July 12, 2010

Károly Reich

When Laura and Emily brought back the below postcards from their inspiration trip to Old World Hungary, they could barely keep them away from me.  I was ready to start designing graphics immediately.

postcards of Károly’s Reich linocuts from Tea’s inspiration trip

I saw on the back of the cards that they were by Károly Reich, a Hungarian artist and children’s book illustrator.   I couldn’t wait to see more of his work.   Most of his work is in watercolor or gouache, which I found even more charming than his linocut pieces.  The more I found, the more obsessed I became.  I searched the internet for days trying to find every last piece of his artwork.  I was image searching google.hu.   I found myself on a random assortment of Japanese book sites that collected his work.

just a few of Károly Reich’s watercolor/gouache children’s book illustrations

I managed to get my hands on two of his books.  I got lucky with an Amazon used book search.   Matt the Gooseherd a Hungarian story told in English.  I love the idea of sharing a Hungarian tale for an English audience, I think its a great way for children to learn about new cultures.   Let’s See the Animals teaches children about a variety of woodland creatures, most of which live both in Hungary and North America.  AND! It’s illustrated in crayon!  Crayon!?  A real, respected artist who uses crayon!  I was smitten.  I was ready to design our entire line as a tribute to this man.  While the rest of the team didn’t really go for that idea, there are a few pieces that are inspired by his work (see below).

Tea’s tops inspired by
Károly Reich‘s illustrations
left:  Folk Tale Graphic Top
right:  Knights Layered Sleeves Tee


Let’s See The Animals and Matt the Gooseherd covers

And if anyone out there knows how to get their hands on this Reich Károly collective book, let me know – I’m still searching for it!

fun fact: I was having a hard time determining if his name was Károly Reich or Reich Károly.  It seemed to be listed differently on different books.  I asked my aunt, a librarian, which she thought was correct.    Turns out that in Hungarian names are written backwards according to the Western way of writing names.  They are apparently the only country that does this.


  1. Zsuzsa says:

    Beautiful! I love it! I’ve been to Hungary 4 times and have never seen those postcards. Next time I am definitely searching for them!

    Oh and about the name order, I think you meant they are the only EUROPEAN country to list names as Family Name then Given Name. Chinese, Korean, and Japanese (I think maybe Vietnamese too?) do this also. It’s sometimes called “eastern name order”.

  2. Maureen Ahokas says:


    Chances are you’ve checked out the Hungarian equivalent of Ebay. There are several titles offered, perhaps the one you’re seeking will be there or added soon. Love Karoly Reich’s work.

  3. Kati says:

    This past spring my parents brought me boxes of books from my childhood, which I wanted to give to my 3-year-old daugher, Riley (who loves her Tea dresses, btw). One box was filled with nothing but Hungarian children’s books and I have spent hours with Riley going through them, reliving the joy I had as a child soaking in the colorful and amazing illustrations. Many of those books are by Karoly Reich. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the Tea designer was inspired by this illustrator, whose work I thought I alone appreciated today! Thanks for the tribute to this inspirational artist from my family’s homeland.

  4. katy says:

    Zsuzsa – good call on the name order.

    Maureen – thank you for the suggestion. I will definitely check it out.

    Kati – How fun! Let us know if you have any other great Hungarian children’s books we should know about.

  5. Nándor says:

    Hi Katy,
    I like also Károly Reich, I made about him an article in the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Károly_Reich(still in stub) because not too much information about him directly available, in this there is a link http://wcs.oisz.hu/51031/reich-karoly-grafikai/reich-galeria-kepzomuveszet-grafika.html about a gallery selling Reich’s work also book illustrated by Reich ( maybe this is a more direct way to buy books with Reich’s illustrations), give it a try maybe they are speaking English. I didn’t find email address only telephone number.
    When I was child I had a lot of books with Reich’s illustrations, and in all bookshops they were a lot. I thought that a childbook ‘must’ look like something with Reich illustration’s.
    Best Wishes

  6. Kati says:

    I meant to answer months ago but forgot. I will look at the names of the other authors and add t hem to this blog..if you are still maintaining it. My aunt just brought back from Budapest a wonderful print from Karoly Reich that is called The Magical Princess of Spring, which I’ve never seen before.

  7. Stella says:

    You can find a good selection of his postcards at the shop of the Royal Opera House in Budapest. A good excuse to make the trip!