Monday, February 07, 2011

David Clark on the illustrations in What's For Dinner?

Thanks to David Clark for permission to use some of the delectable images from What's For Dinner? in this post. Old fashioned dip pen and ink with watercolor washes, they capture and  play upon the whimsy of the words.

Here's one of the possible jacket images that fell by the wayside--just by way of a peek into the process by which the art developed.

 [Uma] Tell me what your first reactions were to Katherine's manuscript and why you agreed to illustrate this book.

[David]  Very unique!  Susan Sherman at Charlesbridge knew my style and I believe they knew I would jump on this subject matter....  She was right.  It was a good match!

[Uma] Do you have any favorite poems that sparked pictures immediately in your mind?

[David] "Eating Words" the last poem in the book is one of my favorites but it really is hard to pick.  The poems, in general, were inspirational and the imagery came fairly easy.

[Uma] Let's talk about the vulture image for a moment. The poem begins: "No dainty vegetarian..." but oh my, that vulture looks pretty elegant.

[David] I guess the art evolves. I tend to tinker with the sketches while finishing and of course the publisher and author lend a hand in the over all look.  Elegant carcass eater works!

It does indeed. Here's the sketch for that picture, along with the final image. See how that neck got extended, and the head tipped up and back just a touch? See the extra carrion stretch? Makes all the difference.

What a treat to see the lines of the art take shape to fit the precise mood and tone of the lines of poetry.


  1. I'm fascinated by the shift in tone with simple moves like the tilt of the head and the stretch of the carrion. So subtle, yet changes everything.

  2. Denise, I love that too, how the shift in a line of the drawing can bring the heart of an image closer to the meaning of a different kind of line--of poetry.