A roundup of recent non-animation books that have caught my attention:
I don’t know how Lane Smith does it, but every one of his illustrated books is a gem. His latest, JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE AND BEN, is a quirky take on America’s founding fathers portrayed as kids. Compared to the crass manufactured cartoons that children are regularly exposed to on television, the level of thought, care and craftsmanship that Lane puts into his books is a real breath of fresh air. It makes me wonder, Will kids even notice the original painted portraits of the founding fathers that lead off each section, or the inventive manner that Lane combines his illustrations with rich textures and collage elements? There’s no question that artists love this stuff (for example, see these comments by designer Cameron Moll), but I’d also like to think that kids will appreciate and subconsciously absorb all the good design in this book. One thing is for sure, children will be laughing (just as I was) because the book does a terrific job of humanizing historical figures like Paul Revere and Ben Franklin and making them appealing. Here’s an interview with Lane Smith where he discusses some of the visual ideas in the book.