Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lady Illustrators....

...are totally foxy and talented. But there are two that I both envy and adore, and wish I could crawl into their brains for a few hours...or better yet, have them crawl into mine, create a quirky/gorgeous character based on me that the whole world over would enjoy and encourage their children to be more like, or read the books about me or watch the DVDs based on me.

These ladies are Lauren Child and Angela Barrett.

Lauren Child is (oh yes of course, the most favorite and most wonderful) creator of the most famous and best Charlie and Lola and the precocious tween Clarice Bean. But my FAVORITE FAVORITE (most favorite and best) that she has hatched so far is her Pippi Longstocking. There's a new translation out and who else could dream up a new image of Pippi but Lauren Child? I mean, look at her:

I totally can fully envision Pippi and Mr. Nelson and Alfonso living in quippy-collage-ey squalor in Villa's totally wiping out that idiosyncratic 1974 film of Pippi with that horrid girl with the bad wig. Now those crunchy AP-ish visions of Pippi are wiped out, replaced my 1940's fabrics and Child's heavy textured patchwork illustrations.

The other (and this is a NEW favorite of mine) is Angela Barrett. I noticed her work pulling a hold for a patron in a recent retelling of Beauty and the Beast that she illustrated, and her ethereal paintings left me speechless and kind of wanting to dive into the pages. I think I whispered, "I'd like to live in there." ...and started chanting some incantations to make it happen. Alas, the book had to go out to the patron (I will NOT abuse my power) and I looked in the system to see if she had illustrated anything else. Oh yes, oh yes......Angela Barrett has illustrated a few things. Like almost every single Grimm fairy tale adaptation you can think of, plus some biographies. (I'll post the links to their bibliographies)...My favorite work of hers are the illustrations for Josephine Poole's Anne Frank bio. I have NEVER seen such poignant portraits of Anne and the Frank family. The vision of Anne's lanky young teenage build (kind of that gorgeous gawky phase we all go through--that we don't think is lovely at the time but really is...) to the image of Anne as a little girl, pixie-like and full of nervous the absolutely HAUNTING illustration of Anne being taken away by the Gestapo. That one especially. Her bright eyes are peering right out the page into your heart, and when I first looked back I wanted to crawl in the book and save her and everyone else...and I really felt like I could do it if I only tried/hoped/prayed hard enough. Angela Barrett is a GENIUS. And I don't use that word lightly. Her art combined with the intense text puts strong images to Anne's own words that we all have (hopefully!) read and felt in our psyches. She's astonishing.

Lauren Child:

Angela Barrett:

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