Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow day.

"One winter morning Peter woke up
and looked out the window. Snow
had fallen through the night. It covered
everything as far as the eye could see." 
                                                                                   -Ezra Jack Keats

I know what you're thinking. Crazy city folks think the world shuts down for 10 centimeters of snow. That being said, here I am at home having a SNOW DAY! I am working today, but I thought I would take a moment to celebrate one of my very favourite children's books that I'm always reminded of on days like today. 

Image copyright by Ezra Jack Keats
 It's, of course, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I bet more than a few of you have heard of this book, and have fond childhood memories of it. The story is about a little boy who discovers his winter wonderland neighbourhood after the first snowfall of the season. The story is great, but the illustrations are astounding. As an illustrator I am in awe of the wonder of simplicity. It takes real talent to be able to rely on good design and not need to add the kitchen sink into every piece. Keats was a genius in this sense. I love the bright but not garish palette he used in the snowy day, and the way he captures the essence of childhood in his characters is inspiring to me. This book won the Caldecott medal in 1962, and as you can see the art and story remain relevant and current nearly 40 years later. 

Image copyright by Ezra Jack Keats
I love Keat's use of pattern and collage mixed with traditional mediums. He was ahead of his time. I work daily to try to achieve the same level of craftsmanship in my own art. It's really quite amazing to think that there was no Photoshop or Illustrator when this was made. I wonder if Keats was around today what he would think of the digital world. 
Anyway, whether you are in a blanket of snow or in a warm climate (damn you if you are, lucky duck) if you have this book kicking around your house I recommend pulling it out for a read and this time having a good look at the art. 

Stay warm!


  1. That is a fantastic book, reminds me of being a kid! Stay warm :)

  2. Isn't it great? It reminds me that snow can be fun!