Shrek’s dad has died

‘Shrek’ Illustrator William Steig Dies
BOSTON – William Steig, an illustrator for The New Yorker who was known as the “King of Cartoons” for his award-winning, best-selling children’s books including “Shrek,” has died. He was 95.
Steig died of natural causes Friday night at his home in Boston, said his agent, Holly McGhee.
Steig combined a child’s innocent eye with idiosyncratic line to create a wonderful world of animal characters for his books and Edwardian-era dandies in his drawings.
“I carry on a lot of the functions of an adult but I have to force myself,” he said in a 1984 interview with People. “For some reason I’ve never felt grown up.”
His 1990 book about a green monster, “Shrek!,” was made into the hit film that in 2002 became the first winner of an Oscar in the new category of best animated feature. In a 1997 Boston Globe interview, he said he gave the filmmakers ideas for the script.
Steig sold his first cartoon to New Yorker editor Harold Ross in 1930 and was hired as a staff cartoonist.
Over the following seven decades, he produced more than 1,600 drawings and 117 covers for the magazine. He also wrote more than 30 children’s books, inducing Newsweek to dub him the “King of Cartoons.”
His cartoon style evolved from the straightforward worldly children he called “Small Fry” in the 1930s to the expressionist drawings of his later years that illuminated a word or phrase.
In the latter, clowns and princes and lovers came to life from Steig’s imagination. It was a pastoral place “where you hear plenty of laughter and only an occasional shriek of pain,” Lillian Ross once wrote.
Steig told the Globe he loved Rembrandt and Picasso and was “nuts about van Gogh.” And he said his own drawings have a light, feathery line “because I’m having fun.”
He began writing children’s books when he was 60. His third, “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble,” received the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1970.
Other notable children’s books included “Roland, the Minstrel Pig,” “Amos and Boris,” “Dominic,” “Abel’s Island,” “The Amazing Bone,” “Caleb and Kate,” “Doctor De Soto” and “Wizzil.”
Steig was born Nov. 14, 1907, in New York, the son of a house painter and a seamstress. He began drawing cartoons for his high school newspaper and attended the National Academy of Design.
In the ’30s he became fascinated with Freud and psychoanalysis. His 1942 book “The Lonely Ones” was hailed for its symbolic drawings of human neuroses. It was in print for 25 years.
For many years, Steig lived in a sprawling country house in Kent, Conn., where he took inspiration from the countryside.
“I find it hard … to do a job on order, even if the order comes from myself,” he once said. “I go to my desk without any plans or ideas and wait there for inspiration. Which comes if you get in the right frame of mind.”
Steig, who was married four times, was survived by his wife Jeanne, two daughters and a son.