Author, illustrator, and filmmaker Gerald McDermott died on December 26 at age 71. McDermott was a devoted, lifelong artist and was avidly interested in world mythologies. Early in his career, he created animated short films based on folklore and was a friend and colleague of mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, becoming the first fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation.
McDermott also wrote and illustrated many picture books, among them Anansi the Spider: A Tale from Ashanti (1972) and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest (1993), both of which were awarded Caldecott Honors. He won the 1975 Caldecott Medal for Arrow to the Sun: A Tale from the Pueblo. McDermott’s illustrations are dominated by bright, stylized forms, which often draw from indigenous art and highlight his fascination with the origins of stories.