Storybook Illustration

I opened this children’s book to a random page and there was a colorful drawing of a girl climbing over the fence of an amusement park that sat beside a small lake.  The wooden fence meandered along the shore to the spot where she climbed in the foreground; the Ferris wheel there, spinning off the edge of the page.  In the background, amongst all of the other rides, there was a huge animatronic dinosaur tethered with ropes or wires.  The text in the bottom corner explained the scene.  It said that the girl was fighting some monster and she recalled seeing the same creature in that theme park many years ago.

I was more fascinated by the picture, however.  I felt like I could stare at it for hours, like a childhood memory, the endless details of the park and the rides, the games and concessions, the people gaping at the towering toy dinosaur, holding cotton candy and pointing up with their free hands, the watercolor lake tapering off into yellow paper nothingness, the pastel boats floating aimlessly.  I felt like I was poised at the edge of an adventure or closing the book at the end of a long rainy day. 

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9 thoughts on “Storybook Illustration

  1. Oh wow, Bryan, the artistic imagery of this dream deserves to be re-created. I know just the artist! Have you ever visted Elly MacKay's Theater Clouds site? She is the most special & talented artist in all the world. Your dream is uncannily intune with her art. I wish you'd visit her site & read about the process in which she creates. She's very open & sweet, also. You should introduce yourself & send her your dream! I bet it would truly inspire her!
    She's some kind of amazing specialness & I'm not lying. She really is. I own her 'Boy With A Stick' print… it's my favorite, but all of her art is just as special as you described your dream!

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  2. Forgive me for my silliness. I just recalled that you have your own little genius who could re-create your dream into a visual reality through her talent for art.
    Still though she might find inspiration in Elly MacKay's technique. It's quite unusual & she might enjoy working with lighting & yupo paper etc. Of course you'd have to build her a little theater stage/ shadow box though….
    🙂

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  3. My “own little genius.” Ha! Yeah, I was thinking of her when I wrote this, actually.

    I'll have to check out this Elly MacKay. Although I doubt I'd have the nerve to approach someone and ask them to draw one of my dreams ;D

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  4. Checked out that site, and wow. I really love her work! I like the way she plays off the artificiality of the paper drawings, which oddly enough, makes the piece itself look all the more real. And the rich lighting and the high resolution. Yes, thank you for telling me about her. I'll have to show my daughter some of these drawings.

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  5. Very vivid imagery. I can picture all of this. Almost makes me want to write a carnival story.

    I'm also just glad to see that this didn't end with her falling off of a rollercoaster. Seems to be a lot of that going around lately…

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  6. I actually have a fear of rollercoasters and rides like that since I was a kid. It's always been a really miserable experience for me going on a ride. It's not even that I think anything bad is going to happen; I just hate the idea of being strapped in and then you just CANNOT get out if you decide that getting on the ride was a huge mistake. Ugggghhhh, I get a feeling a dread just thinking about it.

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  7. I would wonder how close they would get it to what I saw. That's always the thing with writing these kinds of pieces. No matter how well I try to describe it, everyone is going to imagine it slightly differently. Which is fine — great even. It's the idea itself that matters. Still, I sometimes envy someone who could actually draw or paint the scenes from their dreams, that ability to SHOW it directly.

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