A Watercolor Illustration from the book: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

                     A Watercolor Illustration from the book: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Watercolor World of The Little Prince Created by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Monday, December 15, 2014

Antoine de Saint- Exupéry is known for his beloved children’s book, The Little Prince. Its narrator is a pilot who has crash landed in a desert. Here he meets a boy, who turns out to be a prince from another planet. The prince tells him about his adventures on Earth and his treasured rose from his home. He is disappointed when he unearths that roses are common on Earth. A desert fox convinces him that the prince should love his own rare rose and ultimately finds meaning to his life and the prince returns back home [3].

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was an aristocratic French writer and poet and was one of five children in his family.  Notably, Exupéry was also aviator. He was known for flying with a notebook so he could write and reflect about the world below him. His publication of Vol de Nuit (Night Flight) in 1931 established him as a rising star in the literary world and his flights also inspired many other publications, as well as the opening to The Little Prince. Exupéry experienced his own desert crash, which was one of the many inspirations for The Little Prince. Exupéry was a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and won the U.S. National Book award. Unfortunately, Exupéry died at the age of 44 years old after going on a reconnaissance mission from which he never returned. The Little Prince would be the last thing that he would ever publish and eerily enough our beloved Little Prince watched the sun set exactly 44 times.

Exupéry wrote The Little Prince in New York City and Long Island in 1942. It was originally written in French, which can be seen on some of his watercolors illustrations he created for the book, but it was not published in French until two years after his death. Since then The Little Prince has been translated into over 260 different languages and became a classic among children and adults for its timeless magic. This being because it is an uncategorizable neverland between a children’s story and philosophical fable for adults [1]. From 1993 until the intro of the Euro, Antoine's portrait and his drawings from The Little Prince were on France's 50 Franc bank note and the 100 Franc commemorative coin. Hundreds of museums, galleries and more have been created for The Little Prince all over the world.  Ironically, this beloved fiction only stayed on New York Times Best Seller list for two weeks.

Exupéry was a rare writer who also illustrated his own work. He would work tirelessly into the night as stated by Maria Popova, “He wrote well into the night and had no scruples about calling up a friend at 2 A.M. to read a passage aloud; he carried a cup of coffee or tea with him at all times and almost always had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.” [1] 

—Katie Bethge


Katie Bethge is a first year graduate student at SUNY, Buffalo State College and a graduate of Buffalo State College with an undergraduate major in Art Education. She lives in Hamburg with her four cats and expecting her first child in March. She enjoys working on her own watercolor and charcoal artworks.


1. Popova, Maria. "Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Original Watercolors for The Little Prince." Brain Pickings. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/02/03/exupery-little-prince-morgan-drawings/>.

2. http://www.poemhunter.com/antoine-de-saint-exupery/biography/

3. Liukkonen, P., & Ari Pesonen, A. (2008). Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944) - in full Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupéry . In Books & Writers. Retrieved No