Monday, November 10, 2008

Leo Lionni and Eric Carle

I've been thinking more about children's literature and what an influence children's book illustrators have had on me. One of my favorite illustrators employing collage was Leo Lionni who created some memorable picture books including: Let's Make Rabbits! ("Let’s make rabbits,” says the scissors to the pencil. . . and I always did like the scissors' rabbit best!) and Little Blue and Little Yellow (dots. . !) Lionni also wrote and illustrated a rather surreal sounding book for adults called Parallel Botany which I only just learned about today. First published in Italy as La Botanica Parallela, this illustrated fictional work is presented as popular science outlining the oddities of an elusive, frequently invisible, and wholly imaginary plant kingdom that coexists with botany as we know it. Lionni's botanical drawings were shown at Lehman College Art Gallery (Bronx, NY) in 1990, and in curator Nina Castelli Sundell's insightful essay I learned that as an adolescent he showed his paintings with the futurists. His work for children can be seen at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass.

Eric Carle, perhaps most famous for his book The Very Hungry Catepillar, is another magical collage artist. His not-to-be-missed official web site includes photos of Carle in his studio (with flat-files of paper filed by color, paint on his sleeves and everything!) and video clips showing how he creates his pictures.

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