MetaTalktail Hour: Box art, take me away September 19, 2020 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Did you ever feel transported by an image? Some things (games, books, music albums,, cereals, ...) have cover art that can draw you into its world with a single image, even if the product then didn't really live up. Or short video (like tv ads, music videos, opening credits) that create an outsized atmosphere in a just a limited time. Did you have one like that, maybe something that really captured your imagination as a kid, or even now? Let's hear about it.

As always, this is a conversation starter not limiter. The thread is here to talk about what's going on with you these days, just please skip the politics/doom discussions in here (there are other open threads for those).
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 2:00 PM (57 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I know there are book covers from when I was a kid that had this quality, but i'm blanking on what they are and hoping other people will come up with them.

More recent example, for some reason the box art for the game Machi Koro speaks to me this way. (I don't love the game, it's ok, but something about the box art really gets me.) What an appealing little place! There's a rocket in the middle of town for some reason, and look at those nice hills with their trees.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:13 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Lots of things. This cover of The Left Hand of Darkness. Probably come up with others later.
posted by signal at 2:54 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

The illustrations in my 3rd grade English book did this for me. (This was long enough ago that Language Arts hadn't yet taken over as the name for this subject.) It's not that the pictures were anything special; it's just that everything else around me was so deadly dull. The book was mostly grammar and spelling but it had poems scattered through it and every one had an accompanying illustration. During English period, while the teacher was talking or other kids were being called on to identify the subject or predicate of a sentence, I would flip through the book looking for the poems. I liked to gaze at the pictures and imagine I was there. My favorite was Tennyson's "The Brook," which was separated into 4 sections, each with its own illustration waiting to transport me to the bank of a lovely stream.
posted by Redstart at 2:56 PM on September 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Dorothy Lathrop's illustration for poet Sara Teasdale's "Stars.
posted by Oyéah at 3:26 PM on September 19, 2020

Was was 13 when The Beatles Revolver came out. I loved the freestyle handmade noncommercial style of it. Still love it.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:46 PM on September 19, 2020

I had a large calendar one year of Art Deco images and one of the months had this beautiful Art Deco-ish painting called House & Garden. The guy I lived with secretly took the calendar page out, framed it and gave it to me for Christmas. Our relationship did not ultimately work out , but I’ve put that picture up in every place I’ve lived in afterwards. Every time I look at it, I know that I loved and was loved for a time. It’s an amazing feeling. Someone I really respect is known for saying “All that remains is the love given and the love received. “ No matter how crazy I get, I know that that is true.
posted by gt2 at 4:55 PM on September 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

Roger Dean. I bought this book when I was a teenager because of the covers of my friend's Yes albums. I would sit and pore over it for hours, transporting myself to fantastical realms.

Later in life I sometimes did something similar while looking at Ansel Adams' landscapes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:01 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. The first eight notes from the Twilight Zone intro.

How many of you just got goosebumps? Just me?
posted by Night_owl at 6:49 PM on September 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

This version of The Great Stone Of Sardis...not sure if it transports me, but of the many books I've read, it's the cover I remember.

Today at the foodbank I've been volunteering with, someone introduced me to a new person by saying "This is Gorgik, he's a veteran volunteer and a master sorter" (I'm usually back-of-house working on sorting donations). It struck me because I've only been there since March. And then holy crap, March was so, so, so long ago. And so recent.
posted by Gorgik at 8:49 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, I always liked the covers of the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series, so much so that I kept taking them out of the school library even though I didn’t like the books much and never finished a single one. The covers always made them look so cool, but then I was bored by the stories. I think I even asked for one or two for presents. Hope springs eternal, I guess.
posted by holborne at 9:53 PM on September 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

"Seated Figure and a Cosmic Train" by Shonberg (1965)...

...because if you've done the necessary chemicals it is entirely familiar. If you've done enough you can probably still feel the radiation as it passes through, right now as I am speaking to you in this moment.
posted by aramaic at 10:16 PM on September 19, 2020

A couple things:

The two page party on top of the tree at the end of Go Dog Go. I could, and did, as a child, stare at it for ages.

