In our apartment we have lots of books. I don't mean 40 or 50 books, more like 700+, big ol' art books. We're book junkies. Both old and new, in pristine condition and falling apart at the bindings. But there are those select books we have that we hold close our hearts, the ones we've had since we were kids. They're priceless to us.
For me, one of these includes the Giant Golden Book, "Pirates, Ships and Sailors", By Kathryn and Byron Jackson, Illustrated by Gustaf Teneggren (above is my personal copy ;) ). This book had such a huge impact on me as a kid-just looking through the pages makes me think of when and where I read those stories. I grew up within walking distance of the docks and beaches-which seemed to make the stories and pictures more "realistic" in a way. We even had a "Pirates Cove" in our town, and of course, there was a little story in this book with the same name. It sounds silly now, but back then it felt so personal and close.
This book had a home at my grandparents house and had been forgotten for years. When I started painting and started to establish a style, I immediately thought "Where the heck is that book with the whale on the cover?!". I asked my Grandma, but she didn't remember it or where it might be. I thought it was gone forever. Sure there were new reprints (with a different cover I might add!), but it wasn't the same. Years later when my Grandma was moving, she called me to tell me she'd found it. I was ecstatic.
Lately the feeling of nostalgia has been visiting quite often. I feel like I have to dig deeper for ideas in order to grow and really let them come from my heart-as opposed to just "banging out" images, pages and illustrations to keep myself afloat. Image making can be such a powerful tool, especially in picture books. Above is my little tribute to my precious Giant Golden book and all my favorite salty stories that continue to inspire me. I hope you enjoy! xo