The Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna, who created iconic children’s book character Miffy, died on 16 February 2017 aged 89 in his hometown of Utrecht. His career spanned 60 years, during which he authored 124 picture books including 32 books about the renowned little white bunny character.
Bruna’s graphic and brightly coloured style of illustration and endearing characters made his books instantly legible and relatable to children across the world, cleverly transcending culture and language. He was inspired by Matisse, Léger and Mondrian, and always worked in 2D, using simple shapes, strong black outlines and primary colours for his pictograms.
Asked to explain his success, Bruna once said: “I think it is because I spend a long time making my drawings as simple as possible, throwing lots away, before I reach that moment of recognition. What matters is reducing everything to its essence. Every shape captures the imagination, and I leave plenty of space for children’s imagination.”
Miffy is considered to be an icon of 20th Century illustration. The first Miffy book was published in 1955 and has since been published in over 50 languages, and sold over 85 million copies globally. Bruna is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren.