen Compendium and Pictures Telling Stories: The Art of Robert Ingpen. Noting that the latter title contains sketches and storyboards as well as full-color prints of Ingpen's work, Heather E. Miller, in School Library Journal, commented that "the reproductions are the obvious stars of this book." Of his illustrations for Tom Pow's Who Is the World For?, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "the visual cadence of Ingpen's … artwork reflects the graceful nuances of the text." Wendy Lukehart, writing in School Library Journal, noted that the same text features "a safe and aesthetically pleasing world." Reviewing in the same periodical, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan dubbed Ingpen's contribution to Michael Rosen's Shakespeare: His Work and His World "detailed, realistic illustrations."

While many of Ingpen's subjects come not from the world of dreams and the imagination but from the factual, real world of history, technology, and science, he is able to transform the commonplace and everyday into the marvelous, sparking the curiosity of his young fans. Describing Ingpen's work in Children's Books and Their Creators, essayist Suzy Schmidt cited the author/illustrator's ultimate goal as "to engage young people's imaginations both with his art and with the stories he chooses to illustrate."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Silvey, Anita, editor, Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 1994, Julie Corsaro, review of Folk Tales and Fables of the Middle East and Africa, p. 596.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 1987, Zena Sutherland, review of The Idle Bear, pp. 66-67; December, 1990, Zena Sutherland, review of The Age of Acorns, p. 88.

Horn Book, May, 1999, Karen Jameyson, review of The Drover's Boy, p. 364.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 1987, review of The Idle Bear, p. 1516; May 1, 2005, review of The Voyage of the Poppykettle, p. 539.

Library Journal, January, 1999, Richard K. Burns, review of Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places, and People, p. 86.

Magpies, March, 2005, Maurice Saxby, review of Pictures Telling Stories: The Art of Robert Ingpen, p. 14.

Publishers Weekly, October 9, 1987, review of The Idle Bear, p. 84; June 3, 1996, review of The Dreamkeeper, p. 84; October 30, 2000, review of Who Is the World For?, p. 75.

School Librarian, February, 1996, p. 20.

School Library Journal, March, 1988, p. 167; March, 2000, Barbara Buckley, review of The Poppykettle Papers, p. 240; January, 2001, Wendy Lukehart, review of Who Is the World For?, p. 107; February, 2004, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of Shakespeare: His Work and His World, p. 82; May, 2005, Heather E. Miller, review of Pictures Telling Stories: The Art of Robert Ingpen, p. 152.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1996, p. 403.

ONLINE

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Alumni Web site, http://www.alumni.rmit.edu.au/ (December 1, 2005), "Robert Ingpen."

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