Wednesday, July 20, 2016


One of the objects I kept when dismantling my Dad's studio was this brass printer's loupe, made in Germany. I quote here Wikipedia's description, for those who may not be familiar with this device:
"A loupe (pronounced 'loop') is a simple, small magnification device used to see small details more closely. Unlike a magnifying glass, a loupe does not have an attached handle, and its focusing lens(es) are contained in an opaque cylinder or cone, or fold into an enclosing housing that protects the lens when not in use. Loupes are also called hand lenses."

A printer's loupe is usually small---this one, when folded up, is about the size of a large postage stamp.
Opened, it holds the lens at the correct distance for focusing on a detail of a printed page. This built-in positioning eliminates having to fuss with and adjust the position of the lens while also trying to inspect the printed image.
Place the opened loupe on the printed area, and by then looking through the top of it... is possible to see the dot pattern that makes up an offset reproduction (the usual technique by which most images are reproduced today), as well as other details. Being able to look at the printed area so closely helps with color correction, and with improving the overall reproduction.
When finished, fold it up and tuck it away for the next time.This loupe probably originally had a fitted leather case in which to store it--now lost. Loupes are still being made, and some of them are more complex than this one. But the modern loupes are plastic, and aren't always designed to fold up. I love the heavy solid feel of this little brass version, its collapsibility, and the fact that it did its job in Dad's studio for over 70 years.

Monday, July 11, 2016


I was recently contacted by Ali Seidabadi, an Iranian editor and author. Seidabadi is promoting a series of picture books that are being published by Tiny Owl, a British publishing house; he would like to bring them to the attention of an American audience. The books will be translations of picture books from around the world, and Seidabadi is involved with a series of Iranian books.

Today I received one of the books from the Iranian series: "A Rainbow In My Pocket", by Ali Seidabadi, illustrated by Hada Haddadi. Author and illustrator are both highly respected in Iran.

When I read the words other people have written, or look at the pictures they have made, I feel as though my soul is reaching out and clasping hands with their soul. The words and pictures in this book are different from what I usually see and hear in an American picture book. But I also recognize the commonalities, and feel an understanding of Iranian culture that I didn't have before. The pages are playful...resonating with the creative love and humanity that children's book writers and artists all over the world pour into their works.
It's not just professional creators who can speak to us in this way. Everyone has something of themselves to tell or to show, whoever he is, wherever she comes from. Everyone wants to be heard and seen. Today, let's listen to someone's story or look at someone's picture, in whatever medium it comes. It might be from an Iranian on the other side of the globe; or from a stranger a few states away; or from the person sitting next to us. Listen. Look. Reach across the divide. Help bring us closer together.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Marcia Brown, American author and illustrator, was born on July 13, 1918, and died in April of 2015---just last year. Brown's work was awarded three Caldecott Medals, and six Caldecott Honors, during her career---more Caldecotts  (awards and honors together) than any other illustrator. She also received the prestigious Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1992 for her lifetime contribution to children's literature. Yet how well-known is she today? 

Brown should be talked about more than she is. Her work demonstrates a dazzling range of virtuosity, style, and media.

Woodcuts in two or three colors...


...vigorous yet delicate pen-work with pastel color...


...atmospheric color with lots of lines...

...bold flat primary color with hardly any line at all...


...exotic colors and dramatic silhouettes...

The Bun

...or just the simplest strokes of pencil and crayon. Pen-and-ink, gouache, watercolor, pencil, crayon...
Note with illustration
...playful, adventurous, bold, sweet, powerful, delicate, silly, serious...her artwork covers the gamut. One would never guess that all of this diversity came from the hands of one individual. And I haven't even said a word about her writing. Honor this artist by looking up some of her books today.   (This site is especially informative, including several interviews)

Monday, July 4, 2016

JULY 4, 2016

Boiled potatoes, still hot...with skins, or without...

...diced celery...

...lemon juice...

...olive oil...


...all together give you
*Fourth of July Potato Salad*