I was asked to donate a Wild Things homage to be auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting RIF, an organization I am proud to be affiliated with. In fact, some years ago I contributed a short recollection of my mom reading young Tony House at Pooh Corner for RIF’s anniversary book, The Art of Reading.
Maurice’s legacy in words and pictures has inspired me since I first lay eyes on In the Night Kitchen and Higglety Pigglety Pop! 1980′s The Art of Maurice Sendak had a tremendous influence on my journey to become a children’s book creator. In fact, I quoted from it last year when I spoke at the SCBWI’s annual conference. Like many, I was saddened to hear of his passing last year. I honored Maurice by reading Wild Things before beginning my first event in Los Angeles for the Hero for WondLa tour.
Needless to say, I was nervous and excited to “cover” Maurice’s most beloved characters. I’d seen some lovely tributes before and knew I had my work cut out for me. I came across a little drawing of Max, likely done back in 1999 or so.
…and since Max is who I associate with most, I started with him for my new rendition.
I returned to my dog-eared (signed!) copy of the book looking for inspiration. I really liked the wild rumpus scene where Max is riding the minotaur as king; however, I worried that my version would look really minotaur-y (yes, its a word). So, I swapped out the minotaur for the bearded Wild Thing (with the striped shirt) as he seemed the most iconic of all the monsters.
In drawing the Wild Thing, I realized what an influence their design must have had on Jim Henson when he was creating his more monsterly Muppets – especially Sweetums. (In addition, I once read that Maurice’s Outside Over There was the inspiration for Labyrinth .)
As I refined my sketch, I remembered an interview where Maurice said that the Wild Things were inspired by his aunts and uncles. With that in mind, I put a little of Maurice in the monster. (Or did I just show a little of the monster that was in Maurice?)
I’d like to think Maurice would have liked this. I sure hope you enjoy the final result. I’ll post news on the auction once it goes live.
via Tony DiTerlizzi, Never Abandon Imagination Tony D http://diterlizzi.com/home/rifs-where-the-wild-things-are-gala/