Despite being categorized, like most books, by author name, it is generally the illustrations, not the words, that make a picturebook what it is. Pictorial storytelling dates back to the earliest forms of narrative history, found on cave walls, but the form of picturebook as we think of it is less than two hundred years old. In the latter 19th century Randolph Caldecott transformed the tradition of children’s book illustration. Since then, it has become one of the most varied and inspiring fields of artwork, with an incredibly vast array of styles and techniques.
For this project, I chose to look at one contemporary illustrator, John Parra, and one illustrator who has been creating picturebooks for over forty years, Paul Goble. Both illustrators draw from the traditional techniques of a specific cultural background. John Parra takes inspiration from traditional Mexican styles and culture, while Paul Goble creates stories and illustrations that are inspired by and reflect traditional American Indian style and culture. Each creates rich, beautiful illustrations, but with very different styles and techniques.