Friday, September 08, 2006
This smallish 1954 hardcover, discarded by the Hamilton School Board library department, is the sort of thing that really transports me back to Grade One. The crinkle of the plastic-wrapped dust jacket, the smell of aging glue and paper, and most importantly, Richard Gates' stylized illustrations, all remind me of when I first glimpsed, through books like this, an impossibly perfect Davey-and-Goliath world that seemed to have existed a decade before my birth.
Gates employs an interesting technique I haven't been able to entirely figure out. Is it part crayon resist? Part silk screen? Watercolour with drizzled rubber cement?
Whatever it is, he manages to achieve a lot of fantastic colour layering that needs to be seen at full size to be truly appreciated.
Of course, there's absolutely no information to be found on Richard Gates, but the back flap of the dust jacket suggests he illustrated quite few "True Book(s) of..." for Childrens Press of Chicago so with any luck, I may turn up more of his unique and wonderful work.