Dick Bruna  

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Collection of 21 Dutch translations of 'romans durs' by Georges Simenon, in the Zwarte Beertjes collection, cover designs by Dick Bruna. Photo © JWG
Collection of 21 Dutch translations of 'romans durs' by Georges Simenon, in the Zwarte Beertjes collection, cover designs by Dick Bruna.
Photo © JWG

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Dick Bruna (August 23, 1927 – February 16, 2017) was a Dutch author, artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

Bruna is best known for his children's books which he authored and illustrated, now numbering over 200. His most notable creation is Miffy (Nijntje in the original Dutch), a small rabbit drawn with heavy graphic lines, simple shapes and primary colors. Other recurring characters include Boris the little boy bear and Barbara his girlfriend, Poppy the kind pig lady and Snuffy the dog. Additionally, Bruna has also created stories for characters such as Lottie, Farmer John, and Hettie Hedgehog.

Aside from his prolific catalog of children's books, Bruna also illustrated and designed book covers, posters and promotional materials for his father's publishing company A.W. Bruna and Zoon. His most popular designs graced the covers of the Zwarte Beertjes series of books.

Among his designs those for Simenon's Maigret are quite famous. They are typified by graphic silhouettes of a pipe on various backgrounds.



Dick Bruna's father eventually became the largest publisher in Netherlands. His company, A.W. Bruna & Zoon, had a bookstand at virtually every one of the country's abundant railway stations. His father's intentions were for Bruna to follow in his footsteps, but Bruna had different plans. Bruna's brother eventually took over the business, but Dick Bruna always remained a close collaborator. In 1955, while on holiday with his wife Irene and their child, he saw a rabbit hopping around their house and later made attempts to draw it, thereby creating Miffy. "Miffy" is the English-language name, whereas "Nijntje" (pronounced nein-che) is the original Dutch name of the rabbit, stemming from "konijntje" which is the diminutive form of "konijn" (rabbit).

Over the years Bruna has illustrated over 2,000 covers and over 100 posters for the family business, A.W. Bruna & Zoon. His most recognized illustrations were for the Zwarte Beertjes (English: little black bears) series of books, including The Saint, James Bond, Simenon, and Shakespeare.

In July 2014 he announced his retirement; the rights to the Miffy character will not be sold.

In March 2016 he was awarded the Max Velthuijs-prijs.

Bruna died in Utrecht in February 2017 at the age of 89.

Bibliography (as children's author)

To date, Dick Bruna has published 120 children's book titles, the most recent being "Queen Miffy" in 2007.

  • 1953 The Apple
  • 1955 Toto In Volendam, Miffy, Miffy at the Zoo, The Small King
  • 1957 Tijs, The Car
  • 1959 The Apple, The Bird, Kitty Nell, Tilly and Tessa
  • 1962 The Egg, The King, Circus, The Fish
  • 1963 Christmas, Miffy, Miffy at the Zoo, Miffy in the Snow, Miffy at the Seaside, Little Bird Tweet
  • 1964 The School, The Sailor
  • 1966 Cinderella, Hop-o'-My-Thumb, Red Riding Hood, Snow White
  • 1967 B is for Bear
  • 1968 A Story to Tell, I Can Count
  • 1969 Snuffy, Snuffy and the Fire, I can Read, I Can Read More
  • 1970 Miffy Goes Flying, Miffy's Birthday
  • 1972 I Can Count More, My Vest is White, Animal Book, Animals From Our Land, Animals From Other Countries
  • 1974 Another Story to Tell, I Am a Clown
  • 1975 Flower Book, Miffy at the Playground, Miffy in the Hospital
  • 1976 I Can Read Much More, I Can Read Difficult Words
  • 1977 Basje Goes to Stay at the Children's Neurology Department, Poppy Pig, Poppy Pig's Garden
  • 1979 Birthday Book for UNICEF, Miffy's Dream
  • 1980 Poppy Pig Goes to Market, When I Grow up, I Can Do Sums, I Can Do More Sums, Children's Hemophilia Book
  • 1982 Blue Boat, Round, Square, Triangular, Farmer John, Miffy's Bicycle
  • 1984 The Rescue, The Orchestra, Miffy at School
  • 1985 My Book of Sports, Whose Hat is That, Back to Front
  • 1986 Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, Poppy Pig's Birthday, Snuffy's Puppies
  • 1988 Miffy Goes to Stay, Grandpa and Grandma Bunny, Stop at the Kerb! Template:Sic, Iris- A Book Without Words (revised edition, 2000)
  • 1989 Boris Bear, Boris and Barbara, Boris on the Mountain
  • 1990 The Writer, Lottie, Miffy is Crying, Miffy's House
  • 1992 Auntie Alice's Party
  • 1994 Boris in the Snow, Boris, Barbara and Benny, Poppy Pig is Sick
  • 1995 Hettie the Hedgehog, Moo Says the Cow, Miffy in the Tent
  • 1996 What We're Going to Be, The Dolly's Hair is Red, Boris Bear's Boat, Dear Grandma Bunny
  • 1997 Do You Know Why I Am Crying?, Miffy at the Gallery
  • 1998 Poppy Pig Goes on Holiday, Poppy Pig's Shop, Caleb and Noah's Arc
  • 1999 Miffy and Melanie, Ping and Bing, Boris and the Umbrella
  • 2000 Mister Knee
  • 2001 Miffy and the Ghost, Miffy and the Fairy
  • 2002 Miffy Dances, Boris the Pilot, Barbara's Clothes Chest
  • 2003 Boris the Champion, Miffy's Letter, The New Baby
  • 2004 A Song for Poppy Pig, Miffy's Garden
  • 2005 Snuffy is Lost, Boris and Ko, Miffy in Lolly Land, Boris Does the Shopping, A Flute for Miffy
  • 2006 Peter Bird, Flopear
  • 2007 Queen Miffy

As appeared in 'Dick Bruna' 2006, with edits made by Dolph Kohnstamm based on a conversation with Bruna.


At a young age Bruna started drawing, but was also influenced by artists of other art forms. He drew covers for his school newspaper in Walt Disney style. Later he admired Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

The biggest influence was perhaps Matisse. Dick Bruna's first works were based on collages by the French painter. Bruna has also been noted to have been influenced by the Dutch graphic design movement, De Stijl, in particular the work of architect Gerrit Rietveld.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Dick Bruna" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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