Wednesday, December 2, 2009

William Steig Exhibit

The kids and I went to see the William Steig exhibit at the local Museum of Art. It featured Steig's picture book work, with several original watercolors. Also exhibited were a few of his book dummies, a special treat for those who have put together their own dummy. The kids enjoyed it quite a bit, especially since we went across the street and checked out every one of his picture books afterwards. They said Shrek ("fear" in Yiddish) the picture book is way better than Shrek the movie.

William Steig, The Man Who Never Grew Up will be going to Wausau, Wisconsin in April. I can't find out where else the exhibit will be.

Say, wouldn't it be nifty to have Meryl Streep read your book aloud? Listen to her read William Steig's Spinky Sulks.

"I usually start a picture book by selecting a main character - donkey, mouse or perhaps human. Then I decide what his or her occupation is and take it from there. I make a very rough dummy and afterward try to get the spontaneous quality of the rough drawings. I like drawing, but not illustrating, because basically I'm a doodler. My best work is spontaneous and unconscious, as someone once pointed out, calling me a 'sublime doodler' - the best compliment I ever had."

Said Steig, "I feel this way; I have a position - a point of view. But I don't have to think about it to express it. I can write about anything and my point of view will come out. So when I am at work my conscious attention is to tell a story to the reader. All this other stuff takes place automatically."

William Steig wrote and illustrated Sylvester & the Magic Pebble, Dr. De Soto, Shrek, Pete's a Pizza, and tons of other children's books. He was also an iconic cartoonist of The New Yorker, having created 1,600 cartoons and 120 covers.

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