news from ekklesia

news from ekklesia

By staff writers
11 Mar 2004

Biblical artist is world best seller

-11/3/04

Publisher HarperCollins has claimed the illustrator of the Good News Bible as the worldís best selling artist.

In the 1970s, Annie Vallotton drew the simple illustrations for the Good News Bible, a new basic English translation. She provided 500 line drawings of figures dancing, praying, fighting and raising the dead. These depicted not only the scripture, but the translators' philosophy that the Bible should be accessible and enjoyable.

Her previous work was Priority, a book of 60 drawings covering the life of Jesus. This fell far enough short of bestseller status for her Parisian publisher, who allegedly dumped 3,000 copies in the Seine. But a New York publisher thought it was a good enough book to commission her to do the good book.

Marketed especially for children and second-language readers, the Good News Bible has sold 140 million copies worldwide. This multiplied by 500 pictures, say the publishers, gives Vallotton a world record 70 billion picture sales.

The league table maths may be dubious (by the same rules Charles Schulz of ìPeanutsî must have sold more in book form alone, let alone newspaper strips), but even being one of the world's bestsellers is quite an achievement for a publicity-shy religious artist. Some may think it's appropriate that the world's bestselling artist is one nobody has heard of, seeing as the Bible is the bestseller few people actually read.

Similarly, the charm of the illustrations is in their unassuming simplicity. Few of her characters have much in the way of faces - or any other detail - and yet they are full of life and character, and can be very evocative.

Vallotton's aim, she says, is "to give maximum expression with a minimum of lines".

Biblical artist is world best seller

-11/3/04

Publisher HarperCollins has claimed the illustrator of the Good News Bible as the worldís best selling artist.

In the 1970s, Annie Vallotton drew the simple illustrations for the Good News Bible, a new basic English translation. She provided 500 line drawings of figures dancing, praying, fighting and raising the dead. These depicted not only the scripture, but the translators' philosophy that the Bible should be accessible and enjoyable.

Her previous work was Priority, a book of 60 drawings covering the life of Jesus. This fell far enough short of bestseller status for her Parisian publisher, who allegedly dumped 3,000 copies in the Seine. But a New York publisher thought it was a good enough book to commission her to do the good book.

Marketed especially for children and second-language readers, the Good News Bible has sold 140 million copies worldwide. This multiplied by 500 pictures, say the publishers, gives Vallotton a world record 70 billion picture sales.

The league table maths may be dubious (by the same rules Charles Schulz of ìPeanutsî must have sold more in book form alone, let alone newspaper strips), but even being one of the world's bestsellers is quite an achievement for a publicity-shy religious artist. Some may think it's appropriate that the world's bestselling artist is one nobody has heard of, seeing as the Bible is the bestseller few people actually read.

Similarly, the charm of the illustrations is in their unassuming simplicity. Few of her characters have much in the way of faces - or any other detail - and yet they are full of life and character, and can be very evocative.

Vallotton's aim, she says, is "to give maximum expression with a minimum of lines".

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.