Schulz Collection (Final Blog Assignment)

For as long as I can remember, I can recall waking up on Sunday mornings and searching through our newspaper for the brightly colored comics section.  I never was looking for the tales of Garfield and his hatred for Mondays, or the latest pranks Beetle Bailey was pulling on Sarge.  Instead, I was looking for a little boy and his beloved dog; in other words, I was looking for Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comics.

To me, Schulz’s work is more than just simple little cartoons.  His work had depth and wisdom to it that I learned to appreciate as an adult.  My family even jokes that I am a psychology major because of the hours spent reading of his Lucy and her psychiatrist stand.

For this reason, I have chosen to create a collection on Schulz’s work and related materials.  Many of the items come from my own personal collection, while others were located on Amazon and the Charles M. Schulz Museum store.

Since the 1950s, Schulz’s beloved characters have been marketed in everything from the daily newspaper to movies and televisions shows to books to toys.  This collection contains some of the books that have been released over the years.  From the miniature books contains his loved Easter and Christmas stories to older children’s books such as You’re a Good Sport Charlie Brown, these books depict the classic tales I grew up enjoying.

While books such as those are directly related to Schulz, the collection also contains items that have been inspired by his work.  Tom Everhart has been using the classic comics as inspiration for his paintings for nearly two decades, which is why both a painting of his as well as a book detailing an exhibition of his the Charles M. Schulz Museum displayed are located here.  Furthermore, the same museum held an exhibit showcasing fellow cartoonist who paid tribute to Schulz following his death.  A book filled with copies of these comics is also in this collection.

My favorite parts of this collection, however, are the items that are more related to his original strips.  The Complete Peanuts books and the Art of Charles M. Schulz are filled with fantastic illustrations and reprints of the comics.  The coloring and paper is gorgeous and allows pieces to pop on the page, making it my favorite pieces.  In addition, the framed print of his final comic strip is especially important to this collection.

But because Schulz created such diverse characters, this collection is not just books and comic strips.  As previously stated, my collection contains paintings and framed art.  A movie can also be found, because no Peanuts collection would be complete without the famous “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

Because of the fact that the comics often took on a philosophical yet whimsical outlook on life, Peanuts has continued to thrive throughout the years, as I hope this collection will.  I would like to see more of the books containing collections of the strips to be added so that one day it could have all of the decades rather than the few years it contains at the moment.  Books and merchandise are created each year, and I hope that this collection can continue to grow with that.

Bibliography

A Charlie Brown Christmas. Directed by Bill Melendez. 1965. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2000.

Everhart, Tom. Dog Breath. 2000.

While not a direct piece by Sculz, the bond between Snoopy and Charlie Brown inspires this painting.  Using acrylic, enamel and varnish on canvas, Everhart recreated an image found in one of the classic comic strips.

Everhart, Tom. Under the Influence. California: Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center. 2004.

Little details were given on the actual design as it is a book created to go along with one of the older exhibits, however the description does indicate that this contains illustrations and prints of both Everhart’s artwork and the comics that inspired it.  Furthermore it is a paperback format.

Guaraldi, Vince. The Peanuts Illustrated Songbook. Wisconsin: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2001.

This is in a paperback format so that it is easy to use at a piano given that it does contain sheet music of the scores created for the television specials and movies.  It is also accompanied by full color prints of the illustrations Schulz originally created for the movies and comics.

Lebaron, Gaye, Schulz, Charles, Trudeau, Garry, and Watterson Schulz, Bill. Tribute to Sparky: Cartoon Artists Honor Charles M. Schulz. California: Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2003.

Because this book was originally created to go along with an exhibit, the actual book design is not necessarily beautiful, given that it has spiral binding and is paperback.  However it is the illustrations and comics within that pay tribute to Schulz that make this book special to this collection.  Some of the comics are shown here:

Mendelson, Lee. The Making of a Tradition: “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.

Once again, the outward appearance of this book is not necessarily beautiful.  It is paperback with binding that has been glued together.  However, the inside features glossy paper displaying in full color various illustrations and pictures from the production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

Michaels, David. Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007.

