by Ermanno Cristini and Luigi Puricelli

In the Pond

Working with Lisa Mahar of Kid O on a line of high-end wooden kid’s puzzles has been a great learning experience for me. One of the best things about the projects (we are just starting this season’s line which branches into wooden books!) is that she gives me a whole bunch of reference materials of mid-century modern illustrations and designs made for kids. One of my favorite introductions, was to this pair of artists, Ermanno Cristini and Luigi Puricelli who made a series of gorgeous illustrated picture books of scenes in nature. The compositions are incredible- just a piece of something like the leg of a bird might come in from the top of the page or a just the front of a dragonfly may enter the side of the picture. I love this book in particular for the way the page is split so you are seeing half underwater and half above. The scenes really capture the view an animal might have of the natural world. Plus the paintings are beautifully realistically rendered. Also all the illustrations actually align from one page to the next- so if this happened to be an accordion book, it would look like one long painting. I borrowed Lisa’s copies of their three books but when it was time to give them back I had such a hard time parting with them. I searched for some for myself and surprisingly these books are really easy to find used and are only a few dollars each- the best kept secret! (You can definitely see the influence these artists had on my puzzle illustrations especially this forest scene.)

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