Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Maurice Sendak "Where The Wild Things Are"

Maurice Sendak is an Illustrator from Brooklyn, New York. He is best known his 1963 Children's book "Where The Wild Things Are." Recently It was made into a full length movie which is really impressive considering the book is only like ten pages long. There is also a website with a bunch of artwork inspired by this book called terribleyelloweyes.com and it is really worth checking out.
This book is one of the main reasons why I wanted to become a illustrator. It would be great to make illustrations for children's books after this Columbia College thing. All the drawings are pencil and watercolor and I'm pretty sure that he hand-lettered the entire font. You can really get a feel for his style which is loose and relies heavily on line work and cross-hatching. What's great about his style of illustration is that it can be appreciated by all age groups. All the monsters are grotesque and kind of nightmarish. They are actually in fact caricatures based on Aunts and Uncles of Sendak who would come to weekly dinners at his house when he was a child. Most of his family were Polish-Jewish immigrants and because of their broken english and mannerisms they were the basis for the characters. He originally wanted the book to feature horses instead of monsters, but the only problem was he could not draw horses (I could not imagine what the story would have been like with horses.) When the book first released it was subject to some controversy and was even banned from a few libraries at first. It is really unlike any children's book. He plays on the darker, more mischievous side of a child's imagination.


  1. I had no idea this book was so old. It's pretty amazing the impact a 10 page children's book can have and continues to have almost 50 years later. Interesting points about the monsters being caricatures of his family. Just curious, has Sendak done a lot of books aside from Where the Wild Things Are?

    If I could illustrate like that, I really wouldn't worry about not being able to draw horses.

  2. Honestly. I'd rather draw imaginary monsters based on relatives than horses any day. Some stories really are timeless classics (until Hollywood ruins them).

  3. Yeah he has done a lot of childrens books. You can look him up on google and see some of his other stuff. He is known for illustrating the little bear books too.

  4. I have not seen the movie yet and I have not read the book in a really long time, but if I came across the book ever again, I would definitely flip through it again. I remember as a kid being sucked in by the illustrations.

    I had no idea that Sendak had done other works such as “Little Bear”. After I looked up some of his other works, I noticed that a lot of books I remember as a kid had this same style. The line work and cross-hatching plus the softer colors seem to be popular style choices from my memory.

    Either way, this book is amazing. If the book were only the artwork, I would still love to look through it.