Future Watch: Illustration Alumna Leah Hayes will publish her first, full-length graphic novel in 2008, titled Funeral of the Heart. The official description reads:
“Funeral of the Heart” is Leah Hayes’ stylistic tour-de-force and graphic novel debut, featuring a series of short stories by Hayes and illustrated entirely using the otherworldly medium of scratchboard. Hayes creates a world of unease and ambiguity populated by obsessive characters, forlorn animals, and mysterious, inanimate objects; odd occurrences, unnerving deaths and unconventional but genuine love bind these characters and their stories together. In “The Bathroom,” a middle-aged couple discover a mysterious tunnel in their poolhouse after a neighbor’s child accidentally drowns in their pool–leading to an immaculate bathroom and another drowning. In “The Needle,” two sisters suffer the death of their grandmother as well as her possible resurrection at the hands of the woman with the needle.
The stories are hand lettered and juxtaposed against stark, highly stylized, graphically powerful, black and white images. Stories with titles like “The Bathroom,” “The Needle,” and “The Hair” sound innocuous, but they aren’t fables that should be read to one’s children–unless your children enjoy being made uneasy by beautiful things.
We couldn’t say it much better than that. Check out Leah’s website for images of her other work and keep your eyes out for Funeral of the Heart early next year. In fact, you can already pre-order it on Amazon and Powells, or you can wait and purchase it directly from Fantagraphics, who also published Leah’s earlier work, Holy Moly.
Illustration Faculty member Lauren Redniss published her first book, Century Girl, this year. Here’s a synopsis, taken from Lauren’s website:
When Doris Eaton was born on March 14, 1904, the average American could expect to live 47 years. Today, at 102, the 5′ 2,” blue-eyed Virginia native has already lived more than two of these life spans.
In 1918, Doris kicked up the youngest pair of legs in the bedazzling, feathered chorus line of Florenz Ziegfeld’s annual Follies stage spectacular. For her 100th birthday in 2004, Doris was back on the same Broadway stage, in black taffeta skirt and silver heels, leading a conga line of a dozen dancers.
By the time she received her honorary doctorate at age 101, Doris had starred in silent and talking pictures, performed for presidents and princesses, bantered with Babe Ruth, offended Henry Ford, outlived six siblings, wrote a newspaper column, hosted a television show, earned a phi beta kappa degree in history (at 88), raised turkeys, and raced horses.
Century Girl is a visual biography of Doris’s first 100 years.
Praised by reviewers, Lauren’s work is a combination of hand-lettering, collage, archival materials, interviews, history, and general fantastic-ness. More information about how to buy can be found here.
Future watch: Illustration Faculty member Pat Cummings has a brand new children’s book available January, 2nd. 2008 called Harvey Moon, Museum Boy. Here’s a brief description:
To liven up his class trip, Harvey Moon brings his pet lizard, Zippy, along to the museum.
When Zippy escapes, Harvey’s adventures begin. You’ll be laughing and wondering what’s next as knights, dinosaurs, and even mummies get into the act.
Cut loose in a museum setting with a brave boy, a lively lizard, a funny plot—and award-winning author and artist Pat Cummings at her entertaining best.
Illustration Faculty Guy Billout’s latest children’s book The Frog Who Wanted to See the Sea has garnered tons of critical praise for its storytelling and artwork. One review describes Guy’s book thusly:
Our heroine is Alice, a little green frog who is growing restless within the confines of her small pond: Alice knew every inch of the pond’s murky bottom and every hiding place amoung the reeds. She knew too, that she could swim from one side to the other with 28 kicks of her back legs. Spurred by a loquacious sea gull, Alice gets it into her head to leave home, taking only a rolled-up lily pad- great detail- to venture forth and see the ocen. A quest narrative, as they say.
The psychological hook for young children (or midlife parents) is obvious. Fortunately, Billout, whose writing is as disciplined as his artwork, doesn’t drive home the point with a nail gun in the manner of, say, Katzenberg-era Disney animation. Instead his story unfold simply, with grace, nuance and high style. I particularly loved his description of Alice’s first sighting of the ocean, which comes after a troubled sleep adrift on her pad: When Alice awoke the next morning, all she could see was blue. She looked in every direction for green riverbanks. In a moment of both joy and fright, she realized that she had reached the sea. Alice croaked softly. … The only reply was a gust of wind that blew across the surface of the water. The hook here- the lostness- is again compelling, and the illustration, of Alice riding a wave that honors Billout’s debt to traditional Japanese printmaking, is a thing of subtle beauty. But it’s that moment of both joy and fright that rally gets me. Beyond encouraging feelings, how many children’s books bother with that kind of emitional duality, let alone conflict?
Illustration Faculty Tara McPherson has a wide variety of items on the market now. Her most recent work produced the Bubble Yucky Dunny, Hug Life Hellboy, and the Alien Ion Dunny (seen above, in order), as well as other items available through Kid Robot and Tara’s own website. In other news, Tara is currently working on art for her upcoming solo show at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York, which will take place February 23rd-March 22nd, 2008.
One final installment of the list coming up soon!