This book features what appears to be a font typical of many manuscripts, possibly Arial or a Times.  The binding, while still glued together, gives off the look that it has actually been sewn together.  The plain black of the hardback book is covered with a dusk jacket that has been designed to look like the famous yellow and black t-shirt Schulz always had Charlie Brown wearing.  Reprints of some of the comics are also scattered throughout the biography.  Photo paper is also inserted into various areas with glossy photos from Schulz’s life.

Schulz, Charles. A Charlie Brown Christmas (Miniature Edition). Pennsylvania: Running Press, 2003.

Schulz, Charles. It’s the Easter Beagle Charlie Brown (Miniature Edition).  Pennsylvania: Running Press, 2006.

These two miniature edition stories contain brightly colored illustrations from the films by the same names.  Each has decorative endpapers that depicts aspects of the holidays.  The bindings on both have been glued together.  Bright, glossy dusk jackets cover rather plain boards of the hardback books.

Schulz, Charles. Celebrating Peanuts: 60 Years. Kansas: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009.

This anniversary edition contains both black and white as well as color illustrations over the beloved strips.  To commemorate their 60 years of entertaining fans, this comes with a slip case to protect the hard back book.

Schulz, Charles. Comic Strip, Final Sunday. California: Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2000.

Schulz, Charles. Happiness is a Warm Puppy. Maine: Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, 2006.

Schulz, Charles. Love is Walking Hand in Hand. Maine: Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, 2006.

Schulz, Charles. Security is a Thumb and a Blanket. Maine: Cider Mill Press Book Publishers,  2006.

The three entries above are all more philosophical books that use Schulz art.  All have paper that is almost a cardstock quality with brightly colored illustrations.  Each has decorative endpapers with similar designs as the dusk jackets and front of the books.  The fonts and texts for the most part are all the same, except for on Happiness is a Warm Puppy where there is a decorative look to the “H” on every page.

Schulz, Charles. Peanuts: Holidays Through the Year. New York: Little Simon, 2001.

Once again, it is the endpapers and the colored illustrations within this book that make it special to this collection:

Schulz, Charles. There’s No One Like You, Snoopy.  Connecticut: Fawcett Publications, 1967.

            This is an older book that I had found at an antique shop.  It’s design is more of a comic book, showing mainly just black and white illustrations of the strips without any other text.  The papers is bound together with glue. Furthermore the paper has browned over the years from it’s original color:

Schulz, Charles. The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952. Edited by Gary Groth. New York: Fantagraphics Books, 2004.

Schulz, Charles. The Complete Peanuts: 1960-1962. Edited by Gary Groth. New York: Fantagraphics Books, 2006.

Both these books are hardback editions filled with reprints of the original black and white comic strips from the stated years.  The decorative endpapers and boards to the hardback books are designed in color schemes that seem to fit the era, slightly dulled down and not overly glossy.

Schulz, Charles. You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown. New York: Scholastic Books, 1976.

Like There’s No One Like You, Snoopy, this book is older and a little rough around the edges.  I had found it at an antique store and loved it despite this though.  The book is more unique and has provenance (the original owner wrote her name in the front and I’ve never erased it).  I fell in love with the orange paper used to match the orange pumpkin helmet Charlie Brown wears in the story.  The illustrations, while dulled with age, still pop off the paper.

The Art of Charles M. Schulz. Edited by Chip Kidd. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.**

            This is by far my favorite in the collection, and probably the book that actually started my real life collection.  As the picture shows, the dusk jacket only covers about two thirds of the book so that the illustrations printed on the black and white, glossy cover of the book can be seen over the top.  Like many of the others in this collection, the endpapers are decorative as well.  In this one though, they are pictures of Schulz’s work and workspace rather than designs.  Unlike the other books, the binding appears to be sewn together rather than just glued.  The actual pages themselves feel almost like a type of nice photo paper.  On most of these pages, various images have been printed, everything from the comics to original sketches to pictures of Schulz himself.

