Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The wizardry of John R. Neill

I have always adored the beautiful and whimsical images of Oz illustrator John R. Neill. Not only are they colorful and quite delightful, but they perfectly compliment the writings of L. Frank Baum. A definite sense of the era from when the stories are based (early 1900s) is evident in the dainty girls, rosy-cheeked boys, and flowing skirts, tassels, and ribbons of many of the characters. Neill definitely had a touch for rendering animals in a sweetly humorous way, and they are major players in the Oz series.

I think my favorite of all time is the sawhorse.

The books are absolutely wonderful, too. Don't think that they're just for kids or young adults. Once I start reading one, I can't put it down til it's finished, and I immediately want to start another. I only read the first two of the fourteen books in the Oz series, and have had trouble since then finding the other twelve books. I'm still looking for a source for the awesome Del Ray series of paperbacks, which feature Neill's fabulous illustrations. And it's been so long since I read the first two books, I've forgotten what I've read. No matter, it'll be fun to read them again.

I plan on getting some colorful Neill prints in the near future, and would love to cover my walls in this happy little world called Oz.


Claire said...

I love children's stories. They are very much for big people too. As Calvin says: "can I be little again tonight" when he wants a story.

My favourite illustrations and stories right now are the Wemicks characters from Max Lucado. If you do a google search on You are Special and Max Lucado, I am sure you will find them

Katie said...

The moment the images started loading, I thought "those are the illustrations from the Wizard of Oz books! Woo hoo!"

I've always loved the illustrations, too, as well as the books. And I have all of the original series that Baum wrote, plus the first one that some other author wrote. Well, by "have," I mean I own them, but they're at my mom's house.

I could lend you a couple if you want - it would be the perfect "excuse" for us to get together. Besides shopping and talking about illustration work, that is! ;-) Let me know!

citysage said...

These would look so awesome in a sophisticated child's room (or in a grown-up child's room of course!)

Some of my favourite illustrations are by Quentin Blake in the Roald Dahl books (Matilda, especially!) The personality of his drawings is astounding...

Georgia (AKA g-bug) said...

oooh. i love these! how i want children and to decorate their rooms in these lovely whimsical illustrations!

how funny that Claire mentioned Wemicks books. I did a lot of work on those books at my last job—Crossway is the publisher.

Chris said...

Wow, these are such good suggestions. I'll have to check them all out.

And yes Katie, I would love to get together with you and borrow the books. Thanks!

suzanne cabrera said...

These are some of my favorite illustrations as well. I love everything about them...the lines, the colors, teh composition. So much to learn.

please sir said...

These are very cool prints - what a find!