The thing about E. H. Shepard is.
Not that he wields exquisite compositions like Heath Robinson. He does not stun us with genius color like Zwerger or knock us dead with impossible technique like Spirin. No hypnotic hatchings like Gorey, no oddly irresistible charm like Delphine Durand.
No. What Shepard’s drawings have are Character. Honest, believable character. Not Hilary Knight’s winning excesses, not Mo Willem’s hilarious theatrics. The real thing. Characters with emotions every child and adult can relate to.
The drawings Shepard did for Wind In The Willows and the Pooh books are timeless. No, that’s not exactly right. They are TIMELESS.
Why? Because the emotions that Shepard drew are timeless. His pen deftly portrays the things that unite all of us. Our humanity. That means everyone: innocent children, cynical adults, extremist nuts, numb taoists, crazy-busy illustrators. We all have the same things in common: Vanity. Curiosity. Pride. Arrogance. Innocence. Courage. Wonder. Generosity. Friendship. Doubt.
And then there is his lovely linework.