Monday, January 17, 2011

Art Minute: Sucie Stevenson

My husband loves to take the girls to the library down the street. Since moving here just two months ago, I still haven't made it there myself, but Job tells me the selection is incredible.

The girls have fallen in love with the Henry and Mudge books, much to my approval! My little brother used to read these books, and I even liked them myself (when I wasn't reading Goosebumps). The stories are entertaining, and the illustrations are absolutely charming!

As an artist with aspirations to illustrate, I've often struggled with the concept of style. Namely, what kind of style REALLY appeals to kids? I remember when my mom would bring home picture books from the library. Many were filled with gorgeous, glossy illustrations that were realistic and rich. I think most parents are drawn toward and impressed by illustrations painted in the realist style, and understandably so-- they are beautiful after all. In the long run, though, do they limit the imagination? IT probably depends on the story.

But now that I have children of my own, and a sizable book collection too, it's interesting to see what my kids gravitate towards over and over again.

Children's illustrations require a lot of skill, but they should also evoke a sense of fun and spontaniety. That's what I like about the Sucie Stevenson's illustrations for Henry and Mudge. The stories are endearingly written by Cynthia Rylant, and both author and illustrator imbue their work with a great sense of humor.

I love how Stevenson's work is loose and whimsical, yet colorful and highly detailed at the same time. It's not overwhelming, and yet you seem to notice something new about the pictures each time. Overall, the illustrations are so very sweet. Even my "non-artist" husband is charmed!

There are no other books on earth that actually make me WANT a 182 pound bull mastiff! And as an artist, I find Sucie Stevenson's artwork very inspiring and spot-on when it comes to what kids (of every age!) like.