I've been doing a lot of studying of some of my favorite illustrators and the one who I associate most of my childhood with is Trina Schart Hyman. Her drawings of people capture personality and individuality, all the while making a connection with each child who views the illustrations. That in itself is incredible to me. I had lots of different books with her illustrations in them but my favorite was The Shy Little Girl which I still own to this day and which still moves me when I read it. I thought it was about me! And then I read others' postings about this book and they thought it was about them! It was written by Phyllis Krasilovsky in 1970, but it could just as well have been written today.
Trina drew with a distinguishable line- mainly in black and white, with the color added after the fact. I read somewhere that she did her illustrations from start to finish on the final board... no preliminary sketching. She just drew, and mostly from imagination and from family around her. The scenes are always very real and pull you into them, as if you are right there watching. It's just amazing.
She is no longer with us because of cancer, though her list of books is an incredible library unto itself. I just got ahold of her Trina Schart Hyman: A Self-Portrait in which she explains her own journey into becoming an illustrator and shows how early the desire to do this work was there. More often than not, I read that illustrators know from a very early age that this is what they want to do. That was my first wish... I made a little book with pictures when I was probably three and it had little made up letters at the bottom because I was too young to know my letters but I knew that they should be there on the page! I couldn't wait to read so that I'd know how the pictures related to the story. I don't think I've stopped drawing or ever lost the desire since to illustrate or my fondness of children's book illustration.
I will probably post more about my favorite illustrators since that's what's on my mind right now! I just wish I could've written to Trina Schart Hyman before she passed away, to tell her how much of an influence she had on me and my own art. You might remember that I posted from this book a couple of times... I try to read it each month. I'm also going to start working on putting more of my illustration into my flickr account. Now off to do some sketching!!!...