Friday, May 25, 2007


I'm not sure if it's an occupational hazard of being a children's book editor but every once in a while I develop a crush on an illustrator---not your standard secret-love-note heart-in-your-throat wanna-get-married-and-have-babies crushes. No! More like a visual crush. A visiting-their-website-three-times-a-day crush. A desperately-want-to-find-a-book-to-have-them-illustrate crush. Of course I have my list of favorite illustrators, many of whom I'm too shy to introduce myself formally to and must admire from the digital version of 'across the room.' But every few months or so, there's one illustrator I find myself obsessing about. Instead of the adolescent anx of 'Does he like me?', I ask myself, 'Would he or she work with me?' Mostly, though, I just look at the pretty pictures and salivate.

My latest illustrator crush is Ian Benfold Haywood. I love the quirky elegance of his style---light, loose lines but textured with collage elements. I love the cottony beard and cheery red Victorian parlor of his Santa Claus.

Another favorite is the little red-headed girl on the beach, by the old stately European hotel. It makes me think of Nabokov and Roald Dahl's The Witches. It has a very Old Europe feel.

Every once in a while, an illustrator will put a few of their sketchbook pages on their sites and I find that quite a treat. Sketches have a spontaneity and unselfconsciousness all their own. Check out these funny rabbit fellows from one of Mr. Haywood's sketchbooks:

These guys may never have a story of their own but in sketch form they provoke the imagination to wander and wonder: the bonneted bunny has a serious little determined look on his face. There looks to be the start of a mask on the middle rabbit---was he putting on a disguise? And what of the feathered head-dress of the third bunny?

I don't love everything about my job---but I do love some things: illustrator crushes are one of those things. And they're much less humiliating than the adolescent kind.


Don Tate II said...

I've kinda got a crush on an editor and an agent, but they don't know I'm alive. I'm not giving up yet, I'm going to keep flirting.

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Ah this IS some great art, I agree :) My "Bookmarks" are filled with artists that I keep an eye on and I enjoy seeing new stuff pop up from time to time.

More importantly, how're YOU doing?! Thanks for stopping by to say "hi!" and for the kind words -- much appreciated! I've since put the podcast link up on my blog in case you're curious as to what we said at the dinner (the technology to do that was easier than I'd feared! :)

Again, hope you're well, don't be a stranger, and we'd LOVE to see you guys again if you're ever up here again!

All best,

Rampian said...

Don: Glad the crushes can go both ways! Try showing a little leg. : P

Jim: Brian and I fully intend to descend on Portland again. You are forewarned! Please visit us sometime, too!
Wow--a podcast! You're so hi-tech! Now we get to hear what those lucky librarians heard.


Alexandra S said...

And I love Perkins! (I hope Perkins inquires about me from time to time, please say he does)...I'm so glad to see you are posting once again. I just caught up on your posts, particularly enjoyed the office photo (as I am redecorating my own boss's office now) And this illustrator is fantastic. I particularly loved the sketches. (I hope he sees this post!)

gail said...

Crushes are cool aren't they! Love getting to see Haywood's work! Thanks too for the reminder about sketches. I do need to get back to sketching. Don's right. It does go both ways.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you don't mind, I tagged you. Fun stuff if you have time. If you don't, I'm sorry for the tag.

You can get the directions on my blog.

Amy T said...

Methinks you would like the work of one Miss Catia Chien.

She was referred to me back when I worked with KO, but we didn't use her. Now she's illustrating piles of books for big-name publishers! At any rate, her style made me think of you.

Sarah said...

Ha ha... I know just what you mean! I've had illustrator crushes on the work of Satoshi Kitamura, Maurice Sendak, Lauren Child, and I'm increasingly finding myself smitten with David Roberts' work, even though I haven't stalked it properly yet.