This is a little quasi-3D piece I did for two very close friends as a Christmas present a couple of years back. I used a deep frame I found along with a scan of a page of one of my favorite children’s books, The Phantom Tollbooth. This page introduces the twin princesses Rhyme and Reason, rulers of the kingdom of Wisdom. After the princesses were imprisoned in the Castle in the Air, the kingdom of Wisdom fell into chaos. Since my two friends remind me of these princesses, the page seemed ideal. I scanned it to get that nice yellowed color (it’s from the 1960’s).
I made little rolls of paper to act as supports for the clouds and part of the balcony of the Castle in the Air, and cut everything else out of origami paper which I then drew on with white and black ink. My friend Amy Wilke of Paper Raven Art + Design does this kind of thing all the time, a lot better, and would probably wince at the methods I used. But I managed to achieve something workable.
On a side note, I adore children’s/young adult books and still buy them for myself often. Books like The Phantom Tollbooth and The Faery Flag are chock-full of interesting ideas, while no one who’s ever shuddered at Stephen Gammell’s illustrations for the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy or seen the breathtaking art of a Leo Lionni book will soon forget it. If I ever do a children’s book, I will consider it a high point of my career and not some sort of emergency financial concession.