Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art
From the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Philomel Books; $30.00
114 pp.; ISBN-13: 978-0399246005
Review by Amy Brozio-Andrews
In this exciting anthology, Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art, children who are passionate about pursuing art get an insider's look and personal advice from almost two dozen accomplished children's book illustrators. Arranged alphabetically, each illustrator gets his or her own page to write a letter to an aspiring artist, sharing personal experiences, advice, and encouragement. The facing page, a full-color self portrait, folds out to reveal several examples of the artist's early work, scenes from his or her popular works, and a snapshot of the artist's workspace.
From the late Leo Lionni to Chris Van Allsburg, Jane Dyer to Jerry Pinkney, Quentin Blake to Rosemary Wells, and of course, Eric Carle, the illustrators reveal common themes of dedication, hard work, and practice, plus personal anecdotes that really bring to life the person behind the "illustrated by" credit on a book cover (did you know that Tomie de Paola was telling friends and family that he knew he wanted to be an artist when he was only four years old?).
The sheer variety in "breaking in" stories, illustrative styles, and professional advice makes for excellent reading for kids interested in making a living in art, or at least making art a part of their lives for a very long time.
This anthology, compiled to benefit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, blends a wide spectrum of art and artist experiences into a welcoming and encouraging first look at art as a career for elementary school readers. The fold-out pages that conceal the artists' work promise surprises on every page, with frequent opportunities for recognition of old friends, from Max and Ruby to the boy in Where the Wild Things Are, as well as very early works that are likely to be reminiscent of readers' own work.
The book is completed with a brief biography of every featured artist, plus a selected bibliography and catalog of titles referenced throughout the book, paving the way for further reading and study.
With an introduction by Eric Carle, in which he writes, "I hope that this book will be a kind of mentor for you, young artist. And that you will feel when reading these artists' stories that you are among friends, fellow dreamers and scribblers, who follow their instincts and listen to their own inner voices," Artist to Artist meets that goal, bringing future artists into the fold with warmth and encouragement.
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