Bibliophile Birthday: Illustrator Rene Bull (1872 – 1942)

bday 12-11 Rene_Bull Arabian Nights art

Born on December 11, 1872, Rene Bull started his artistic career as a political cartoonist and sketch artist. He later turned his talents to illustration, creating richly detailed art for “The Arabian Nights” (1912), “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” (1913), and other children’s titles. Remembering his lush imagery on his birthday, here are some of my favorite Rene Bull artworks.

bday 12-11 a ReneBull

bday 12-11 rene bull arabian nights illustration bday 12-11 rene bull arabian nights art mountain bday 12-11 rene bull arabian nights art eagle

Bibliophile Birthday: Georges Melies, the ‘Inspiration of Hugo Cabret’

Georges Melies

Georges Melies

Born on this day in 1861 , “Cinemagician”, Georges Melies was re-introduced to a whole new generation of film fans (and bibliophiles) through Brian Selnick’s monumental 2007 book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. Thank God.

In the very nascence of film-making, Melies was an illusionist-turned-filmmaker who recognized the contributions that manipulating audience perceptions could have on moving pictures.  He is credited with being one of the first film-makers to use stop-motion tricks, dissolves, time-lapse photography and hand-painted color in movie making. He moved stage magic into the realm of movies…and the craft has never looked back since.

bday 12-8 georges melies hugo cabret selznick artIn 2007, author-illustrator Brian Selznick built a beautiful story filled with Caldecott-winning illustrations that re-introduced the man who took film-making from its toddlerhood into the realms of real movie magic. The name and contributions of Georges Melies are resurrected (both in the book AND in the real world) in an instance where art imitates life…and vice versa (thank you Oscar Wilde!).

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” almost qualifies as a wordless book, with page after page of story-telling illustrations punctuated by intermittent pages of text.  The dark frames surrounding each page of illustration create a lovely silver-gray effect as the closed book is viewed edge-on.  It’s a thick book and on the shelf it looks like one of the most challenging tomes in the Kids/YA section. But in truth, it’s an ideal choice for reluctant/challenged readers as well as adult fans of the finest illustration arts.

When we see the wonders of special effects in film today – sitting through one on-screen spectacle after another – it’s easy to become inured to the magic behind the movie-making. We don’t really think about the journey from the earliest days of cinema to the full-on multimedia experiences we enjoy today.

Today is a good day to remember Georges Melies and his vision with a wonderful re-read of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”.

Frank Herbert’s “Dune”: That About Covers It

Right about the time when science fiction’s ‘golden age’ was dimming in the mid-sixties, author Frank Herbert was shopping around to publishers a dense manuscript set largely on a desert world.

It was a vast anthropological, environmental and political sci-fi epic that was rejected by every publisher. Except Chilton (yes, the Chilton that is best known for publishing auto repair manuals). And thank Muad’dib…they published it.

To mark the birthday of Frank Herbert, the visionary author of one of Sci-fi literature’s most enduring and influential worlds – here’s a selective collection of “Dune” book covers and illustrations – from the spare to the far out –  that remain signature visual reminders of Herbert’s landmark work.

bday 10-8 coverENCYCLO

bday 10-8 FrankHerbert_ChapterhouseDune_1st-No-ship

bday 10-8 Frank Herbert Ornithopter-RoadtoDune

bday 10-8 frank herbert notebooks of

bday 10-8 frank herbert dune cover

bday 10-8 frank herbert dune cover art

bday 10-8 Dune Frank Herberst first

bday 10-8 ChildrenOfDune_FullCover


bday 10-8 dune messiah cover

bday 10-8 dune-herbert-frank-hardcover-cover-art

bday 10-8 herbert God Emperor of Dune

bday 10-8 herbertGodEmperorOfDune

bday 10-8 frank h Rare Dune art from Omni

This image was recently pulled from the archives of Omni magazine. It was reported to be highly commended by Frank Herbert as an accurate depiction of the Dune he imagined.