Pegana Press Books

Charles van Sandwyk

         ​Born in Johannesburg, South Africa Charles van Sandwyk emigrated to Vancouver BC, Canada with his family in 1977.  While still in his teens,  he was selling his drawings and watercolours reminiscent in a style of the old prints and paintings which hung in the family home.

         The National Library of Canada has maintained archives on the work of this award winning artist since 1986 and his watercolours, etchings and books are collected across North America and Europe.

         Charles divides his time between Vancouver and Fiji, where he paints and writes.  His own books are designed, written and illustrated by himself, and he oversees every step of their publication.  To read more about Charles van Sandwyk and his published works, visit CVS Fine Arts and the Fairy Press.​  


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Mike talks about Charles van Sandwyk and The Golden Key:


When envisioning the book in my head I felt we needed a beautiful watercolour to begin the book with.  I immediately thought of Charles van Sandwyk as the only living artist who could work in that medium as well as the old masters.  His eyes and artistic soul had early on been deeply imbued with Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, realms of fairy and imagination.  He works on a remote island in the Fiji chain and is surrounded and influenced by the elements and the natural life pulsing around him.  His own unique style, while paying homage to the masters, are the vibrant colors he sees about him, and his gentle sense of whimsy and comfort.  When I was able to reach Charles, he was familiar with The Golden Key but hadn't read it in years so he read a copy and was moved enough by it to not only agree to do a watercolour but also some pen and ink drawings to thematically tie the book together.  Charles is a true renaissance man in that he makes and designs his own books by hand, does hand copper etching plates and uses old world techniques for his work.  It was truly a collaboration as he understood and was familiar with the papers and shades I was using and how his artwork would best translate to the mediums of the book.  He personally supervised the Giclee printing of the watercolour and volunteered to hand sign each one.  He really cares about making beautiful books and having the artwork be as fine as possible.  His wonderful pen and ink drawings of the aeranth, The Old Man of the Sea, and a stylized Golden Key to end the book were made into laser etched magnesium plates and locked into the press and printed letterpress.  It was a rare privilege to have someone as gifted as Charles contribute to the life of the book.


--Mike Tortorello

November 2015