June 11, 2021

Zbigniew Rychlicki, illustrations.

"The book accompanies the child from the earliest years of his life. In these first years, the child begins to explore the world not through the sign of a letter, but through a colorful, legible illustration. Its task is to arouse interest in the content, stimulate the imagination and help in the difficult learning of the contemporary world". - Zbigniew Rychlicki

photo courtesy of the artist's family


Zbigniew Rychlicki has worked with extraordinary commitment for over forty years. Winner of over 20 domestic and foreign awards and distinctions, including the Hans Christian Andersen award in the field of illustration (1982) awarded by the Jury of the International Committee for Books for Children and Young People (IBBY) for outstanding artistic achievements. Illustrated over one hundred and fifty books and made thousands of drawings.



Zbigniew Rychlicki designed the graphic design of the "Miś" magazine, created the character of the iconic Teddy Bear Uszatek and illustrated: From things to things by Wanda Chotomska, Ludwik Jerzy Kern's Elephant Please, Maria Kownacka's Plastic Diary, Jonathan Swift's Travels by Gulliver amd Juliusz Verne's Mysterious Island.
For over 30 years he worked as the chief graphic designer at the Nasza Księgarnia Publishing Institute


"It started in Krakow, where Rychlicki spent the war. He studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and polished his workshop there (which was also useful in conspiratorial activities in forging stamps for fake Kennkarts). He drew and painted a little, and then, by the end of the German occupation, with a good reputation from the Institute and an abundant drawer output, he began studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. Then he often recalled his first book (Hanna Januszewska's "How Polish Pyza Wandered"), which he illustrated in Krakow as a 25-year-old.



Then he worked for a few years in Łódź, where he became involved - as a cover artist - with the seeds of "Books and Knowledge" and "Czytelnik", he designed posters and - for Studio Filmów Rysunkowych - decorations and patterns of characters. Finally, he took the position of the graphic manager of the "Przyjaciel" weekly, with which he moved to Warsaw, at that time he also worked as a collaborator for "Świerszczyk", where he used - at least in the sense of becoming aware of the ethos and possibilities of his own profession -  the lessons of Jan Marcin Szancer (from the previous generation of illustrators) and Olga Siemaszko (from the lower end of her own generation). He was thirty-one years old when he took up the position of the artistic and graphic director of the "Nasza Księgarnia" Publishing Institute.

So it was thirty-six years of professional work with a double (not counting his own creative work) cultural aspect. Assuming that the illustration is at least half the functional value of a children's book, the publishing house's editorial success is at least half that of the graphic artists and their conductor.  Secondly (the court confronted with the opinion of the archdearcher of illustrators at the Academy of Fine Arts Janusz Stanny) - it is difficult to overestimate the role of the artistic director of a children's publishing house, who, by taking over from the Academy of Fine Arts illustrators for diploma internships, and then for specific contracts for a specific work, teaches him, so to speak, to swim in deep water. Now let us leave this matter, but remember about Rychlicki whenever we read biographical notes of illustrators of a younger generation, where they talk about cooperation with "Nasz Księgarnia".


Stanisław K. Stopczyk, Katalog Ilustracje, BWA w Zamościu