Janusz Stanny

Born in 1932, Stanny is described as one of the most known and one of the greatest illustrators and graphic artists of polish posters, drawings and books.

In 1952-56, he studied the posters under Henryk Tomaszewski. Stanny took on graphic design and animation.

To get an idea of the geography of my students’ thinking, at the beginning I’ve asked them to answer with a  drawing to my question – ‘Why doesn’t this cat fish the mice?’ – It was a good test – you had to switch to thinking with the picture.” – Janusz Stanny

Three gentlemen in a boat (and a dog)

 A lot of his work included humour and strong lines and blocks of colours, while at the same time, showing appreciation for the negative space.

Janusz Stanny is the author of over 200 book covers, which include those for: ”Pan Tadeusz”; ”Don Kichot”; Andersen’s ‘Fairytales”;  ”O malarzu rudym jak cegła”; ”Koń i kot” (the last two he wrote himself) etc.

The Island of missing ships

   I have been a viewer of his work through my childhood books and the occasional movie posters that I have seen across the older books or in antiquaries.

What struck me with his works is the use of colour and the images used. The are often abstract but used along with collage parts and lines, merging them together.

The books he wrote, where taken from the images in his head. He had the images already constructed, the text had to come in later.

I enjoy Stanny’s admission that when a client saw his image of a blue dwarf, he protested that dwarves are red. But Stanny said that he saw a blue dwarf and it stayed at that. I like that confidence that he had, especially when working during the times when communism was at large in Poland and sometimes the posters or covers included the signs against that ideology, but he also didn’t stream away from it, he just did what he did, and that was what mattered the most.


”When you illustrate, you have to read, I’m not saying just the classics, that are illustrated, but also about the human, who wrote them, as you should to know something about them.” – Janusz Stanny

He was a promotor of around 250 diplomas. He died on the 13 February 2015, just sixteen days before his 82nd birthday.

About those two that stole the moon

One of his works that I wish to have done, comes from his own book – ”About a painter, ginger like a brick”, this book was also an inspiration for a short children’s book story that I have just finished writing and hopefully will be able to illustrate soon.

”About a painter, ginger like a brick”

Here is the piece that I wish I have done:


It is actually a spread of a book. What has captured my interest in these two images is the use of media. The use of wax candle brings me back to the age of seven and drawing the stick figures of my parents on a big piece of paper, while at the same time I am unable to properly draw a straight line. On the other hand the use of black ink draws into the effect of balance between the two mediums, as well as it shows that an illustrator can do both, the professional image and revert back to the use of childhood mediums that were available to us during the 1950’s and 1990’s. The third reason that made me look at this spread is the positioning of the text and it’s font. Instead of making his own font, Stanny has decided to use what already was there and he didn’t use it in a fancy way, I enjoy that casual positioning of the text as it still integrates well with the images.

Moreover Stanny’s images show that there doesn’t have to be a multitude of colours in a children’s book, it can be varied, it can be limited. You just have to be clever about the use of it.