The Winning Team. Hallmark Cards, 2000.

This is not a book per say, but does have elements of an artist book and pop up book in a way.  As the picture shows, it is a comic strip that has ceramic parts to it that stand out to form the illustration of what would be the strip.  The back remains a piece of framed paper that has the background images and the text of the comic.

** The physical book described for requirements

 

Beauty of Nature

There are so many aspects of Beatrix Potter’s works that I have found to be beautiful during this project, however the illustrations and her attention to details in them has been the thing to stick with me the most.  At the heart of her illustrations is Potter’s love and respect for nature.  For that reason, my final blog on her works is dedicated to the beauty of the Peter Rabbit Garden located in the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction.

Award winning designer Richard Lucas took aspects of the classic tale and infused it into the real life garden, which opened in the Lake District in 2009.

Lucas took great strides to make it as close to Mr. McGregor’s garden from the classic story.  He even analyzed the pictures to pick out certain types of plants.  One interesting point that was brought from this was the fact that Peter is not actually eating carrots in the famous picture (featured below) but is in fact eating a type of radish.  For this reason, those in charge of the garden work to save the Long Scarlet Radish.

Various types of plant life is showcased throughout the garden and was brought in from various specialty nurseries across the UK.  Caretakers and gardeners stay true to the idea that this is a real garden and allow weeds to take root among the flowers they have carefully chosen.  Some of these include cabbage, beetroot (for a splash of color), gooseberries, and parsnip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Peter Rabbit Garden is a great homage to the exquisite work Potter spent decades trying to perfect.  It has managed to find a common place for both beauty and functionality, just as Potter strived to do with her little books.

Collecting Bunnies

All over the world, Beatrix Potter fans can proudly show off their own personal collection of her little books and reprints of her watercolors.  However, there are collections and attractions of larger scales for fans to visit and explore.

In London, what is most likely the largest special collection of Beatrix Potter related material is housed at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  As a young girl, Potter would often go to the museum to sketch and was later even inspired by some of the clothing on display there for costumes for characters in her books.  The exhibit came mainly from the private collection of Leslie Linder, a man who studied and collected Potter’s works throughout his life.  At the time of his death, his collection of nearly 280 drawings and forty first edition books was bequeathed to the museum.  Other objects have found their way to the collection over time, including the original “Peter Rabbit Letter” that started it all in 1893.

While this collection is open to the public, it may not be for every fan, especially younger children.  However, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction does fill that gap, offering a fun and informative experience for the young and young at heart who hold Potter’s world dear.

As the video shows, visitors can walk through the exhibits and feel as if they are in the worlds the books create.  Whether you would like to feel as if you are underground with Mr. Tod or in the glades with Jemima Puddle-duck, the attraction offers it.

Furthermore, in 2009, the attraction opened the Peter Rabbit Garden, stocked with various foliage and vegetables mentioned in the original story.  While this is not a special collection per say, it is something that embodies the imagination of Potter.

Movable Books

When one thinks of books from their childhood, pop up/movable books normally come to mind.  Although they were not originally a part of the children’s genre, they have evolved into something that has become a major aspect of it.  Many books have been adapted into some form of a pop up or movable book, including Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit (seen above).

Movable and mechanical books of various forms actually came before the traditional printed texts.  The mystic and poet Ramon Llull used a set of revolving discs to express his work in the 13th century. From there, people began using flaps and slits for books on nature, anatomy and other scholarly topics.  It wasn’t until the 18th century that these movable, or pop up, books were designed for children’s purposes.

During the 1800s, Dean & Sons publishing firm became a leading producer for movable books, using hand made mechanics with cut-outs placed behind each other to give it that three dimensional look.  Over the years, other designers found various methods to making the pop up or moving effect.  Everything from tabs and hidden levers to layers of paper and blinds has been used. Yet most methods must be assembled by hand.

 

 

Today, with the advances in technology giving us tablets, movable books have had to adapt.  Now, one can buy an app of certain books, including Peter Rabbit, which allows the reader to interact and move things within the illustrations themselves.  Instead of a piece of paper popping up from the page, aspects of the illustration can “pop” out from the main image and move with the tap of a finger.  Given how easy it is to damage a traditional pop up book, I can imagine more books going to this.

