October 25, 1939|
Brooklyn, New York, United States
July 12, 2001 (aged 61)|
New York City, New York, United States
|Known for||Book jacket design, children's book illustration|
Fred Marcellino (October 25, 1939 – July 12, 2001) was an American illustrator and later an author of children's books who was very influential in the book industry. Publisher Nan Talese said that Marcellino could "in one image, translate the whole feeling and style of a book." Such was the case with his evocative painting for Judith Rossner's August, published and ed by Talese.
Among many other commissions, he was responsible for the covers of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale, Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities and the 1987 Dell Laurel Leaf ion of Allen Appel's Time After Time.
Born in Brooklyn, Marcellino began as an abstract expressionist painter and spent 1963 studying in Venice on a Fulbright Scholarship. Returning to the United States, he went in a new direction as a designer and illustrator with the main focus on LP cover art illustrating the albums of such singers and groups as Loretta Lynn, Manhattan Transfer and Fleetwood Mac. By 1969, he was creating record album covers for Capitol, Decca and PolyGram.
He entered the book publishing field by 1974, producing 40 jackets a year for 15 years. He is sometimes cred with having revolutionized the style of book cover design in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s with notable work on such books as Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Charles Dickinson's Waltz in Marathon and William Wharton's Birdy.
Illustrators were sometimes presented with tip sheets suggesting pages in the manuscript the illustrator might find a suitable character or location to illustrate. Marcellino, however, insisted on reading the entire manuscript and producing a carefully designed, tasteful illustration that captured the overall mood of the book, often symbolically. Art director Steven Heller described Marcellino's approach:
In the mid-1980s, he began doing children's books, starting with Tor Seidler's A Rat's Tale. He found it to be a different experience, commenting:
Charles Perrault's Puss in Boots, his first full-color picture book, won a 1991 Caldecott honor, and he won more awards with The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Wainscott Weasel, The Pelican Chorus and Other Nonsense, The Story of Little Babaji (a revision of The Story of Little Black Sambo) and Ouch! (adapted from the Grimm tale, The Devil and His Three Golden Hairs).
He moved into writing with I, Crocodile (1999), honored by The New York Times (Best Books of the Year), Publishers Weekly (Best Book of the Year), Child magazine (Best Book of the Year), The New York Times Book Review (Ten Best Illustrated Picture Books) and the ALA Notable Book.
In 1998, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, and he died on July 12, 2001. At the time of his death, he was working on the I, Crocodile sequel, Arrivederci, Crocodile.
In December 2016, it was announced that "Arrivederci Crocodile," would be completed by the French illustrator Eric Puybaret and published in September 2019 by Atheneum. 
• November 9, 2002 - January 26, 2003: Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
• April 7 - July 29, 2007: Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California
• June 9 - October 29, 2011: National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, Abilene, TX
• April 6 - May 20, 2012: Stamford Museum and Nature Center, Stamford, CT
• July 14 - September 29, 2012: Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
• October 15 - December 24, 2012: Abraham Art Gallery at Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX
• March 28 - June 2, 2013: Children's Museum of Houston, Houston, TX
• November 17, 2013 - January 17, 2014: Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, TX
• June 30, 2015 - October 25, 2015: Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA