Ernest Howard Shepard (10 December 1879 – 24 March 1976) was an English artist and book illustrator. He is known especially for illustrations of the anthropomorphic animal and soft toy characters in The Wind in the Willows and Winnie-the-Pooh.
Shepard was recommended to A. A. Milne in 1923 by E. V. Lucas. Milne initially thought Shepard's style was not what he wanted, but used him to illustrate the book of poems When We Were Very Young. Happy with the results, Milne then insisted Shepard illustrate Winnie-the-Pooh. Realising his illustrator's contribution to the book's success, the writer arranged for Shepard to receive a share of his royalties. Milne also inscribed a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh with the following personal verse:
When I am gone,
Let Shepard decorate my tomb,
And put (if there is room)
Two pictures on the stone:
Piglet from page a hundred and eleven,
And Pooh and Piglet walking...
And Peter, thinking that they are my own,
Will welcome me to Heaven.
Eventually Shepard came to resent "that silly old bear" as he felt that the Pooh illustrations overshadowed his other work.
Shepard modelled Pooh not on the toy owned by Milne's son Christopher Robin but on "Growler", a stuffed bear owned by his own son. Growler no longer exists, having been given to his granddaughter Minnie Hunt and subsequently destroyed by a neighbour's dog.
His Pooh work is so famous that 300 of his preliminary sketches were exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1969, when he was 90 years old.