Little Bunny Books

Today, children’s books come in all different sizes and shapes.  However, when you think back to your childhood, it seems as if large books that were almost impossible to hold upright in tiny hands dominated the bookshelves.  Potter did not wish for her books to fall into this mold.  She had a vision of small, inexpensive books, even when publishers shot her down in favor of more elaborate, pricey pieces.  The 1980s edition that I own that is replicated after the original is a little over 6 inches.

For the most part, the average length/height for a children’s book is around eight inches or so.  Many of the books printed during her time appear to have been roughly this size as well.  Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and others of this time appear to have been printed closer to that size than the size Peter Rabbit and her other books were formatted to.  The cost to print them was more than a smaller book would have been, therefore making the price go up for children to be able to purchase them.

Once Potter got the publishers to agree with her on the smaller format of books, she continued to strive for cost efficient products through the binding.  Warne originally printed two editions of it in 1902.  One was a cloth edition (pictured below) that cost a little more to print while the other was a paper bound edition.

Potter did not feel as if the cloth one was very special, at least not enough to warrant the extra money it would take to make and subsequently purchase.  The paper edition was marketed at 1s, and the cloth edition cost 1s 6d.  Although now, both these editions are worth a great deal more than Potter would have ever imagined.

The Art of Bunnies

Illustrations can serve to enhance the story or be the main focus of the piece.  With Beatrix Potter’s books, it is hard to separate the story from the illustrations considering how crucial they were to her as an author and to her series of books.  In fact, her stories partially came from the art.  Originally, she began doing picture letters to children of family and friends.  She did not know what exactly to say, so instead she created drawings and stories such as the ones below.

From these letters, she eventually went on to illustrate most of her books herself.  Her process would start out with pencil or pen and ink sketches.  From there, the story would develop and she would switch to using watercolors to paint a colored version of the art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potter loved nature and taking in all the fine details of it.  This is often seen in the illustrations of her stories.  She often used her own pets, including her rabbit Peter, as inspiration.  She took what she knew about her own animals to create the fluid images seen in her series.  Potter drew on beautiful nature around her and her own background in studying it to give scenery to the settings described in her texts.

The final product would then be printed into her books using a process where blocks were designed using photomechanical techniques that gave more details.  These blocks, Hentschel blocks, would then be inked using a three-color, half-tone process that gave more of a artistic look to her illustrations, most likely making them resemble the original water color designs all the more.

Potter’s illustrations were meant to engage children and capture their attention, and it is something that her books continue to do over a hundred years later.

Typography and Beatrix Potter

When you pick up a children’s book such as those created by Beatrix Potter, it is easy to simply focus on the beautiful pictures and fun of the story.  One doesn’t realize how crucial the typography of such a book truly is.  However, Beatrix Potter did comprehend the importance of this when she was creating the original designs with her publishers.

With children’s books, the text must not only look appealing, but it also must flow with the illustrations and enhance the theme.  The text can not simply just be put to the paper, as those who reprinted the centenary edition of Peter Rabbit showed by using a hand spacing of the text to make the layout more fun and appealing for a child.

In the centenary edition of Peter Rabbit published in 2002, typography historian Douglas Martin chose to use Founders Caslon.  This typeface was popular of the period in which Potter originally published her first book.  Furthermore, as with the original editions, the spacing and contrast between the actual text and the pictures was executed in great detail, as can be seen below.

Caslon’s typefaces had originated and became popular during the 1700s, dominating the preferred styles of most texts.  Yet his popularity had fallen as time progressed.  However, not too long before Potter’s books were published at the beginning of the 20th Century, a movement to revive his typefaces had began, resulting in an increased use in various versions of his original texts.  In the 1840s, the Chiswick Press helmed by Charles Whittingham began using the Caslon styles in their books.  As time progressed, it became more widely used for the public once more, and is still in use today.