Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Last Thursday I went (in the delightful company of Emily and Dana) to the San Francisco Center For the Book, which is one of those fascinating places right around the corner that I have never been to, but probably should have by now (likewise: Yosemite and the redwoods). They are hosting an exhibit of the work of several children's book illustrators. May I just say that Brian Selznick and David Macaulay are amazing?
Seeing the actual art work, loose from the context and confines of their books, was fascinating. How much of a story is given in pictures, and how much of it is the same story that you project onto them when directed by words? There were sketches and mock-ups, some manuscripts and actual notebooks with ideas, and then the finished pieces, a bit rougher and less shiny for being the originals.
There are all kinds of things there: letter presses, massive paper cutters, machines that look old but still used... But it's not a very big place, so while Dana discussed old bookbinding techniques, I sat on the floor and read The City & The City. This book hurts my head when I think about it too hard because its world is like one of those optical illusions that force your eyes to flip between one image and another because they can't actually see two different things at once. It's also extremely readable, so I race ahead and then get smacked with the strangeness of it.