Unforgettable Children's Book Illustrations

Wayward trends of the art world. Alert, nurturing book editors who watch for and encourage fledgling artists in hopes of discovering the next Maurice Sendak. Illustrators using proximity and relationship to text, color, composition and other design techniques to capture the attention and stimulate the learning process of young readers. These are common elements of iconic illustrations in the great picture books of childhood.

Released in September 2012, Little Big Books: Illustrations for Children's Picture Books is a large-format collection of work by more than 100 acclaimed contemporary illustrators worldwide. The striking images included are the basis of a discussion on characteristics of the finest children's book illustrations and the secrets of the artists who ingrain these images in the minds of children. Visual memories that may persist well into adulthood. 

British illustrator Martin Salisbury addresses the important relationship between the text of children's picture books and the vivid imagery that brings it to life:

Right from the start, the words need to be an integral part of the shape of the layout — a visual element that is as important as anything else that appears on the page. The spread’s composition should seem ‘wrong’ before the text is added.
This specialized category of fine art rolls with the punches in the current state and operating structures of today's publishing houses. Sonja Commentz notes in the books' introduction:
 And yet there is trouble afoot: pandering to economic trends in the growing — and increasingly competitive — picture-book market, actual contents, creativity, and originality might lose out, right down to the point where bookstores dedicate entire pink-clad corners to a monoculture of princess books.

See more illustrations from the book at Brain Pickings. Link.

(Image credit: Chris Haughton)

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