How great children’s books are born

A collection reproduces the colorful correspondence between illustrator Edward Gorey and author Peter F. Neumeyer

Topics: Imprint, Design,

How great children's books are born (Credit: ©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate)
This article originally appeared on Imprint.

ImprintWe all have that one person we’d love to work with ― that dream creative collaborator.

Well, imagine you’ve just been assigned to work with the Edward Gorey. Holy cannoli ― that would be insane! And not only is it the most creatively fulfilling collaboration, you become the best of pen pals. You share crazy-long handwritten letters (yes, handwritten) discussing everything from favorite books to pancake recipes, with Gorey personally illustrating all the envelopes just for you.

That’s exactly what happened to renowned writer Peter F. Neumeyer in the summer of 1968. Pomegranate Press’ new publication, “Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer,” reproduces the never-before-seen, typewriter-transcribed personal correspondence and illustrated envelopes between Gorey and Neumeyer as they collaborated on several children’s books, between 1968 and 1969.

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com)

Over 75 letters and 60 postcards offer a firsthand peek into their creative process and budding friendship and shed light on the man behind those humorously creepy, amazingly detailed crosshatch drawings. Having personally spent hours as a little girl getting lost in Gorey’s morbidly funny illustrations from the Gashlycrumb Tinies poster to books like “The Doubtful Guest,” I found it fascinating to read Gorey’s thoughts on his own work.

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).



With charm, wit and a healthy dose of self-deprecation, Gorey shares middle-of-the-night illustration and story ideas, constantly questions his own existence (hence his macabre drawings), and ― all too relatable to creatives ― expresses anxiety and frustation over his creative work.

Although the men’s intellectual banter is not for everyone (both were avid readers and reference obscure books and quotes, sometimes losing the reader in their philosophical musings), Gorey’s awesome illustrations are more than worth it. Here’s a sneak peek:

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

Floating Worlds” is available through Pomegranate Press.

Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011.

Salon is proud to feature content from Imprint, the fastest-growing design community on the web. Brought to you by Print magazine, America’s oldest and most trusted design voice, Imprint features some of the biggest names in the industry covering visual culture from every angle. Imprint advances and expands the design conversation, providing fresh daily content to the community (and now to salon.com!), sparking conversation, competition, criticism, and passion among its members.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>