Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Illustrator I Heart

What's playing on the Zen Kids by MGMT
Okay, enough about me. We all have problems. Let's talk about this guy.
D.B. Johnson. Writer and author of the Eddie's World, and the Henry books, in which he uses a little black bear as a stand in for Henry David Thoreau.
The Henry books include Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, Henry Builds a Cabin, Henry Climbs a Mountain, and, I just learned in April there will be a brand new edition, Henry's Night. Take a look.
D.B., I like your style. Henry's got a clever cubist thing going on here, and he's still pretty darn cute.
Keeping with the persona of Thoreau himself, Henry the Bear Version is a minimalist, introspective, free spirit. He involves himself with the local community, meets the Bear Versions of Nathaniel Hawthorn and Ralph Waldo Emerson, but he's on the fringe, man. Henry Works - yeah, the book right above- follows Henry on a little journey around his town and countryside, in which he observes and interacts with nature, and encounters all manner of charming townsfolk. They all have the benign attitude that Henry peacefully wanders around, with no direction, although Henry keeps insisting that he is, in fact, working. By the end of the tale, one of his friends finally asks, "What is your work, Henry?"
He replies, "I'm writing a book."
I hear you, Henry.
And D.B., who has had a long carrer as an illustrator. His paintings are bright and elegant. They make Thoreau accessible to a kid, without loosing anything of the real historical figure. Johnson's depiction of Henry's environment makes it easy to see why he would be so keenly interested in nature, and so happy to spend his time outdoors. Henry's world is lush and full of life and experiences.
So there's another illustrator who's work I admire. I plan to keep posting these, and if there are any illustrators that have really turned your head, I'd love to hear about them.
And because I'm new at this, and I forgot to add it the first time around, go here to see more about Gris Grimly.

1 comment:

C.R. Evers said...

I love the cover! Great artistic review!

I just posted a book giveaway with one of the funniest author/illustrators I know. He's been doing lots of art exhibits and will also place random art around his town. (w/o vandalizing of course) I provided links. :0)

Fun post!