• Posted on July 22, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

Not Rupert Murdoch

You’d think there was nothing else going on in the world but the News of the World. I suppose I should be paying closer attention to the grim display of moral impoverishment playing out in the media at the moment, but all I can think of when I see Rupert Murdoch is that he looks like a Spitting Image character. Of course…I had to google it, and wouldn’t you know…he IS a Spitting Image character…amongst other things. Happily, the bits and pieces pasted together for this post were obtained via legitimate and highly respectable sources. No hacking, no bribes or backdoor dealmaking, just the usual I should be working but I’m reading blogs and following links on Twitter, as I am inclined to do on a rainy afternoon…

And speaking of tweets~

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  • Posted on July 17, 2011

Along a Long Road

Occasionally, children’s picture book art takes a left turn from traditional paint and pencil illustration into the somewhat sterile world of computer-generated imagery. Perhaps this is a moot point…it’s either good, or it’s not. Graphic imagery within a design context can be quite pleasing, but in general, I’m not a fan of digitalized art for picture books. Nevertheless, I suspect I am viewing it more often than I think I am. In fact, a few of my favourite artists use computers to augment their ‘old style’ illustrations, including Emily Gravett and Poly Bernatene, and I have to assume there are others. For what it’s worth, knowing that at some point an artist’s hands got messy is important to me. It’s like eating those perfectly peeled, tube-shaped baby carrots from the grocery store; they are so far removed from the dirt they are grown in, it’s hard to appreciate them as carrots.

But then…along comes Along a Long Road, a beautifully illustrated, completely charming picture book executed entirely on Adobe Illustrator. I can’t say whether or not Frank Viva’s hands got dirty making this book, but he was most certainly engaged in very detailed, creative work. And the medium, in this particular case, is perfect for the story. A digitalized palette is still a palette, even if nothing gets squeezed out of a tube.

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  • Posted on July 09, 2011
Seuss web

Becoming Seuss

It’s sheer coincidence that two back to back posts are picture book biographies of the early lives of famous people. Last week, it was Jane Goodall. This week, it’s Dr Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel. It’s fascinating to look back at a childhood and pluck out the experiences that in hindsight are the set pieces for an extraordinary life. This could be said of any life, famous or otherwise, but with someone like Dr Seuss, whose stories and illustrations are so idiosyncratic, so recognizably Seuss, it’s downright thrilling. In The Boy On Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss, Kathleen Krull does a masterful job of distilling the formative experiences of the great man’s early life. Interestingly, the pictures accompanying the story are not by Seuss but by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, the husband and wife super duo responsible for some of the most beautiful picture books of all time (in my opinion), including Peach & Blue, a 32 Pages favourite. It’s a coalition of amazing talent, and even if you don’t know a Who from a Sneetch, The Boy on Fairfield Street is a witty and moving account of growing up odd in a factory-issue world.

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  • Posted on July 01, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

HRH William Shatner, famous Canadian

Happy CANADA Day! As befits such a celebratory occasion, the Duke and Duchess of something or other are visiting our lovely country for the first time, or at least the first official time. Welcome HRH William and HRH Kate. Next time, come to Edmonton, eh?

And now, in true Canadian fashion, a little self-deprecation:

Hilarious and local. The Daily Show does some business in Canada, specifically Alberta. Thank you Oil Sands for your comic possibilities.

L O V E this! Darryl Cunningham Investigates-Evolution. It’s in comic book style so maybe the Creationists will finally get it. Maybe. Nah…

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