“I first became aware of Margaret Wise Brown’s work a few years after graduation, while browsing in a New York bookshop where copies of Goodnight Moon were stacked high on a table. As I read the book for the first time, unaware of the author’s legendary status within her field (or indeed anything about her) I was forcibly struck by the realization that the quietly compelling words I was saying over in my head were poetry and, what was more, poetry of a kind I prized: accessible but not predictable, emotional but purged of sentiment, vivid but so spare that every word felt necessary. Her words seemed to be rooted in the concrete but touched by an appreciation of the elusive, the paradoxical, the mysterious. There was astonishing tenderness and authority in the voice, and something mythic in it as well. It was as though the author had just now seen the world for the first time, and had chosen to honor it by taking its true measure in words.”—
Leonard S. Marcus, writing about Margaret Wise Brown, from the introduction to his biography on the Goodnight Moon author, Awakened by the Moon
If there’s a better definition for the quality of writing that makes a picture book great, I’d like to hear it.
Cartoonist and Comics Journal columnist Frank Santoro is about to start the second of his correspondence courses, with a deadline for applications of May 30th. Complete details here. You might know Frank from his books Cold Heat and Storeyville, or more recent turns in Sammy Harkham’s anthology series Kramer’s Ergot. Frank’s approach to comics-making is one of the more unique ones I’ve seen, rooted in old school printing techniques and renaissance-era “golden ratio” -type harmonic compositions, and increasingly based less on black lines and more on building colors in layers.
It’s fascinating stuff, even though I only understand about a third of it, and am only half convinced of even that (another ratio!). But if I had the time and cheddar, I’d take his course in a hot minute. I’m probably not the only one out there who could stand to look at his own approach to drawing and mark-making and composition from a whole new angle (I’m looking at you, Everyone). For more on Frank, I recommend his series of Layout Workbook posts on tcj.com, which go through a lot of his ideas about grids and the harmonic points in compositions.
Also hello! This is my first post as a Drawn! contributor; first-time caller, long-time listener. If you don’t like it, I suggest you blame… Frank Santoro.
I recently had a very interesting exchange with a fellow illustrator about reps, so I thought I’d share some of what we talked about here.
I don’t think illustrators necessarily need representation. I’ve said before: An illustrator without a rep is STILL an illustrator. But a rep without illustrators is just someone with nice business cards. (I sound like a big jerk there, and I’m sorry. If you’re a rep I’m sure I’ll hear from you and that’s totally cool.)
Click the “read more” link to see the full list and read all my opinionated blathering: