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VLOG: The Art of Etching

By Andrea Diamond. Jan 7, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators

A picture is worth a thousand words, and it seems there are a thousand ways to make a picture. Pencil drawings, charcoal sketches, digital creations, are just a few ways illustrations come to life in our favorite books. One of the oldest methods of illustration is etching. Etching is a complex art in which images are engraved on a soft metal, then transferred to paper. It is a labor-intensive process, and printmakers take a great deal of pride in their work. Rather than reading a step-by-step account of the process, you can watch these three videos to learn from the masters themselves.

     
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A Brief Guide to Collecting the Works of Eric Gill

By Leah Dobrinska. Nov 10, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Fine Press

Eric Gill was a sculptor and engraver who is now best known for his scandalous personal behavior alongside his spiritual art. Gill remains a controversial artist. As his biographer Fiona MacCarthy so aptly puts it, “Does consciousness of artists' reprehensible behaviour (Gill, [today,] would no doubt be in prison) put up a barrier between the viewer and the work? Or does knowledge of the artist's life, fallibilities included, amplify and enrich our understanding of the art?”* While that question may be one each individual must answer for him or herself, for those interested in the work of Eric Gill, what collectibles should you seek out?

     
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Little Known Facts About Beatrix Potter

By Adrienne Rivera. Jul 28, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

Beatrix Potter is best known for her charming children's books filled with her own illustrations of the animals that inhabit them. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, has delighted children for years with its story of naughty young rabbit Peter defying his mother's rules and slipping under the gate in Mr. McGregor's garden to eat vegetables rather than going with his sisters to gather blackberries down the lane. Her books featuring such delightful characters as Tom Kitten, Squirrel Nutkin, and Peter's cousin Benjamin Bunny are in print today and can be found in nurseries and libraries across the world. While Potter's books, including The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck and Wag-by-Wall, have made her into a household name, she was a fascinating woman about whom many details are not as widely known.

     
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Collecting Art Books

By Leah Dobrinska. Jul 6, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Literature

Today, we’d like to tackle the topic of collecting art books. Before we begin, it’s necessary to define what exactly “collecting art books” means. In fact, it can mean different things to different people, and this blog post certainly won’t be an all-inclusive list. For the sake of this post, we’ll discuss four variations on the collecting art book's theme. First, we’ll focus on collecting books of artists’ art work. Second, we’ll document some great books about art, from its history to key players in the art scene, both past and present. Then, we’ll shift our attention to collecting books by famous illustrators; such books are magnificent in their own right. Finally, we’ll discuss books as art and the art of fine press books. Read on for tips to get started with or continue your own art books collection.

     
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A Brief Introduction to Eric Carle

By Andrea Diamond. Jun 25, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

It is the first day of preschool. You walk into a classroom filled with unfamiliar faces, clinging to your mom’s hand before it’s time to say goodbye. You take your seat on the welcome rug, carefully patting down your “first-day of school” dress as you timidly scan the brightly colored toys and trinkets that line the shelves. It doesn’t look like a scary place, but it is very different from anything you’ve known. As you absorb the new world around you, the teacher pulls out a book. You recognize the cover as one you’ve read before, and as she begins to read you slip into the comfort of a familiar story.

     
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The Profound Magical Realism of Chris Van Allsburg

By Abigail Wheetley. Jun 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

Chris Van Allsburg begins writing his fantasy children’s picture books with a single question “What if…?” and answers it with a string of beautiful and inspiring tales of the extreme. We have some “What ifs…?” of our own. What if a young man with a vague interest in art was denied admission to the University of Michigan because he lacked a portfolio? What if the warmth of that sculptor’s studio kept him away from the inviting apartment with pencils and paper?  What if a future Caldecott winner had not married a woman who taught children and hadn’t been encouraged to become a children’s illustrator? What if a Chris Van Allsburg had never come into our collective cultural awareness?

     
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Collecting Books with Woodcuts

Since the eighth century in Japan, woodcuts have been used for printing textiles and paper, and later for creating illustrations in books. According to an article* from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website, “woodcuts are produced by inking a raised surface against which a piece of paper is pressed, either manually or by running it through a press, to create an image on the paper.”

Beginning in the fifteenth century, woodcuts served as illustrations in printed books, and many scholars attribute the first successful black-and-white woodcuts as book illustrations to Albrecht Dürer. By the mid-sixteenth century, woodcuts were replaced largely by engravings as a method for illustrating books. Still, numerous artists and writers have revived this method. If you’re thinking about collecting books with woodcuts, where should you start?

     
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The Legacy of Ludwig Bemelmans

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

For many small children outside of Europe, their first ideas of Paris come from a children's book, and for them, the heart of the city is a vine-covered old house full of little girls in yellow dresses, the smallest and most important being Madeline. The man behind the first seven Madeline books (the series has since been picked up by his grandson) was Ludwig Bemelmans. Though he published over forty-six books in his lifetime and posthumously, it is for Madeline that he is most fondly remembered.

     
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Robert Sabuda and the Art of Pop-Up Books

By Connie Diamond. Mar 8, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

Nothing holds so little interest and yet so much possibility as a blank piece of paper. It is a canvas for the written word, to be sure, but in its original state, it lacks dimension, texture and movement. With a few simple folds, however, it can be transformed. It can become an airplane and soar, taking one’s imagination with it. Accomplishing even this rudimentary task requires that one respect the limitations of the material and simultaneously coax out its potential.  Pop-up book artist Robert Sabuda is a master at doing just that.  

     
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A Brief Introduction to Howard Pyle

By Andrea Diamond. Mar 5, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators

 As a college student, I have once again found myself reacting to illustrations with the same partiality that I had as a child. In addition to cultivating strong academic habits and earning a degree, being at a University has challenged me in the lost art of doodling. Three-dimensional flowers curl their way around my history lecture notes, thriving on the lightly-shaded raindrops that pour down from the upper right hand corner of my loose–leaf paper. My work is mediocre at best, but it brings an element of zest to the notes that cling to the page in flat obedience.

If an unprofessional flower sketch can bring beauty to a History notebook, imagine the power of intricate illustrations tucked into well-written books: lifelike depictions of heroes and villains dancing across the pages of stories written throughout history, where words and pictures come together to create a different world in which readers can dwell for hours on end. One such uniquely talented illustrator is Howard Pyle.

     
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About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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