Rebecca's Reviews > Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life

Charley Harper by Todd Oldham
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's review
Jan 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: age-adult-books, nonfiction, biography, creative-inspiration, design
Read in January, 2011

Spotted on Beth's to-read shelf and caught my curiousity. I was able to OhioLINK this from CCAD, and WOW, is it huge!! I always find it inspiring to see an artist's whole career brought together in a single book, complete with stylistic changes, adjustments for commercial appeal, and notes and sketches. I still think my favorite part is Harper's birds and animals, which have happily been compiled into ABC and 1-2-3 board books.

"Dearest to Charley's heart are the paintings he completed for himself based on ideas that started as thumbnail sketches. Leaving realism behind, Charley had defined his own unique style by 1950...Charley said, 'My paintings are flat, hard-edged, and simple. Instead of putting everything in, I try to leave everything out. I call it "minimal realism"'."

This is easy to see in the spread on p. 30-31, which shows some of Charley's photo references for his illustrations. The illustrations are detailed, but seeing all that has been left out (and imagined in) is fascinating!
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