Friday, October 3, 2014

Maurice Sendak, Illustrator 1928-2012

Illustrator 1928 - 2012
 Calendar at bottom of Post
 Photographs of Maurice
Sendak was born in 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children's literature. He is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963 and recipient of the Caldecott Medal. Sendak was a frail and sickly child so he spent much of his young life indoors; he developed a love for books. It was during this period that he began to draw and allow his imagination to run free. He was age 12 when he decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney's film "Fantasia".  Above, the 1984 photograph on the right shows Sendak at work.

Self-Portrait for TV Guide, 1978.
 Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse was a dominant figure during Sendak's childhood. He looked on the mouse hero as "an early best friend" and recalls his earliest color drawing of the mouse when he was only six years old.
  Toes are to dance on and A book is to look at. pen and ink from "A Hole is to Dig" by Ruth Krauss. 1952
 This pen and ink drawing was one of several he did to illustrate a book called "A Hole is to Dig" It was his first major assignment as an illustrator. The book has no plot, but is a collection of genuine children's definitions. Some of them are: "Dogs are to kiss people", "Hands are to wash", and "A hole is to dig". Sendak collaborated closely with the author on his illustrations. She agreed to share the books royalties with the young artist. He is an artist who varies his style from project to project. Here, the simple clear line drawings add a fresh and easy charm to the simplicity of the text. Do you enjoy reading and looking at books? Where is your favorite place to read?

"The Sign on Rosie's Door''. 1958
This is his third book and finds a more self-assured artist where in the story he casts Rosie in a slice of Brooklyn life drama. Rosie carries her less imaginative cronies aloft on flights of fancy. Thanks to Rosie, they are able to defeat the boredom of a long summer day by attending a command performance by "Alinda the lovely Lady Singer". He looks fondly on this work as a major advance in his lifelong exploration of the ways in which children turn to fantasy as a means of escaping their daily troubles - in this case, endless stretches of vacation time with "nothing to do".

 The Riverbank. watercolor. from "Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present" by Charlotte Zolotow,1962

This is one of the most popular works of Sendak's early years. The story is about a little girl who is looking for a present for her mother and accepts help from a rabbit she meets. The illustrations for this book were all done in soft luminous watercolors.
Sendak had seen an exhibition of watercolors by Winslow Homer in Massachusetts which inspired him to try the same style and technique here. As Homer worked in New England, he also chose a setting in Vermont to paint his illustrations.

  "Where the Wild Things Are". pen and ink with watercolor by Sendak. 1963
 This is his most popular children's book. We are looking at the cover page from the book. The illustrations were done in pen and ink and colored in with watercolor. The story is about a boy. Max, who dresses up in a wolf suit and makes "mischief of one kind or another." When he misbehaves, he is sent to bed without supper and then travels to the world of the Wild Things where he becomes king. The text is very simple, a loose free verse, but the monsters whom Max meets are a wonderfully complex mixture of frightening and funny. Some of you may have seen the movie based on these characters.


Max from "Where the Wild Things Are"~ Notice all of the pen and ink lines. Does Max look happy to you? Max is banished to his room with nothing to eat. Have you ever been sent to your room?
Wild Rumpus

  Wild Rumpus from "Where the Wild Things Are"~ Here, Max has tamed the Wild Things by staring into their yellow eyes. They have made him king and are having what Max calls a "wild rumpus". Once again we can see Sendak's wonderful technique of crosshatching his characters and his colorful watercolor backgrounds. When this book was first published, there was some concern among adults that the monsters would be too scary for young children. Children, however, clearly love the book. Awarded the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book of the year in 1963, it consistently sold over 30,000 copies since its publication.

  "In the Night Kitchen", pen and ink with watercolor. 1970
To the left we see the cover of the book, and to the right we see one of the detailed pages showing the bakers. Can you see what the bakers are doing? Does something seem peculiar to you? Here the bakers absentmindedly mix Mickey into their batter. When Sendak was young, there was a bread advertisement for the Sunshine bakers, and it read "We Bake While you Sleep!" He used to save coupons showing three fat little bakers going off to their magic place while he went off to bed. This book was sort of a vendetta, he confessed, "to get back at them and to let them know that I was now 'old enough to stay up at night and know what was happening in the Night Kitchen."
Notice on the cover the various shapes of the bottles. Do they appear to represent something - perhaps a city of buildings? In this book he made good use of some verses he had chosen for an abandoned Mother Goose project. His hero. Mickey, announces "I'm in the milk and the milks in me" is a variation of the rhyme "I see the moon. and the moon sees me."

 Mickey from "In the Night Kitchen". pen and ink with watercolor, 1970
 A small boy,Mickey, is awakened by a racket in the night and falls through the dark, out of his pajamas. He falls past his sleeping parent's bedroom, and into a bowl of dough.  In to the night kitchen, as we noticed from the previous slide.

We will be doing Scratch art "monsters"
Schedule Sendak Presentations with your teachers for October or November.

Sendak Scratch Art Monsters

For Kinder through 2nd grade:

1.  Practice texture techniques with pencil on the handout.

2.  Choose a couple of texture techniques to practice on the small scratch art square piece with scratch tool.

3.  Choose a scratch art paper with a monster already outlined. (2 designs to choose from)  Have them immediately put their names on the back!!!

4.  Start scratching away the black layer along the outlines and fill in desired details around the face, adding textures. (You can show them the outlines with the facial details etc. on the larger paper example found in the notes folder for reference.)

For 3rd through 5th grade:

1.  Practice texture techniques with pencil on the handout.

2.  On a blank piece of paper draw a monster.  (Use the colored half sheets)  Once you are finished with your outline and simple details, make sure that it is outlined with heavy dark pencil.  (May need to have them trace over it again to make it darker.)

3.  Put name on the back of the scratch art piece!!!  Turn your monster sketch over on top of the black side of the scratch art paper and tape it in place or hold it carefully.  Rub with the side of your pencil lead and cover the paper.  (You will see a light impression of your drawing coming out, and this will be rubbing your drawing onto the scratch art paper.  Please note that the image will be reversed- mention this to the kids ahead of time.) Remove the colored paper.

4.  Choose a couple of texture techniques to practice on the small scratch art square piece with scratch tool before tackling the big project.

5.  Begin working on your monster piece- start scratching away the black layer along the outlines of your drawing, and fill in texture areas.  

***Please note: if a student is struggling, you may want to provide a pre-outlined monster stencil to use and roughly follow steps for kinder through 2nd grade with them.  These are in the folders on the cart.  (You can show them the outlines with the facial details etc. on the larger paper example found in the notes folder for reference.)

*Items on the cart:  Notes, scratch tools, glue, and Sendak books. (Cart is by the sink in the art lit space in the library.)

*Items to pick up from the shelf (Bottom right shelf in the art lit space of the library):  1 Scratch art piece for each student (Take both designs), 1 small practice square scratch art piece for each student, 1 texture handout for each student, labels for each student, and 1 white construction paper backing for each student. 

Don’t spend too much time on the prep parts, encourage them to move along…they will need extra time for the work on the actual scratch art part.
For 3rd through 5th grade (continued):

Art Lit Presenter: Please back the pieces on the white paper.  (Label and write first names on them.  See example picture below.)  Return them to the art lit space and file them on the desk with a file folder.  Reassure the students that they will get them back, we just need to store them for a bit in case we decide to do an art show to display their work.

Have fun!! Looking forward to seeing some finished art work!!