Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Favorite Illustrators

Because we're reviewing a graphic novel this week, we wanted to share our favorite illustrators with you:

Art for Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
Mine is Dave McKean, which should surprise approximately nobody. He did a great deal of the illustrations for the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, among other projects with my favorite author (including the children's books The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, The Wolves in the Walls, and Crazy Hair, plus covers for Coraline and The Graveyard Book).

McKean also directed one of my favorite movies, Mirrormask (another project where he collaborated with Gaiman), and I think of it as a fantastic example of his style. He was also a concept artist for the TV mini-series version of Gaiman's Neverwhere, and two of the Harry Potter films (Prisoner and Goblet).

I think I admire McKean's work because it's something I can't do. Collage-type images are beyond the scope of my graphic skills, and his color schemes are usually the kind I would never come up with myself. There's also an antiqued-looking quality to his images that I prefer not to understand... just to enjoy.

Unlike Alex, I'm not super obsessed with illustrations (though, I DO enjoy them.)  I do have a favorite, however, but mainly because of one book.

Brian Selznick does some astounding things with illustrations.  I love the black and white pencil drawings in this book, and it's so detailed and amazing.  Not to mention, he essentially tells the entire story with illustrations, no easy task.  To be so talent as to be able to get your point across with nothing but pictures... well, that takes a certain amount of Awesome that Brian Selznick has.

He's also done a book with David Levithan, a book I feel that I need to get my hands on because, come on.  Selznick's genius with art and Levithan's genius with words will just make the book, well, genius.

Selznick was an illustrator way before he ever started writing books.  And, he really hasn't written that many.  Though I've only read Hugo, it's not a book that's big on the words.  But that's entirely part of its appeal.

Really, I just think that his abilities with a pencil are unparalleled.  They're detailed and real and capture specific moments.  Often times in Hugo, you feel as if you're right there, looking into the scene.  The illustration on the left has the same appeal.  It's from a book called "The Doll People" and the pictures makes you feel like it's YOUR fingers holding that small book open, that you're looking down at this small dolls head.  His illustrations feel like literal windows into this world he's creating.

See?  Doesn't it feel like you're looking right into that room?!

Mostly I just admire him for doing something that I could never possibly do.  I have little to no talent when it comes to drawing and I love how easily he draws you into the pictures.


  1. This is a great post. I also really like Brian Selznick. I saw the film Mirrormask, and I enjoyed the visuals, but I had a few issues with the story. I felt like the whole imagined universe was a bit juvenile for a supposed 15 year old, but the visuals were amazing. I actually really like Tommy dePaola. I read all of his books as a kid, and he has a really distinctive drawing style, so I always knew his works by the cover. I could point out his books before I could read the titles.

    1. Memory lane!!! I didn't recognize the name, but I looked him up... I loved dePaola too! I don't think I owned any, but I remember reading them at school.

    2. I read DePaola too! Those were great books. Or how about Patricia Polacco? I remember she came to visit my school. It was awesome. (Second only to Johanna Herwitz.)

    3. You know, I recognized the covers once I looked those two up, but I don't think I've actually read any of their stuff.