Drawing Stories: The Picture Book Art of Marla Frazee

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) featured Drawing Stories: The Picture Book Art of Marla Frazee, in the spring of 2015. This exhibition showcased the original art of two-time Caldecott Honor winning artist Marla Frazee, who was awarded a Caldecott Honor for A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever (2008) and All the World (2009).

"Illustrators spend a great deal of time discussing the type of paint, paper, and brushes they use. The fact is, our most important "tools and techniques" aren't purchased at the art store. They arise out of the study and understanding of picture book form, and they allow us to tell our stories... with pictures." 
~Marla Frazee

On display is artwork spanning twenty-five years, from Frazee’s first published book, World Famous Muriel and the Magic Mystery, to the heart warming The Farmer and the Clown. Her illustrations are done in different media ranging from color pencil, gouache, graphite, transparent drawing inks, and watercolor on paper.

Using her “illustrator’s voice,” Frazee is successful in visually describing things to her readers in a way that they could not imagined before. She depicts her personal way of seeing the world in her work. In addition, because of Frazee’s distinctive style, her art seems to come to life and speak to the readers. She creates the visual world that her readers enter.

To Frazee, the text and illustrations in her picture books symbolize a larger and more expansive meaning. The words tell part of the story, the pictures tell part of the story, and sometimes they may tell different stories. By placing image after image, she creates a compelling visual narrative. Her illustrations accentuate the drama, anticipate surprises, and add suspense to the text.

Also exhibited in the show is art from other picture books such as: the NYT bestselling Clementine series, Boot & Shoe, God Got a Dog, Roller Coaster, Santa Claus the World's Number One Toy Expert, The Boss Baby, The Seven Silly Eaters, Stars, and Walk On!