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Tag Archives: Illustration

Flickr Friday: Blown Covers

Blown Covers is a friendly competition put on each week by The New Yorker‘s Art Editor, Françoise Mouly, to create fake magazine covers based on a theme. From the high quality entries they receive each week, Mouly and her daughter, Nadja Spiegelman, have their work cut out for them with their judging duties. I’ve observed the winners for a few months now, but it’s only in the last two weeks that I decided to step up and contribute stuff to the contest. Below are my entries for the Food and Fashion-themed contests. Although neither made the selection for runners-up or winners, I had fun doing them and look forward to stretching my creative muscles attempting more. Trying to think up something both artistic and clever is tough, however (how did Peter Arno do it?).

By the way, although the contest stipulates that entries should be in sketch forms, so many winners end up looking like final artwork. It make me wonder where these people get the time for it, and very humbled that there are so many talented artists out there.

Flickr Friday: Arty The Smarty (1962)

Today’s Flickr Friday is the piéce de résistance of all the vintage kiddie books that I’ve been blabbing about in the last few months. Originally published by Wonder Books in 1962, Faith McNulty’s Arty The Smarty was far and away the favorite book of mine as a child. When I recently came across my own childhood copy of this little treasure, it all came back to me as to why this particular book was so beloved. It was about a resourceful fish whose very difference from the other fishes made him special. It came as a shock, how much it resonated with me (and I have to wonder if there were any other gay/lesbian people who cherished this story as I did). Also, the snappy, clean illustrations by Albert Aquino were a revelation – exactly the style of illustration that I’m attempting to do to this day! I still don’t know much about Mr. Aquino and his career, but I really have to shake his hand for doing such great work on this book.

Some of the pages of Arty The Smarty are included below (note my name scrawled on the endpapers!), in addition to a few others I’ve placed in my Childhood Books, ’60s-’70s Flickr set.

Flickr Friday: UPA Cartoon Art

Recently I had the privilege of reviewing the 3-disc UPA Jolly Frolics DVD set put out by Turner Classic Movies over at DVDTalk. Although the copy I reviewed was pre-release screeners and not the final retail set, I could definitely tell the set was put together with a lot of TLC. The cartoons, dating from 1948-59, all look fantastically restored. I included some screen shots with the DVD Talk review, including this gem from the 1955 cartoon The Jaywalker. This image says “UPA Style” better than most anything:

As much as UPA is identified with a modernist look, they also did several more traditional-type cartoons. The background below is stitched together from a Disney-esque 1950 effort called The Popcorn Story (it makes sense, since the film was co-directed by Disney vet Art Babbitt). I love the colors!

This is a wonderful set that I would recommend to vintage cartoon fans as well as those who appreciated 1950s modern design. Buy it at TCM here or at Amazon.com here.

Flickr Friday: You Look Ridiculous

I came across another great kiddie book from the ’60s when looking through my mom’s collection. You Look Ridiculous Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus (1966) was written and illustrated by Bernard Waber. Best known for Lyle the Crocodile, Waber has dozens of books to his credit (and he’s still going in his 80s). This book has lots of wonderful, expressionistic drawings of the title characters. I dig the orange, green and gray color scheme and the endpapers seen at this post’s bottom.

Although this book wasn’t part of our family’s library when we were kids, I was immediately taken by the artwork and snatched it for myself (my nephews will just have to live with one less book to look at!). These scans are part of my Childhood Books, ’60s-’70s Flickr set.

Flickr Saturday: Olde Books

The photos in this Flickr Saturday come courtesy of our new neighbor, Kendall. Since telling her about LitKids, she let me borrow some of these children’s books of yore from her library. These books date from about 1895-1920 and are great examples of the charming illustration/typography that was favored back then. They’re also fun to read – I’m currently checking out Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm on the Kindle and it’s a sweet story with an endearingly cute heroine. A sampling from the Olde Books Flickr set is below.

Flickr Saturday: The Beaver Pond

It’s time for another book rescued from my childhood library. The Beaver Pond, written by Alvin Tresselt with illustrations by Roger Duvoisin, was published in 1970. Like I’m Alvin, this book on woodland creatures not native to the Arizona where I grew up was something of a puzzlement to the kid me. I enjoyed it all the same, however, for the lush full-page illustrations showing beavers building a dam. A few samples: