I wanted to show you one of Nicola’s illustrations, but I’ll need her OK. In the meantime, follow the first link…
Nicola O’Byrne! I have a mad crush on her! Well, on her illustrations at least. Having honed my career in a children’s library and a children’s bookshop, it’s not hard to imagine that I would get crushes on illustrators. The list is long, but I’ll share some of my favs:
Virginia Lee Burton for everything, especially her integration of print-making, textile design and being a champion of that flow of narrative and illustration. Currently I’m researching her biography. It turns out that in her teens curious circumstances dropped her in my hometown where she then graduated from our town’s local high school: Sonora Union High School in Sonora, CA.
Nancy Eckholm Burkert for her elegant detail and soft grace. Each of her books is a timeless piece of art.
Ezra Jack Keats for his wild innovation of being an early mixed media illustrator, as well as his precise voice for the very young child. Makes me want to get out scissors, paper, fabric, glue, chalk and go to work!
Maurice Sendak for amazing scratchwork, integrated with muted color, for his balance of artistry, self-expression, technical excellence and impeccable storytelling. I’m always drawn in, even by his early work and its simplicity.
Finally, Chris Raschka for breaking so many rules and for opening eyes to new images in children’s books. I’m particularly fond of his Cosmobiography of Sun Ra! This YouTube shows you the book AND lets you listen to the amazingly shaped music of Sun Ra.
So, Nicola O’Byrne: I hope you don’t mind being in the company of these folks. Oh, yes, the list is much longer. I am fickle and I get lots of crushes!!!!