Friday, April 11, 2014

Hatters, Hares, and Hand-Drawn Letters
The Hatter (detail), a work in progress. Mixed media.

The Hatter, an early stage.

A straight-up "influence" post.
So many things sting me. In a good way. 
Like most of Lewis Carroll's characters, pen & ink artists, and the subject of this post: 
Hand-drawn lettering.

As a young children's illustrator, when it was possible to keep up with the paragons of children's book illustration, I spent quite a bit of time in that section of the bookstore. And found hand-drawn typefaces! If they are still being done for that industry, I admit to ignorance. But here are several from the past which continue to inspire:

By Lester Abrams
This, I believe, was Abrams' one and only children's book. From The Four Donkeys, written by Lloyd Alexander. Stunningly illustrated in 1972, this masterpiece fired me up with it's finely drawn and watercolored 
"little guys". And look at that hand lettered, embellished title!
Maybe not a perfectionist's dream, but definitely stimulation for me, a hand-made enthusiast.

Here's another:
By the late genius, Trina Schart Hyman.
From Saint George and the Dragon, written by Margaret Hodges; the illustration-work won 
Trina Hyman the Caldecott in 1984.
Darned elegant, and like all her work, delicately hand-designed and crafted.

Been working on a crop of new paintings with lettering. Below are a few:
My initial approach to the lettering. This one's a detail from an oil painting-in progress.
Same one, further along.
And one from an in-progress, acrylic version of the March Hare.

Needless to say, after a bit of measuring, I pretty much jump right in--no pencil, no tracing, far from refined. But I dunno--would they be more effective if they were more precise, more "perfect"?

Thanks for reading!


  1. Your style is delightful and it's really hard to find any flaws in it. I think you're naturally precise but with enough quirks to have personality. Thanks for sharing your delightful work.

    1. Thank you, Joy--you've always inspired me with your wisdom. This time a reminder that it's all in the way one thinks about things. "Quirk" is much more positive than "flaw", and that's how I'm going to view everything from now on. Cheers!


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