One of the most basic forms for children’s books is the ABC book, a tried and true formula with a long history, that usually presents a challenge for illustrators: to come up with a way to make images associated with the alphabet that are amusing enough to keep a child’s attention through repeated readings. The best illustrators who take on this venerable form not only accomplish that, but look for a new and different way to approach the idea and make it fresh.
In his new book Tickets to Ride: An Alphabetic Amusement illustrator Mark Rogalski has created a veritable amusement park of alphabet illustrations in the form of delightfully styled and wittily titled alliterative animal rides.
The images of the Zebra Zeppelin and Octopus Orbiter Blast at left are just a taste. Unfortunately, the images on Rogalski’s web site are too small to get a real feeling for these delightful digital paintings, which are at once boldly simple and richly detailed. You can see them somewhat larger in the recent Communication Arts Illustration Annual 47, and, of course, at their intended size in the book.
The illustrations make for an ideal kind of children’s book: fun and simple enough to appeal to kids, and visually sophisticated enough to also keep Mom or Dad entertained through repeated readings.
Rogalski’s site is also a bit shy on information about the artist or his techniques. I get the impression from his speaking schedule, and the fact that the book is published by Running Press, that he is based here in the Philadelphia area. The Contact page of his site promises more info to come — “Archives”, “History” and the tantalizing “Oddities”, but we’ll apparently have to wait for a bit. In the meanwhile, the book should provide enough “tickets to ride” to keep us nicely amused, regardless of our age.