Friday, July 17, 2009

inking of you

Illustrations from ‘The Story of Ferdinand’, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson.

There are some overused words out there. ‘Hero’ and ‘perfect’ being a couple I can think of right off. (Puhl-eeze! Someone who chucks a ball around is NOT a hero.)

But I’m gonna commit my own misdemeanor: There ARE at least two perfect things out there.

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is a perfectly written book.

‘The Story of Ferdinand’ is a perfectly illustrated book.

Even as a runny-nosed kid, I knew it was perfect. I used to spend hours gazing at those rich blacks, the lovely hatchings, marveling at Lawson’s absolute skill in drawing. Every inch of ink semed perfect to me.

That line from the Beatles song: “She’s the kind of girl you want so much it makes you sorry,” was exactly how I felt about those drawings.

Perfect. Except for the cover, the cover design sucks.



Richard Jesse Watson said...

The texture and "color" that Lawson implies with ink line is mind blowing. The way he depicts brilliant noontime Spanish sun and the cool shade of the tree with that mix of luxurious detail but perfectly balanced with generous white space...makes me ache.

Paul Schmid said...

You are right on. Just how can he put such a rich, deep black down and have it appear as cool shade?

But of course, it NEEDS the black.

Guys like him want to make me give it up altogether.

Nice to have such to aspire to as well, no?

Also LOVE the corks. Too funny.

Sarah Romano Diehl said...

Oh my, I'd never seen these illstrations until now. They're perfect. Thanks for sharing.

Jaime Temairik said...

I think you are safe in saying Ferdinand is perfect, Paul.
I've never been to Spain, but when I do and it doesn't look like this I will be really put out.

I've always thought the pipes in the second example were just rain gutters, but now I'm thinking they are for chamber pot emptying...

BJW said...

I'm pretty late to this post, but I agree wholeheartedly that this book is perfect. This is one of my two favorite picture books, the other being Blueberries For Sal. One of my favorite illustrations was of the lovely ladies with flowers in their hair. I spent a large part of my life looking for those lovely ladies with flowers in their hair.

"He wouldn't fight and be fierce, no matter what they did." Amen said...

I have adored this book since a child. And loved the sly wit in the pictures that do not so much TELL the story as EXTEND it. And yet the pictures seem minimalist. Quite the party trick there.

Jane Yolen

Paul Schmid said...

Jaime, If Spain does not look like that, it better correct that right now.

BJW, I love Sal, but have never had a copy of it. I gotta do that!

Jane, What you've described is exactly what I aspire to as an illustrator. Enhance the story; keep it clear and simple; make the effort invisible.

BJW said...

Not bad Paul, getting none other than JANE YOLEN to comment on your post. Who's next, Maurice Sendak?

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I've been scrolling down a few posts and I hit the bee on the flower - and I knew that was Ferdinand's butt looming over it. That illustration has a deep place in my psyche.

Matt Phelan said...

I could stare at that bee picture all day. One of my all time favorite drawings. Come to think of it, I could say that about all of the drawings in that book.

Paul Schmid said...

Glenn, thanks for stopping by!

Matt, glad to hear from you, I like your work.

amateur idler said...

When I was little, I knew those illustrations were perfect too. And they're still perfect. I remember shrieking when I first noticed the cork tree. Sigh, sigh.