Photo of a pile of Brian Froud fairy books

Inspiring Artists: Brian Froud

For me drawing is an attempt to understand what I feel about the world I live in. ” – Brian Froud, The Secret Sketchbooks

Brian Froud (1947 – ) is the embodiment of a fairy artist. With his unique take on the world of fairies, Brian Froud have created a widespread fanbase that like himself is very devoted to the world of fairies.

Mr. Froud is married to Wendy Froud and together they have a son named Tony. The Froud family is all very artistically engaged. Wendy creates the most stunning fairy doll sculptures and Tony is also a puppeteer, a master of stilts and an actor (He was the baby in the movie the Labyrinth). Brian and Wendy currently reside in Dartmoor, Britain whereas Tony lives with his wife Sarah in Oregon, USA.

Brian Froud’s paintings and drawings are often done as mixed media, he uses pencils, gouache, colored pencils, pastels and so on. All medias with which he seems very familiar and masters. He is capable of painting a fully realistically rendered figure but chooses more often than not, in the name of fairy, to use a far more imaginative route. His incredible imagination and skill have seen him nominated for the Chesley Award four times, and one time winning it with the interior illustrations of his book Good Faeries/Bad Faeries. However his most famous work is the creature designs with Jim Henson on the movies The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.


The fairies of Brian Froud are not your typical pretty-girl fairy and therein lies their charm. They are naughty, some are twisted, some are absolutely stunning, others are hideous and some wicked. They are truly creatures of nature and creatures of the wild.

I find it very intriguing that Brian Froud wholeheartedly believes in fairies. His conviction is fully apparent through his books but it is also infectious. You need to separate yourself from the idea of fairies as a full on creature and embrace them more as a feeling or aspect of nature. Hey, we all could use a little magic in our lives.

“You do not see fairies through the eyes, you see them through the heart and that took me a long time to learn because I was always trying to see them through my eyes. ” – Brian Froud, interview on Fairy Faith

When I first came across the artwork of Brian Froud I was immidiately sold and over the years I have gathered quite a collection of his books. My favourite remains to this day Good Faeries/Bad Faeries which was incidently also the first book of his that came into my possession. The book is very richly illustrated in full colours and it can be purchased of Amazon for a mere $19.80 currently, or just $1.79 if you don’t mind a used book. Trust me, it is worth the investment for the gorgeous illustrations alone.

I’ve compiled an Amazon widget for you with some of my favourite books of his:

World of Froud, Artist's Award 2005

In 2005, during my early meeting with Brian Froud’s artwork, I submitted my website to Froudian Artists of the month and was lucky enough to get picked along with two other artists. Looking back at my fairy drawings from then currently, I am mildly embarrassed but still, it was a huge compliment and more importantly encouragement at the time. The inspiration from it was one of the reasons I settled on pursuing art as a career.

To this day Brian Froud remains a huge inspiration to fairy fan across the globe. It is my hope his fairies may inspire you too.

Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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