The Illustrious Illustrator

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While I didn't end up going into illustration myself, a good many of the people who inspired me to do art were illustrators: Maurice Sendak, Trina Schart Hyman, and of course, Normal Rockwell.

My dad had a great big book of Normal Rockwell covers. It was huge, and I loved looking at it. I would sit in my favorite chair and the book would cover my entire lap. I could spend hours looking at it. I'd imagine the stories that went with each, try to spot the jokes in the April Fool's covers, look for repeating themes and ideas, and pretend that I was one of the characters in some pictures.

Of course, he is "America's most beloved illustrator". So it I know my love of Mr. Rockwell isn't some crazy rarity. At the same time, it can be fashionable to sneer at the sentimental Americana of Rockwell's work. I'll have none of that, thankyouverymuch,

I recently had the urge to look at those illustrations again. My dad's book is up in northern Wisconsin, so I picked up the three-volume Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post: The Early Years, the Middle Years, the Later Years from the library, and have been reading through it. And yes, reading. I intended to just look at the illustrations that I remembered from my girlhood, but I find myself reading the paragraphs that accompany each page, and learning quite a bit that I'd never know about the artist and his work.

Even his "less successful" covers are a pleasure to look at, and I strongly recommend the collection. What I really find neat are the oldest covers, before he was able to work in full color. They are only red and black duotones, but somehow I'd never really noticed the limited palette until it was pointed out to me. I thought that was pretty neat.

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This page contains a single entry by Kayjayoh published on January 24, 2010 12:03 AM.

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