A while ago I did an "inspiration" post about Giselle Potter, and I got a lot of good feedback from folks about showing sneak peaks of my illustration and art faves. So, I've decided to do a post like this once a month in order to spotlight some of my major influences.
And who better to start with than Tony DiTerlizzi? He is in a nutshell one of the reasons I went to art school. One of my all time favorite kids' book illustrators, he imbues his work with imagination and heart, referencing greats like Arthur Rackham and Norman Rockwell (some of my favorites).
I first discovered Tony's work when I was in college. In Northampton, MA, there's an outstanding art gallery, the R. Michelson Gallery, on Main Street. On a whim, I stopped in to look around. The gallery featured some great work, but when I saw that it had an entire section devoted to children's book art, I was hooked. On that first visit, I discovered paintings from Tony's book Jimmy Zangwow's Out of this World Moon Pie Adventure hanging in the back room. Just the title! Awesome, non?
The illustrations were richly colored and imaginative. Each one was a masterpiece in gouache.
Of course, I rushed to the library to check out his others books. He had also illustrated a gorgeous black and white adaptation of The Spider and the Fly.
And Ted, a loony and endearing picture book about a boy and his imaginary friend.
Later Tony teemed up with author Holly Black (Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale among others) on The Spiderwick Chronicles. Here his work shifted from full color gouache paintings to watercolor paintings - cover and frontispiece - and ink spot illustrations. I fell in love with the line quality of this work...
...and with his use of watercolor and a muted palette.
Rather versatile this Mr. DiTerlizzi.
Tony's work is beautiful, but the elements that I believe are truly key are both his imagination and his understanding of character. Every character in his illustrations has a personality and a life. Each one says something in his/her posture, gesture, facial expression, clothing... it's all in these careful details.
Honestly, I only have good things to say about him... even how nice he is. Yes! Dear readers, one of the reasons behind this post is that I actually met Tony today. Tonight there was an event at Books of Wonder to promote his new book, The Search for WondLa. (Note about the bookstore... it is an AMAZING children's bookstore in NY, and it's attached to a cupcake bakery. What could be better?! Seriously, get off of your computer and go!) But back to the book... I haven't yet read it, as it came out today, but I do have a signed copy waiting for me on my night table. The illustrations are similarly excellent and in a style that reflects the genre. It's a new departure - ink and digital coloring - but from what I've seen thus far, they're beautiful.