Le TableauLe Tableau (The Painting) is a French animated film directed by Jean-François Laguionie. I recently had the opportunity to watch it (with flawed subtitles) on Netflix.

The story is well beyond the apparent intellectual capacity of American animation, dealing with topics well beyond the Happily Ever After realm. The Painter (God) has left an unfinished creation, filled with contentious factions: The Allduns who see themselves as The Painter’s favorites because he finished painting them before disappearing from their universe; the Halfies, those nearly completed figures who aren’t good enough to live in the castle; and the Sketchies, a sad little group of colorless, vaguely formed creatures whom the Allduns feel The Painter should have erased rather than leave them to spoil the garden.

The forbidden love affair between Ramo, an Alldun, and Claire, a Halfie, is the catalyst for a journey to find The Painter. The story isn’t nearly as interesting as the painterly images – colors and forms that are engaging and surreal.

The Grand Chandelier and Ramo

The Grand Chandelier and Ramo

Florence and Lola

Florence and Lola

AndreasenI found a small, paperback children’s book by Sarah Hines Stephens, Beauty and the Beast and Other Stories, with cover art by Dan Andreasen.

According to his Shannon Associates bio, Andreasen is a bestselling illustrator of more than fifty picture books, as well as the illustrator of American Girl historical characters, Felicity and Samantha. He has also written and illustrated seven books including, The Giant of Seville.

His graphic designs have been used to advertise products including Oscar Mayer, Chef Boyardee, Folgers, Harley Davidson, Orville Redenbacher, Kraft, Marks and Spencer and Marshall Fields.

Cover art by Dan Andreasen

Cover art by Dan Andreasen

Thumbnails of Dan Andreasen's portfolio.

Thumbnails of Dan Andreasen’s portfolio.

Chef Boyardee illustration by Dan Andreasen

Chef Boyardee illustration by Dan Andreasen

Award-winning American illustrators, Leo and Diane Dillon were an amazing couple. Sadly, Leo past away last year, ending an artistic collaboration spanning over fifty years.

In 1976 and 1977 the Dillons won the Caldecott Medal, a premier honor in U.S. book illustration. They were runner-up for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s illustrators in 1978 and nominated again in 1996.

I found a children’s book, The Ring in the Prairie, A Shawnee Legend, and immediately recognized the Dillon’s distinctively beautiful illustration style.

Cover of, The Ring in the Prairie, A Shawnee Legend, 1970

Cover, The Ring in the Prairie: A Shawnee Legend, 1970

The Ring in the Prairie, A Shawnee Legend, 1970

The Ring in the Prairie: A Shawnee Legend, 1970

The Ring in the Prairie: A Shawnee Legend, 1970

The Ring in the Prairie: A Shawnee Legend, 1970

The cover illustration of this small (4.75″ x 3″), 24-page booklet is what caught my eye at a local thrift store. Published by Raleigh, North Carolina’s Travel and Tourism Division, “This little dictionary…contains definitions of old English words and phrases still used in North Carolina.” There’s no publication date, which I always find irritating, although an internet search gives the date as 1976. More egregious, however, is the omission of the illustrator’s name and an internet search revealed nothing.

Artist unknown.


The three booklet illustrations.

As a a freelance graphic artist, I did my share of portfolio pieces (i.e. jobs that pay poorly) and working on spec (i.e. jobs that don’t pay at all). Some of the work was good, some disappointing, and some downright embarrassing. The worst were projects completed to the exacting details of a client who had no understanding of art, effective design, or even the ability to choose an appropriate and legible typeface.

Some years back my husband was out of work. I was able to find a full-time job working for a rep of a major yearbook publishing company and I spent about five years doing a lot of photo editing, illustrating and designing graphic elements for hellish yearbook advisors and their ignorant students. It was the second most stressful job I’ve ever had. My boss, whose desk was behind mine, would watch over my shoulder while I worked. He would be on the phone talking (in his very loud voice) to a client or an old frat buddy, all the while mentally critiquing my work and my methods. He and the yearbook advisors were generally happy with my implementation of their awful ideas, however my boss believed that because I could produce results that kept his clients satisfied, it must be easy – anyone with Illustrator and Photoshop could do what I did. It seems the advisors felt the same way; my boss and his assistant were often acknowledged by the client in the yearbook itself; apparently my hard work wasn’t worth mentioning. I know that sounds bitter, but it really isn’t: I would prefer not to have my name associated with most of the yearbook covers I worked on.

The point is, I feel that the illustrator of A Dictionary of The Queen’s English, in itself a publishing trifle, should have been given credit. Artists deserve to be, if not truly appreciated, at least acknowledged.