Clarence W. Anderson was born April 12, 1891, in Wahoo, Nebraska. After graduation from high school, he taught in a country school for two years as he earned enough money to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1925, he moved to New York and became a freelance artist. He developed a lasting interest in horses, and practiced drawing them when possible. He also studied their anatomy and made sure he knew how the horse fit together. In many of his books, Mr. Anderson devotes a chapter to a single element in breeding, care or racing, and was careful to give completely accurate information. He later qualified as a judge of hunters and jumpers for the American Horse Shows Association.
Anderson began his career by illustrating the stories of other authors, but eventually begain writing texts to accompany his own drawings (he was nearly fifty before he began writing and illustrating children's books). All of his drawings were in pen and ink because he rejected the notion that children's books must be illustrated in color. If the drawings were realistic and lively enough, he felt, children would be unaware of the lack of color (ironically, reprints of his Billy & Blaze books today have been "colorized"). Anderson found that lithography was the perfect way to reproduce his drawings, and many of his books were done directly on stone. His works have been displayed in galleries and museums throughout the United States.
C.W. married a poet named Madeline Paltenghi, and the two never had children. He loved riding his horses daily, so at one point the couple traded a portfolio of his drawings for three acres of land in New Hampshire, where they built a house and stable—appropriately christened "The House That Blaze Built." C. W. Anderson died on March 26, 1971. His stories for children and adults live on, earning him an enduring reputation as a master illustrator, engaging storyteller, and unabashed admirer of the power and beauty of horses.
We carry all eight Billy and Blaze books that are in print. There are three more titles in the series, and Mr. Anderson wrote several other books: