Ludwig Bemelmans

LEXP: B - February 11, 2016. By: Karina Moon


The story madeline is about a school of girls under the care of Miss Clavel. One of the students Madeline encounters a dog who they all love very much. They name the dog Miss Genevieve, until one day Lord Cucuface, a trustee who came for inspection, demanded the dog leave. The girls were so saddened by this, they looked all over town for Miss Genevieve. Finally one night Miss Clavel found the dog and brought her back to the school, where Miss Genevieve gave birth to a litter of puppies.

Literary Elements

All of the elements listed are very recognizably displayed through the illustrations of this book. When the students would leave the school the illustrations would emphasize the setting by going from the yellow pictures to a colorful scene, both displayed below. The characters are also well illustrated consistently throughout the book illustrating what is happening during the story. Finally, in my opinion, the style of the images in this book seem to reflect the plot of the story in the sense that they are both somewhat hectic and busy.

Physical Features and Interplay of Text and Illustration

This book is a visual adventure, the main element of the book is most certainly the images. The first look you get of the book gives a general feel of this idea with an illustration, like the ones you will find in the book, taking over the entire cover. Inside of the book; like the cover did-the images take up almost all of ever page with a neutral small text font at the bottom. The text of the story is simple enough that you don't need to read bulky sections of text, rather you can enjoy the artistic aspects of the story. Nonetheless the illustrations are supported by the text which still makes it a very important component of this book.

Visual Elements and Elements of Illustration

In terms of each individual illustration, the images have a sort of messy style. The lines aren't perfect, there are some scribbled shapes, and the colorful pictures aren't perfectly colored inside the lines. As I said earlier, the color of the images switch off. There is a yellow (which could be a depiction of warmth, comfort, joy, etc) theme to some pictures and color applied to others. The yellow colored images also seem to have a closer view of the characters while the colored ones are from a farther, bird's eye type of point of view. The size of the images is very consistent, keeping the composition very straight forward and steady throughout the book, but the changes in style are really useful to keep a child's eye engaged. Texture also plays a role in these illustrations where these images are two dimensional and not so realistic looking, leaving room for the reader to use imagination.

Artistic Style and Artistic Media

The artistic style of these illustrations seems to be expressionistic. The distorted shapes and exciting uses of color and lines are ways of expressing emotion through the images. The style of the art helps depict the world of Madeline and moods of the story. The works of the artist were created by ink and watercolor. Using quick bold mark making techniques and using a dry brush would depict his type of artwork most accurately.


There are so many elements of the book that support each other in creating this phenomenal storyline. The way that the artist chose to create these illustrations and physical features of the book is not only most likely a reflection of personal style, but for these specific reasons that I've analyzed in terms of how they support the story and overall feel of the book. I read this book and watched Madeline the movie as a child and am very surprised to now know all of the things that play in to creating the exact work of art that this book is.


"The Illustration Watercooler." The Illustration Watercooler. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

"Picture Books - Artistic Elements." Picture Books - Artistic Elements. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.