Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Del Rey Grampa

I find Michael Herring's cover painting for the Del Rey edition of Grampa in Oz very interesting. The image is not taken from any specific John R. Neill drawing, and Herring has been far more accurate in his depiction of Urtha than Neill ever was. According to the text, Urtha's "...face, hands and neck were of the tiniest white blossoms, her eyes, deep blue violets, her mouth a rosebud, and her nose and brows delicately marked with pink stems." In the close up I'm showing of Urtha's face, the white petals of the skin are visible, as well as the flower eyes.

The book goes on to describe her hair made of flowering ferns, her skirt of blossoming vines, and her waist of every flower you could think of, with pansy buttons . This is one point were Herring slightly misinterpreted the text - I think by "waist", Ruth Plumly Thompson meant shirtwaist, or blouse, not just a belt around the middle.

I also have a preliminary sketch for this painting, which differs from the finished piece. Urtha appears much less human, in a slightly different pose, and there is a much more elaborate garden background that was dropped for the final image. Grampa himself is pretty much identical to the finished cover!


Bell-Snickle said...

Very nice! The details in the skin and eyes are hard to notice on the actual book cover but are lovely in the the full-size painting. I think Herring did a better job portraying Granpa's game leg as well.

As much as I love John R. Neill, unfortunately I don't think he put a lot of effort in many of the "Granpa" illustrations so it's a treat to see the Herring takes in their larger glory.

Bell-Snickle said...

I do like the background in the preliminary sketch better though. Since Groba's garden was underground, I thought it was sort of odd to have such an open sky showing.