Tomi Ungerer's adults-only 032c cover

Our children's author contributes an erotic cover image to Europe's leading fashion and art magazine
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Detail from 032c's Tomi Ungerer cover
Detail from 032c's Tomi Ungerer cover

We like to describe the wonderful Tomi Ungerer as the most famous children's book author you've never heard of. Yet, that's only half the story. The 82-year-old French author and illustrator began his career in the US, writing and drawing books for kids, but also contributed much more adult material to publications like The New York Times and Esquire, as well as making film posters for movies such as Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964).

 

Ungerer's Dr. Strangelove poster
Ungerer's Dr. Strangelove poster

Ungerer also contributed to the underground press, submitting anti-war illustrations as well as erotic drawings. His erotica is varied, from humorous takes on the sexual revolution through to darker sadomasochistic images, and a few, frankly unclassifiable series, such as his amphibian love manual, The Joy of Frogs.

 

Tomi Ungerer's The Joy of Frogs
Tomi Ungerer's The Joy of Frogs

It's hardly surprising that this work stymied his career as a children's author, yet it also strengthens his artistic credentials, proving creative freedom was worth more to him than commercial success.

 

Tomi Ungerer's 032c cover
Tomi Ungerer's 032c cover

This month, the brilliant Berlin magazine, 032c, has published a 22-page story on Ungerer, taking in old works and new. The feature, in the magazine's current winter 2013/14 edition, is accompanied by an erotic illustration, which graces the cover of a limited run of the magazine. It is totally unsuitable for children, but it is a great way to discover the saltier side of Tomi. Find out more here.

For more of Tomi's life story and work take a look at Far Out Isn't Far Enough, Ungerer's own account of his attempts to lead a simple life out in the wilds of Canada during the 1970s, or browse through his wonderful children's books here. You can buy them all from the people who made them, here.


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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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