Book Jacket Illustrator Crush

Illustrator

I have a book crush. Not just one book. Lots. I didn’t even realize it at first. I bought Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier when it came out and loved the cover. Looked intensely at the cover. Never looked to see the creator of the cover though. When The Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein came out, I bought that book because of the cover. Loved that cover. Never looked at who designed that cover. (and PS, I LOVE the stories within these books too!)

Then, I received an ARC of The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein at the NCTE conference this past November. I saw the cover and thought, “this looks like the same cover designer!” And that’s when I looked and saw who it was that designed these charming, silhouette-featuring, beautiful, detailed (I could go on and on) covers. Gilbert Ford.

I have a book cover/illustrator crush on Gilbert Ford. It has become a scavenger hunt now. I will go into book stores and scan over books and see something that sticks out to me as looking familiar. I pick up the book, open to see the cover designer, and there is his name. I buy the book. And, wait! What’s that? Could it be? Another book designed by Gilbert Ford? Why, yes, yes it is! I must have it! So, I indulge.

And what’s better than a cover design? A full blown picture book illustrated by Gilbert Ford! My nerd is showing, isn’t it?? Mr. Ferris and His Wheel written by Kathryn Gibbs Davis is fully illustrated by Gilbert Ford! I knew I had to have this book. I savored every page of his blue-purple illustrations with the contrasting orange-yellow throughout. I love this book. My class loved this book. We love Gilbert Ford’s illustration style.

About two weeks ago my class received a shipment of Kate Messner’s newest middle grade book, All the Answers. One of my students said, “Miss Palmer? I think the same person who created the Lemoncello book cover, created this cover too.” So, we opened it up. Yep. Gilbert Ford. My students are recognizing illustrations based on style. That is so cool!

If you would like to see how many books you may have that have covers designed by Gilbert Ford you can visit his website and click on “Portfolio” to see his work, especially the books that may be in the hands of your students or stingily sitting on your own bookshelves (like some of mine! Book crush, OK?!)

Now, as you can see, I haven’t posted something in a while but something sparked me to write up this post. When I was checking my Twitter feed, I saw this tweet.

It made me think about how I give credit to authors in my tweets but don’t always fit the illustrator on most times. I need to try harder because it takes a lot of people to make a book special from the front cover to the back. This idea of #PicturesMeanBusiness makes me realize that yes, I do buy books based off of the covers. I do buy books because of the illustrators, too. I also buy books because of the editors or publisher. It’s like the lead singer of a band- we need the lead singer and we also need to remember the “band” behind creating a book into real life.

So, now you know my book cover/illustrator crush. Who is yours? I’d love to know I’m not alone in my extreme nerdiness!

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