The journey from artist’s mind to author’s pen
January 18th, 2012
Omaha, NE – The work of a renowned childrenâ€™s book illustrator is currently on display in a new exhibit at the Joslyn Art Museum. BRAVO! Chris Raschka shows the journey of creating a childrenâ€™s book â€“ from artistâ€™s mind to authorâ€™s pen.
â€œThis is my favorite,â€ said Amy Rummel, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Joslyn Museum. Pointing to a series of watercolors, she said, â€œItâ€™s a wonderful story about language and expression and friendship. Itâ€™s basically about two boys meeting each other on the street in New York, and becoming friends. And you can already kind of tell that just in three images right there.â€
Rummel took me on a tour of the museumâ€™s latest exhibit: BRAVO! by New York artist and author Chris Raschka.Raschkaâ€™s work is bright, colorful and expressive. Whether heâ€™s using watercolor, crayon, scraps of paper, or oils, his pieces tell a story with just a few strokes â€“ with energy and intriguing depth. Theyâ€™ve also won him several prestigious awards, including the highly-touted Caldecott medal, which is awarded annually in recognition of the finest children’s book illustrations.(Click here to read an illustrated “biography” by the artist, in the form of a question and answer interview, courtesy of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature)
His work is also filled with imagery of musicians. Heâ€™s an accomplished viola player, and heâ€™s authored and illustrated several books introducing children to musicians.â€œHis knowledge as a musician allows him to do something kind of unique with these books,â€ Rummel said. Pointing out a series on Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk, Rummel said, â€œIn this case, he writes the book and illustrates it using the rhythm of music, the rhythm of bebop. So itâ€™s a very interesting introduction for kids, not only to American jazz and what bebop is, and the different ways you can use language and (ways) you can read a book.â€
The exhibit is a collection of nearly 60 illustrations by Raschka, and includes the books in which they appear. Rummel says it provides a unique window into the artistâ€™s process. Raschkaâ€™s notes â€“ to himself and other authors â€“ are scribbled onto some of the pieces: for example, in his illustrations of Sergei Prokofievâ€™s Peter and the Wolf.
â€œWhat I think is interesting is kids can see those that he rejected,â€ Rummel said. â€œOn the duck, for example. Heâ€™s drawn several ducks and put Xâ€™s through those that are not going to make it.â€
Bravo! Chris Raschka is currently on display at the Joslyn Art Museum. The exhibit opened January 14th and runs through April 1st. Raschka is also planning to stop by Omaha for a teachersâ€™ workshop in Feb. 23rd, and another with students at Skinner Magnet Center on Feb 23rd and 24th. Raschka will present a public workshop at the museum on February 25th.
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