Anyone who grew up in the 70's probably knows about the books of Beverly Cleary, especially stuff like Ramona The Pest and Runaway Ralph. But the thing I loved and still love about those books was the art of Louis Darling. While trying to do a bit web reserch on the guy, I was amazed at how little information I could find. I'd consider him a big influence as far as my artwork goes.
His stuff always had a sense of movement and fun.
I was always impressed by how simple yet detailed his art was.
And his expressions could not be beat.
It's sad that publishers are replacing Darling's artwork with new "modern" art to keep the book up to date. They're missing the point. The thing I loved about the books were their sense of nostagia. Even as a kid reading them in the 1970's, I knew they where about a time and a place long gone. But I didn't mind, and I doubt kids today would either.