Cover image for Civil War artist
Civil War artist
Morrison, Taylor.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Traces an illustrator's sketch of a Civil War battle from the time it leaves his hands, through the engraving and printing processes, and to its final publication in a newspaper.
General Note:
"Walter Lorraine books."
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 6.0 0.5 31087.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E468.9 .M86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E468.9 .M86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E468.9 .M86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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William Forbes arrived in New York in 1861 anxious to begin a career as an artist. Unable to find other work, he signed on with Burton's Illustrated News to sketch the battles of the Civil War. In a time when photographic images could not be reproduced in newspapers, the quickest and most practical means of documenting events was for artists to do sketches in the field. This meant that in times of war, they had to go right onto the battlefields and into the trenches alongside the soldiers.Appealing to young artists and history buffs alike, Taylor Morrison's stunning artwork and detailed text bring this fascinating time to life. This historical account of early news reporting takes readers from the first stages of the artist's battlefield sketches to the final printed newspaper page. This is a realistic portrayal that for many young readers will likely spark an interest in our country's Civil War and in history in general.

Author Notes

Taylor Morrison pairs his artistic talent with extensive research to bring readers engaging nonfiction picturebooks. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he has illustrated several books for children. He was born in Kansas, raised in Illinois, and now makes his home in Oregon.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-7. This unusual book introduces the process by which pictures of Civil War battles reached the public. The fictional story line begins in 1861. Artist William Forbes joins a corps of artists sent to the Virginia battlegrounds, sketches the soldiers in action, and completes a detailed drawing of the scene, which he sends by courier to Burton's Illustrated News in New York City. The heart of the book details the complex process of transferring the pencil drawing to a wood-block ink drawing to an engraving to an electrotype, which can be printed in the newspaper and distributed. A glossary of terms is appended. Apart from a long, confusing paragraph on electrotyping, the writing is clear as it splits the treatment into two distinct parts, the fictional story of Forbes and the technical process of printing. Well-designed and illustrated with attractive paintings, Morrison's book succeeds in documenting and making accessible a little-known aspect of history. --Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-This historically accurate account of a fictional sketch artist's role in recording events through illustrated news stories is presented in picture-book format. Morrison mentions the work of photographer Mathew Brady but explains that early photographs could not capture movement or be printed in newspapers. Thus, it was left to sketch artists to record Civil War battle scenes. The author carefully follows the four-week journey of a battlefield drawing from the artist's pad to the newspaper office via courier and once there through a multistep process to the printed page. While readers may not understand all of the stages of this time-consuming process, they will grasp its complexity. Morrison's attractive full-color illustrations provide additional informative detail. An excellent example of illustrated history.-Rosie Peasley, Empire Union School District, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.