Maurice Sendak’s Techniques

One of my favorite illustrators is Maurice Sendak. I tried without success to find any information online about his techniques. I only found a few museum originals, and I could tell that he usually used a “normal” sized piece of paper (8 1/2″ x 11″ or slightly larger).

So I needed to do my own research and study his techniques by making quick sketches. (I wasn’t interested in making an exact copy, but really wanted to learn more about his cross-hatching and strokes.)

Here are a few of my sketches from my notebook. I quickly discovered that  he must’ve used a pen around or less than .3 mm.


Also, his strokes were especially long and continuous in the background, and he almost covered the page with cross-hatching.


In certain parts of his illustrations, he used different colored inks.  (I’m excited to try out some new grey pens that are even thinner.)










I noticed a picture on the wall of a monster that Max drew.  I had never seen it before. It’s fun the observations you can make, while copying other artist’s illustrations.

Copy of Sendak’s Dog








I listened to some old interviews and learned  that the initial book proposal was  Where the Horses Are, but he had trouble drawing horses. Here is a copy of one of his monsters. He said that they were modeled after elderly relatives.  Can’t you picture them?









I’d love to hear about the techniques that you’ve discovered.

Thanks for visiting!

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