Illustrations by Charles Fracé

Two books by author Roger Caras included black and white illustrations of the California condor by artist Charles Fracé. Here are 10 of these illustrations.

Caras’s Last Chance on Earth: A Requiem for Wildlife (1966) devotes chapters to each of about 3 dozen species, starting with the Arabian oryx and ending with the ivory-billed woodpecker. The image below occupies a full page in the chapter devoted to the California condor.


The rest of the illustrations here are from Caras’s Source of the Thunder: The Biography of a California Condor (1970). This is the front and edge of the book’s dust jacket :


The 8 images that follow each occupy about half of a page at the start of chapters in this book. Some of the images present scenes connected to the theme of the corresponding chapter.









All of these illustrations convey some part of what I imagine it is to be a California condor.

The last image is notable because the scene is seldom portrayed. Many artists show condors in flight, roosting, hatching, and so on. A California condor surveying a recently burned forest is something out of the ordinary.

The way that Fracé portrays the birds’ heads in the whole-bird illustrations is especially appealing to me. Those birds are seeing their world!

An illustration by Charles Fracé that is not shown here appears in the previous post Black & white illustrations from books: 1958-1988.