Reynold Ruffins

Reynold Ruffins [1](born 1930[2]) is an African American painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. With Milton Glaser, Edward Sorel, and Seymour Chwast, Ruffins founded Push Pin Studios in 1954.[3] An illustrator of more than twenty children's books,[4] Ruffins is known for his "stylistic versatility, vibrant colors, and penchant for fanciful creatures."[2] He has had many solo exhibitions and been part of group show exhibitions at Paris' Musée du Louvre, and in Milan, Bologna, and Tokyo.

Reynold Ruffins
Born1930 (age 8889)
EducationCooper Union
Known forPainting, Children's book illustration, Graphic design
AwardsAugustus St. Gaudens Award (Cooper Union)
Cooper Union Presidential Citation
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award, 1997
New York Art Directors Club
Silver Medal, the Society of Illustrators


Ruffins attended the High School of Music & Art[5] in New York City and Cooper Union. In 1954, he co-founded Push Pin Studios[6] with fellow Cooper graduates Glaser,[7] Sorel,[8] and Chwast.[9] In 1963, after leaving Push Pin, Ruffins founded another design studio with Simms Taback,[10] a partnership which lasted for more than thirty years.[4] Commercial clients included IBM, AT&T, Coca-Cola, CBS, Pfizer, the New York Times, Time Life, Fortune, Gourmet Magazine, and the U.S. Post Office.

Ruffins entered the field of children's book illustration in 1969, and throughout the 1970s and early 1980s he frequently collaborated with writer Jane Sarnoff.[2]

In 1991, Ruffins teamed with Whoopi Goldberg and Herbie Hancock to produce "Koi and the Kola Nuts," a highly praised video for children which was part of Rabbit Ears Productions' We All Have Tales series.

Ruffins lives in Sag Harbor, New York; his wife Joan passed in 2013.[4][11]


A professor emeritus at CUNY's Queens College, Ruffins has also taught at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons The New School for Design, and was a visiting adjunct professor at Syracuse University.


Ruffins was the recipient of the Augustus St. Gaudens Award (presented by Cooper Union) for outstanding professional achievement in the arts. The Cooper Union Presidential Citation was also presented to Ruffins for his work and prominence in his profession. Ruffins' work led to awards from the New York Art Directors Club and a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators. Ruffins won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award in 1997 for the book Running the Road to ABC (written by Denize Lauture).[12]


As illustrator, unless otherwise noted:

  • The Amazing Maze (E.P. Dutton, 1969) — written by Harry Hartwick (co-illustrated with Simms Taback)
  • Camels: Ships of the Desert (HarperCollins, 1974) — written by John Frederick Waters
  • The Chess Book (Scribner, 1973) — written by Jane Sarnoff
  • The Monster Riddle Book (Scribner 1975) — written by Jane Sarnoff
  • The Code & Cipher Book (MacMillan, 1975) — written by Jane Sarnoff
  • Space (Scribner, 1978) — written by Jane Sarnoff
  • My Brother Never Feeds the Cat (Scribner, 1979) — writer and illustrator
  • Misoso: Once Upon a Time Tales from Africa (Knopf, 1994) — written by Verna Aardema
  • Running the Road to ABC (Simon & Schuster, 1996) — written by Denize Lauture
  • Everywhere Faces Everywhere (Simon & Schuster, 1997) — written by James Berry
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Trout! (Henry Holt, 1998) — written by Teri Sloat
  • The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story (Simon & Schuster, 2000) — written by Judy Sierra
  • Marco's Run (Green Light Readers, 2001) — written by Wesley Cartier
  • A Friend for King Amadou (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) — written by Robert McKissack


  2. Zipes, Jack. Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (Oxford University Press, 2006).
  4. Dermont, Stacy. "Who's Here: Reynold Ruffins/Artist," Dan's Papers #44 (Feb. 4, 2011).
  5. "LaGuardia Arts Alumni," Archived 2014-04-08 at LaGuardia High School official website. Accessed Dec. 26, 2014. (The H.S. of Music & Art later merged with another school to become LaGuardia H.S.)
  6. jessilynneee. "History of Graphic Design Blog".
  7. Oloizia, Jeff. "Milton Glaser's Legacy".
  8. "Edward Sorel". ADC • Global Awards & Club.
  9. "Pushpin Gallery".
  10. "About Simms Taback - Biography".
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


  • Chwast, Seymour, The Push Pin Graphic (Chronicle Books, 2004) ISBN 0-8118-4103-0
  • Meggs, Phillip. A History of Graphic Design (NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983) ISBN 0-471-29198-6
  • Patton, Sharon F. African American Art (Oxford University Press, 1998) ISBN 0-19-284213-7
  • Pitz, Henry Clarence. 200 Years of American Illustration (NY: Random House, 1977) ISBN 0-394-41474-8
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