Ernest Howard Shepard was born on December 10, 1879, in London. He entered the Royal Academy School when he was 8 years old, where he studied drawing and painting from life, and won several medals. He exhibited his first picture when he was 22. He published his first drawing in Punch, one of Britain’s most famous magazines, at the age of 28.
He first illustrated the book covers for Thomas Nelson’s editions of Tom Brown’s Schooldays and David Copperfield. When A.A. Milne asked the editors of Punch who might be a good illustrator for some verse he was writing, they suggested Ernest Shepard. Milne didn’t particularly like Shepard’s drawings for Winnie the Pooh, but the public did. Shepard used his son’s teddy bear, “Growler,” as the model for Pooh.
Shepard illustrated other books, among them Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. He was not the original illustrator of that book, but arguably the most memorable. Shepard wrote two children’s books of his own, as well as two autobiographies. He received the Order of the British Empire in 1972.
In 1976, this favorite illustrator passed away in Sussex, where he had lived with his wife and two children.