The Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota, more specifically their unflappable, indefatigable curator, Lisa Von Drasek, headed up a special event last evening: a chat with Newbery and Caldecott-winning illustrator Paul Zelinsky, famed illustrator Ariane Dewey, and the former art director of Greenwillow Press, Ava Weiss.
Bookfolk are generally shy as monks from solitary hours hunched over keyboards or lightboards, but this trio was rollicking; they had their audience of librarians, teachers, designers, archivists, authors and students roaring with laughter while eating up every technical term in sight that had to do with color separation and rotary presses. The audience was treated to original artwork from Dewey and Zelinksy as well as from the famed D’Aulaires duo. Who realized how heavy a lithograph stone was? Two young interns had to haul up the artifact that displayed hand-carved artwork, and Von Drasek was (justifiably) worried it might crash through the display table!
Luckily, the only things smashed that night were preconceptions about the simplicity of illustrating and designing books for kids. It was so labor intensive in the early days that Weiss remarked, “Who would do this?!” The answer: artists like Zelinsky and Dewey. Go pick up a copy of his classic The Wheels On the Bus or her stunning We Hide, You Seek. Then remember they never saw a proof or printed page until it came off the press. It was done with scrawled notebooks, color charts, transparent paper. . . and in their heads. Their marvelous, miraculous heads.
- Michael Dahl, Capstone Creative Concept Director
(Capstone senior editor Jill Kalz, Paul Zelinsky, and Michael Dahl)