Browsing in my local Readings book shop on Sunday morning I was gob smacked to find this most amazing book filled with the beautiful artwork of Charley Harper on the bargain table. Written/curated by Todd Oldham, who I’m sure would have had a difficult time deciding what to leave out, this book is essentially a collection of Harper’s best work, from his first commissioned book illustration to his final commissioned work in 2006. It also has a delightful interview in which Harper discusses his artistic and technical processes, his youth and experiences in the early days of his career.
This book is a feast for the eyes with over 300+ pages of stunning illustrations and artworks.
My favourites are some of the ones which have preliminary sketches, it’s amazing to see how a few scribbles develop into a finished product.Ford Almanac cover sketch – 1961
Ford Almanac cover – 1964
I’ve shared a few photos from the book of his less commonly seen work here for your enjoyment.
Illustration – The giant golden book of Biology 1961 (leaf section & micro-organisms)
Birds & Words – Scissor tailed fly catcher 1956
Ford Times – White breasted nuthatch 1954
Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two cook book 1958
Ford Times – assorted illustrations 1954-1961
Ford Times – Drive thru Redwood 1954
Gay Forest gift wrap 1953
Ford Times- cover 1954
Illustration – The giant golden book of Biology 1961 (volcano gasses)
Words and Birds – Flamingo 1958
Painting – Box Seat 1983
Illustration – The giant golden book of Biology 1961 (crab, jellyfish, tadpole)
Mosaic – Space for all Species 1964
Advertisement- Libby’s deep minted pineapple chunks 1959
Painting- Serengeti Spaghetti 1979
There were just too many beautiful images to choose from, I look forward to spending hours with Emma pouring over the pictures, identifying all the animals and making up our own little stories.
She already calls it the “Special Big Book”
If you want your own copy Readings Malvern have a couple left for only $39.95
CHARLEY HARPER—An Illustrated Life
by Todd Oldham