A hare is praying. Behind it, a wide grinning nun closes in with a chopper in hand.
That's the description of an illustration "Hare Mary" published in The New York Times Magazine, one of the many publications to be graced by Peter de Seve's wonderful and humorous art work. Peter de Seve likes to use fairy tales or animals as metaphorical devices to enliven otherwise dry material. Not only are the drawings good, the ideas are also fantastic, probably why his work is liked by so many.
A Sketchy Past is a 240-page collection of some of his finest work, all watercoloured unless noted, and lots of fun sketches. They are lovely and timeless.
His portfolio is amazing. He has created art for The New Yorker, Disney, Blue Sky Studios, even the Totoro Forest Project and more. There are sketches from his personal sketchbooks, drafts for his magazine work and commissioned projects, like the character designs he did for Ice Age, Finding Nemo, etc.
This book is a quality publication by Akileos. It's large and measures about 16 inches diagonally. The illustrations are gloriously reproduced on thick low gloss paper, making the book slightly hefty. It's designed to draw a smile of satisfaction on your face.
Other than the beautiful art work, there's also an foreword by Chris Wedge (director of Ice Age) and introduction by Amid Amidi. The introduction is actually a nice long biography about Peter de Seve. It's filled with nice details. You can read about his schooling years, his childhood heroes -- Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy -- or how he built his own studio and the type of books that fill his shelves, or his relationship with people he work with. There are also stories about his love and work for animation, most notably Ice Age where he designed all the characters.
This is definitely one of the best art books for 2009.
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