William D. Berry (1926-1979) was a nationally known and
skilled wildlife artist. He spent a lifetime studying and drawing
the creatures around him. He is known to many through his books
Deneki and Buffaloland. He illustrated other volumes and expressed
his art in many other forms, working in pencil, oil, silkscreen,
and bronze sculpture. His work could also be lighthearted as his
cartoons and murals, especially for children. Although he left
relatively few finished works, he did leave a wealth of material in
his field sketches, notebooks, stories, and letters.
Berry 's interest in animals and their habitat had developed at an early age. "Well, I took up drawing when I was about three," he told Ann Kacsur, "From then on, I spent most f my time either chasing bugs and lizards or drawing pictures." Until Bill went to school, he received little art instruction, and during his public school hears, he mostly disagreed with his art teachers. He wanted to make drawings "that looked like something," while his instructors insisted that he "loosen up" and express himself.
In 1946, Bill attended the School of Applied Arts in Glendale, California, where the 1920 style of illustration was taught. Bill remained true to his own drawing techniques, but also took advantage of instruction at the college, despite the criticism he encountered. "They kept telling me that I was a nut."