Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My First Muse

Walt Kelly's work has been adored by people of all ages, during his lifetime and long after. But his name will always be associated with children, for all his fairy tale enchantments and gentle humor. My earliest exposure to Kelly art was at the age of three, and interestingly, I only found that out recently.

In one of my mom's boxes of documents, that I've had to go through, I found a book that had a card in it addressed to me, dated on my 3rd birthday. The book was Complete Nursery Song Book, edited and arranged by Inez Bertail, and illustrated by Walt Kelly! Inserted here and there inside the book were scribbly drawings that apparently I had made while looking at the art. Kelly was my first muse!

I've known of the book's existence out there in the world, but I was a bit boggled to find that I've owned it all these years and not been aware of it. It's a 1947 copyright, but some of the work is timeless. This work was created during his later comic book phase, but before Pogo became syndicated. These illustrations aren't quite as magical as his Mother Goose comix, but still are pretty special, especially his full page drawings that are rendered somewhat differently from his usual linear style. They were grey-toned wash drawings, colored with spot colors—a little garish, but not without its charm.

Most of the illustrated pages are like sheet music. I will post the music only when the illustrations and music are an integral part of the page design, otherwise I will show just the art. I'm only going to post a few pages at a time, once in a while, but they will be labeled so that ultimately they will compile the entire art contents of book.

Front end paper

Title Page


Foreword, mentioning Kelly

Hey Diddle Diddle

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