Tuesday, September 3, 2013

James Affleck Shepherd

J. A. Shepherd is not as well known nowadays as he should be. 
I first came across his work during the production of Roger Rabbit in London, when animator Chuck Gammage showed me one of his illustrated books. It was called "Zig Zags at the Zoo" and was published in 1894. Shepherd caricatures animals beautifully, and he often depicts them in anthropomorphic ways. He has no trouble whatsoever mixing animal with human anatomy to create unique personality types.
Shepherd was born November 1866 in London. As an illustrator he published his cartoons in Punch and Strand Magazine.
The gorgeous images shown here are from the 1926 edition of Joel Chandler Harris' "Nights with Uncle Remus".  I find his approach very charming, but also sophisticated. Shepherd knew exactly how to simplify the appearance of animals to bring out their main characteristics. 
Like a pre-animation Milt Kahl.

That lion is just amazing! A completely plausible pose.

Every pose a gem in this fun composition!


  1. The bear is too much. I did not know his work and I think I will make a post on him :-)

  2. I really love the way the four legged animals stand upright,you can almost feel how uneasy it is for them to walk like this.
    Sullivant's animals give that impression too.
    Thanks for these ,Andreas!

  3. Didn't know this artist, so inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Fabulous! I have an original of mice called "Not on Squeaking Terms" ... Lovely to see more of his work!