October 24th, 2010 by Nancy
Sometimes when I look at a book cover — especially a kids’ book cover — I think, “Wow, someone drew that. With their hand! With pencil and/or pen! No computers involved!” And sometimes, the cover illustration is so amazing, it never needs to be replaced — like in the case of Garth Williams‘ cover illustration of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. Recently, the original cover illustration of Charlotte’s Web was sold at auction for $155,350… Whoa!
The classic cover shows Fern Arable, Wilbur the Pig, and others gazing up at Charlotte A. Cavatica as she drops down from the title of the book — cleverly spun to say, “Charlotte’s Web.” The book cover is so amazing, it was even replicated for the poster for the 2006 movie!
Garth Williams actually modeled his illustrations of Fern after his own daughter, Fiona — I wonder if she looked anything like Dakota Fanning, who played Fern in the 2006 movie?
Mr. Williams illustrated over a hundred children’s books, and if I just picture a few of my favorites in my mind, like Little House in the Big Woods, A Cricket in Times Square, or Bedtime for Frances, I realize, WOW — Garth Williams’ illustrations has been the basis of many of my childhood memories and imaginations! Are there any books illustrations that you especially connect with?
Nancy also tried to replicate some interior illustrations from Charlotte’s Web several months ago, but the results don’t really do justice to the original. They’re more like an insult. Sorry.