Istvan Banyai

Istvan Banyai (born February 27, 1949 in Budapest, [ñ]]) is a Hungarian illustrator and animator. He received his BFA from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design.

In 1995 Banyai produced his first wordless children's book, Zoom. Honored as one of the best children's books of the year by The New York Times and Publishers Weekly, Zoom was soon published in 18 languages.[citation needed] He went on to author four more books and illustrate many more in collaboration with other writers and poets. "It's refreshing to encounter a group of virtually wordless books that invite children to consider their world from a point of view they may not have otherwise considered. The most stunning is Zoom, written—or, rather, imagined and then illustrated—by Istvan Banyai." [1]

While he continues to produce commercial illustrations for publications such as The New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Time and The Atlantic Monthly; cover art for Sony and Verve Records; and animated short films for Nickelodeon and MTV Europe, he is internationally respected for his unique philosophical and iconoclastic vision, thus transcending the status of commercial illustrator to gifted artist. Banyai describes his art as "an organic combination of turn-of-the-century Viennese retro, interjected with American pop, some European absurdity added for flavor, served on a cartoon-style color palette... no social realism added."[2]

Having moved from Budapest to live in Paris, Los Angeles, and Manhattan, Banyai now lives with his wife in rural Connecticut.


  • Zoom (New York: Viking, 1995)
  • Re-Zoom (New York: Penguin Group, 1998)
  • REM: Rapid Eye Movement (New York: Viking, 1998)
  • Delzell, Tom. The Slang of Sin (Merriam Webster, 1998)
  • Sandburg, Carl. Poems for Children: Nowhere near Old Enough to Vote (Random House, 1999)
  • Minus Equals Plus introduction by Kurt Andersen (New York: Abrams, 2001)
  • The Other Side (Chronicle Books, 2005)
  • Wiedemann, Julius, ed.Illustration Now! (Köln: Taschen, 2005)
  • Park, Linda Sue. Tap Dancing on the Roof (Clarion Books, 2007)
  • Steven Heller, Seymour Chwast. "Illustration, A Visual History" (New York: Abrams, 2008)
  • Taschen, "100 Illustrators"~ selection of today’s most successful and important illustrators from around the globe, by Steven Heller (Author), Julius Wiedemann (Editor) [3]


  • Ten Best Books of the Year, New York Times Book Review,1995
  • International Reading Association (IRA) Children's Choices Award,1997[4]
  • Publishers's Weekly, Best Books, 1995
  • American Illustration Cover, No18, November 1999
  • "Professor Emeritus", Moholy Nagy Academy of Art, Budapest, 2005
  • The Society of illustrators, Best illustrated childrenbook, "The Other Side", Gold Medal, 2007
  • 3x3, magazine of contemporary illustration, Silver Medal, 2008
  • Notable Children’s Books, Committee of the Association for Library Service to Children.[5]


  • Mark Vallen, "Illustrating War," Foreign Policy in Focus, March 18, 2009[6]
  • Patricia McCormick, "All Things Considered" November 12, 1995, The New York Times[7]
  • Sean Kelly, "Spring Children's Books: Stuff and Nonsense" May 16, 1999, The New York Times[8]
  • School Library Journal[9]
  • Step Inside Design[10]
  • "Hungary: an open book"[11]


  • "Stranger in a Strange Land", Retrospective solo exhibition in the Norman Rockwell Museum, Massachusetts, 2013.[12]
  • "Artists Against The War," Society of Illustrators, New York, January 2008
  • "Illuminare" Design Week Budapest. Hungary, 2005
  • Wordless book Festival, Kyoto, Japan, 2005
  • “America Illustrated” or the Best Contemporary American Illustrators, Teatrio association together with the Italian Foreign Affairs Department and the Embassy of the United States of America. Catalogue Cover Art, Published by Associazione Culturale Teatrio. Italy, 2000
  • Eastern European illustrators for The New York Times "Op-Ed". SVA, New York, 1998


  1. ^ Patricia McCormick (1995-11-12). "All Things Reconsidered". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  2. ^ "Minus Equals Plus by Istvan Banyai | 9780810929906 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble". Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  3. ^ 2014
  4. ^ "Welcome to the International Reading Association". 2014-03-18. Archived from the original on 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  5. ^ "Notable Children's Books: 2008". Booklist Online. 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  6. ^ [1] Archived September 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ (
  8. ^ Sean Kelly (1999-05-16). "Spring Children's Books; Stuff and Nonsense". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "STEP Design 100 Annual 2007: Editorial". 2011-07-16. Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  11. ^ [2] Archived August 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ JClowe (2012-11-25). "Istvan Banyai: Stranger in a Strange Land | Norman Rockwell MuseumNorman Rockwell Museum". Archived from the original on 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-06-27.