Sunday, July 14, 2013

Maurice Sendak on the balance between text and picture

Maurice Sendak, June 10, 1928--May 8, 2012.

...Interpretive illustration involves a kind of vigorous working with the writer. The difficulty and strain and joy of that particular book is the balancing between the text and the pictures. You must not ever be doing the same thing, must not ever be illustrating exactly what you've written. You must leave a space in the text so the picture can do the work. Then you must come back with the word, and now the word does it best and the picture beats time.

It's a funny kind of juggling act.

--from A Conversation with Walter Lorraine, October 1977, Wilson Library Bulletin

This illustration is from Kenny's Window, 1956, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York. Story and Pictures by Maurice Sendak.

Photo credit: The Washington Times.  Mr. Sendak autographing pictures from Mother Goose.

There is a moment of delight when you are reading a new picture book and you say to yourself, Look what the illustrator did with the story here!  I love that moment and I think that Mr. Sendak explains well how this kind of collaborative magic comes about.  LA

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