Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Art of Illumination - In Memory Of Maurice Sendak

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

- Maurice Sendak, found here

Just heard the sad news that illustrator Maurice Sendak died today via this article from Yahoo. I was always a fan of Sendak's work as well as inspired by it. I didn't realize he lived not far away from me in Connecticut. I wish I'd known him. 

Of course, his masterstroke and probably most popular children's book was "Where the Wild Things Are", and there many tributes to Sendak and that particular story going up on the web as I write this. So, just to be different, I'm including in this post two more delicate illustrations from two of his other books. The first is from "Outside Over There", a "Labyrinth"-like tale (which proceeded Labyrinth) about a little girl who neglects her sibling while baby-sitting, and then must retrieve the baby after it is stolen by goblins. The second is from Sendak's adaption of a lesser-known Grimm's tale: "Dear Milli". I tend to feel that the "Father Joseph" in this illustration is Sendak himself... with his "dream-daughter", the one he never physically sired, but, you know, and I know, existed nonetheless. Fare-thee-well, Maurice Sendak, and thank you.

Below is a 2002 PBS news-clip featuring Sendak.

P.S. I don't know why this is, but everywhere I go on the web lately, I seem to run into Neil Gaiman... not that this is a bad thing... it's a very nice thing actually. Here's a link to Gaiman's thoughts on Maurice Sendak via a Wired memorial. (via Boing Boing)... and Gaiman's related journal entry.


  1. A most worthy post for a most worthy artist!

    1. It seems a lot of people are calling it quits these days... but Sendak's death made me particularly sad for some reason. On the other hand, he didn't seem terribly disturbed by the idea of death... there's a quote off the page I linked to at the top of the post in which he says:
      "There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”
      He sounds like he meant it, and who am I to argue?

  2. Never EVER argue with a dead person - I've found it does absolutely no good.

    It is always sad when someone notable for their achievements in work, dies. These days most people are known for their misdeeds, escapades or blatently superficial achievements.