Saturday, July 26, 2014


I wrote this post eight days ago but embargoed it until certain announcements could be made today at Comic-Con International in San Diego (where last night I either won or lost an Eisner Award, I didn't know which when I was composing this last Friday and I think I just blew my mind).

Last week my editor at Abrams, Charlie Kochman, spent several days in my hometown with photographer Geoff Spear, who did a little shooting for my book Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow, and designer/editor/writer Chip Kidd. They didn't come to see me, but rather a humble little museum down the street dedicated to the work of "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. As was just announced at Comic-Con, Abrams is doing a new book on Schulz's art. I got to tag along while they worked on it.

(Some of this I hinted at on Facebook at the time. I probably shouldn't have done that.)

All these photos are by my wife Karen unless she's in them.

BBQ chicken dinner at my house. That's me, Chip, Geoff and Charlie. I don't know why the latter two drank Cokes, I offered them the good stuff.
Chip found one of his books on my shelves and graciously offered to sign it, but pouted when he saw the sticker indicating I'd bought it on clearance. After peeling off the sticker, he signed it anyway. 
Backstage at the Schulz Museum, Geoff lines up a shot of the original art for a "Peanuts" Sunday strip. At the table behind him is Maggie from the museum's staff. They treat original Schulzes like Fort Knox treats gold bars (as well they should). Generally, only museum staff touched the artwork, and there were two or three of them on hand at all times. 
Geoff snapping a photo, digital of course. Geoff is well-known and well-regarded for capturing all the lumps, bumps and texture of the objects he photographs. They look real on the page. Tactile. He achieves that by using a single bright light source at a low angle and shooting a range of time exposures, which he combines in Photoshop to even out their brightness. It's clever yet simple; elegant.
Geoff, Chip and Charlie discussing the size of a piece of art and how it might be reproduced. It was interesting to watch them work and construct the book. Chip and Charlie came in basically knowing what they were looking for, but every newly opened box turned up Schulz treasures that'd never been seen before. Many decisions were made on the fly.
Maggie at left, wearing her nitrile gloves. Chip and Charlie are taking reference snapshots of a particularly good piece that Geoff is getting ready to shoot.
Wine Country dinner Thursday night. There's Karen! We tried to make our guests feel at home.

This was neat. I think the guys got more than they expected and everything they needed to produce an exceptional book of Schulz art. I got to spend some time with my pals. We ate well. Good days.

Look for the book, title to be determined, next year.

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