My love for art - and narrative art in particular - began well before I had ever laid eyes on a comic book. As a child, my parents and my grandparents worked selling books for publishers. Every few weeks we would get a big box of sample books and it would be just like Christmas as I searched through for the kid's books. I grew up thinking that having a large home library was the norm. As a result I learned to read early and loved picture books, well after I had learned to read novels. By the age of five I had decided that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. Here are some of the books that inspired me as a kid and that I still love to look through, for both story and art.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is fun and also super heartwarming. For those of you who haven't read it, it's about a very nice crocodile who lives with a human family. I think stories like this are responsible for my love of watercolours as a medium. I always associate watercolours with sort of safe, whimsical illustrations.
The Zoom Trilogy
The Zoom books are beautiful black-and-white stories about a cat who goes on various adventures. They still give me kind of a magical feeling when I look through them, and I can even remember the first time I found a Zoom book in my grandparents' house.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
I imagine some of you are familiar with this one! I highly recommend The Stinky Cheese Man to adults and children alike. John Scieszka's stories are really funny and clever, and I adore Lane Smith's illustrations. The book is really thoughtfully designed, which - to be honest - isn't always the case with children's books, even when the illustrations are lovely. The typography doesn't just sit beside the illustrations; the pictures and the text are integrated in really interesting ways.
The Frog Prince: Continued
This is another Jon Scieszka book, but illustrated by Steven Johnson. It revolves around the not-so-happily-ever-after of the Frog Prince and his Princess, with the Prince deciding he'd like to go back to being a frog. (I had quite a few reimagined fairy tale books as a kid - they must have been trendy at the time.) I had a hard time deciding on a single illustration for this book, because I love the whole thing so much. It's so quirky and detailed and wonderful.
The Visitors Who Came to Stay
I remember being very naughty and stealing this from my grandparents' house because I liked it so much. It's actually a fairly mature story about broken families and stuff - I don't think I really understood it at the time - but each page is full of bizarre little details. You can spend ages on each page looking for everything strange.
Have a comic milestone, a community project or some comic-related news that you'd like to see here? Do you have original art for our newspost image database? Send it to me via PQ or at hippievannews(at)gmail.com, or leave a comment below!
HippieVan at 12:00AM, Dec. 11, 2015
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