Go To Sleep, Nicholas Joe
by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Illustrated by John Himmelman
Harper & Row
John Himmelman's Stories' Stories
And this is my 3rd and last pre-separated book. While labor intensive (for me, at least) and is like painting with math (for me, at least), there's a look to this generation of children's literature that those of a certain age may find nostalgic. I think of books like Danny and the Dinosaur (which was redone) and Babar the Elephant that I wouldn't want to see done any other way.
This was a feather in my cap, too. I got to illustrate a book by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat! I worked in a library while in college and frequently came across her highly lauded Nate the Great books!
The story? Nicholas Joe doesn't want to go to sleep. Instead, he sets out to put the whole world to sleep.
I read the manuscript and my brain exploded with images. In the back of my mind I knew that whatever I did would have to be colored via preseparation, so be careful what you draw there, buddy...but ... damn the torpedoes! I was going in! And I was going in with all FOUR colors - Red, yellow, blue, and black!
I was at the printers as they printed out the first set of galleys an was extremely relieved that the color layers all lined up and that they were in the general area of shades I'd aimed for! If you checked out the link above of how this is done, you'd see why. The art director, who was with me, was thrilled - or relieved, too.
The interior of the castle and various character costumes - no, you know what? - the art in the whole book, actually, was completely based on memories of such things from movies and paintings. Ten years earlier, I had taken a semester taught by Jerry Moriarty* at School of Visual arts. He taught "drawing from memory" - drawing without reference. The thought being that your mental reference makes for more interesting art. I think of those 15th century drawings of animals you know the artist had never actually seen - and you kind of wish they were real.
Anyway, gave it a shot here. I do that a lot less now than I used to.
*My son Jeff also took his class when he went to SVA a couple of decades later!
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat knows how to end a story...
(pardon the garish orange linens, please)