I've been really inspired by illustrations lately and finding that I am incorporating hand drawn elements into my work as much as possible. Watching Antiques Roadshow a few months back I realized that I was introduced to one of my favorite artists at a very young age. Madeline was one of my favorite books as a child. I think the series is what initially drew me to my love of France and probably had a lot to do with my choice of studying French as my foreign language throughout school. I had never realized that the author and illustrator, Ludwig Bemelmans, had a career far beyond that of Madeline and Ms. Clavel. A quick google search showed me a lifetime of his illustrations just waiting for me to fall in love with.
The original illustrations brought to Antiques Roadshow that inspired my search. Very jealous! They are absolutely stunning. From pbs.org
Illustrations from the Madeline Series, from http://www.vinland.org/scamp/nuns/clavel/
Additional illustrations by Ludwig Bemelmans. Left: Children's Book Gallery, Right: From The Books of Exlibris
Eric Sturdevant's Flickr Photostream