Monday, May 14, 2012

Lunch at the Emberly's

Last week, good pal and Rhymes with Orange cartoonist Hilary Price and I drove over to coastal Mass to visit the great illustrator and drawing advocate Ed Emberley and his family.  Ed's career has had several iterations, from drawing highly complex images to his revolutionary and really, really fun drawing system work to digital illustration and collaborations with his daughter Rebecca.

The Emberley empire has always been a family affair.  Both of his children (Michael & Rebecca) helped on color separations in the studio and both went on to become author/illustrators as adults.  In 1968, Ed accepted the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations on a book written by his wife, Barbara.

Barbara, in addition to being a cracker jack writer, turns out to make an amazing fish chowder.  After a fun lunch and conversations (about the business, why we do what we do, Sendak -who had passed away that day, drawing, computers, and fish chowder and how delicious it can be) by the fireplace with Ed, Barbara, and Rebecca, Hil and I joined Ed in his studio to poke around with and play with some of his archives stretching back to the 50's.

Here are some images:

Ed's early work was created by carving wood for prints.  Crazy stuff!

Ed shows Hil some original prints lifted from the wood blocks.
Love the Lion.

Then he started drawing these dauntingly complex, yet simply designed drawings.
The color seps from his Caldecott honor The Wing on a Flea
More seps & orginals.

Next came the Emberley drawing system, for which is he is most known. Simple designs that ANYONE can draw!
Nice poster, heh?

Ed seemed perplexed that these rough dummies had be framed for a recent exhibit.  They're great, so that's why.
Even tho' his drawing system is simple, not all the drawings are.  An original of a battle ship.
Ed loves this kid's version of that ship.  So great that he has kid's drawings strewn around his studio.
There are also drawings from old pals (like Richard Scary!)

Hil & Ed dive into the archives.
Even his chair is somehow whimsical.

A great afternoon with a great guy!
Thanks to the Emberley's for their hospitality!