I have long since forgotten the title, but there was a book I checked out so often in elementary school that my teacher actually yelled at me about always reading the same book (I read non-stop at home, too). The book was a detective story, all of the characters were talking animals in a forest. The main character may have been a badger, and maybe it was all a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, but I was too young to notice. There was a random recipe for the main character's favorite snack at the end, which was cream cheese and sliced bananas on graham crackers (and it was delicious). There were pen and ink illustrations throughout the book, and the final illustration at the climax of the book had a waterfall emptying into the lake the main characters were standing at the shore of. I would stare at that page for hours. Sound familiar to anyone?

While I in general hate commercials, some stick with me, like the Sony Bravia commercial with bouncing balls flying down the hills in San Francisco, with Jose Gonzales' cover of Heartbeats playing.

The last is a little odd, unless you're familiar with the random filler that overseas broadcasts of American shows use for all of the commercial breaks. Here, for shows on Discovery Channel, there are random commercials for a technology company called Disco. One of their commercials has a song (in English) that I really, really like. It has a female vocalist, and the music and lyrics just sort of give off this powerful feeling of optimism, even in the face of failure, but not lecturing, more of a camaraderie Most commercials in Japan list the title and artist at least for a second, but not this one. Looking at the comments for another, similar commercial with a song on it, it seems that this was, in fact, an original song made specifically for the commercial. It's just such an uplifting feel to it, but then it just cuts out.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:20 PM on September 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Two Dromedaries and a Donkey by Paul Klee (1919). Every time I see it I feel like I'm getting a small glimpse of a kinder, gentler world than this one.
posted by the tulips are too red in the first place at 12:54 AM on September 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

In the Court of the Crimson King 😱
posted by Klipspringer at 2:30 AM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

MCA/Chicago used to be open late on Thursdays, I think. I was alone, didn’t want to go home or to a bar. Turns out the show was Dennis Hopper’s photography from the 1960’s.

This was not the best photo from the Selma portion. But yet. Dignified men, the protest sign held up by an umbrella, as the helicopters are coming. My eyes watered in fear. I’ve never reacted, before or since, like that to a still piece.
posted by lemon_icing at 4:47 AM on September 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Horse and Train by Alex Colville fascinated me when I was a kid, still does!
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:07 AM on September 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been transfixed by this album cover since it first came into the store back in 2009. The band and album itself are pretty great too. (This song is still on a few of my regular playlists).

Apparently I'm into round windows into another world pictures because I spent the first part of summer continually staring a this one as well.
posted by thivaia at 6:15 AM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Pretty much anything by Alphonse Mucha.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:39 AM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I watched a lot of British kid shows (Danger Mouse, The Tomorrow People, etc.) by way of Nickelodeon in the early 80s, and to this day I have a nigh-Pavlovian response to the Thames TV logo.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:55 AM on September 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

This one comes to mind for me. It was a black and white picture of the painting, and not very large, probably in an encyclopedia, so you'd think it wouldn't have this effect, but I was probably eight or nine years old, and while I had read books about sharks, I had never seen the ocean, only lakes where you could always see the shore...
"The Gulf Stream" by Winslow Homer.
Mast broken.
No rudder.
Boat listing.
Rough seas.
Sharks circling.
A waterspout approaching.
Dread, or stoic acknowledgement that the end is near, one way or another.
posted by coppertop at 7:58 AM on September 20, 2020

As a bookish kid in a smallish town with no nearby library, I was always in quest of books by hook or by crook. There was a small bookstore with mostly paperbacks near the Italian deli my parents used to frequent, to get things like rye bread shipped in from NYC, buttery prosciutto, and delicious Italian hoagies. I would dart in the bookstore when my parents went to the deli and would troll the fantasy and sf section. One day, they had a new display of the first authorized U.S. paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings. I know a lot of people deprecate the covers of those (including Tolkien himself), which were done by Barbara Remington (more info.) before she had a chance to read the books (a fact she lamented), but I loved them, and it inspired me to beg my parents to buy me the books despite knowing nothing about them. The 3 covers were actually done as one painting, and then split up onto the three books, and I got a poster of the whole illustration that I had up in my room for years.
posted by gudrun at 8:06 AM on September 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

I saw an amazing piece of wirework art at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition a year or two ago that gave me a very strong sense of just glimpsing the inside of a secret world - Refuge by Cathy de Monchaux

When I was a kid I often got this sense from the covers of D&D modules such as the infamous Tomb of Horrors
posted by crocomancer at 8:43 AM on September 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

When I was a kid in the early 60s, science fiction was hard to come by. One source was the Winston Science Fiction novels at the library, many of which had this amazing black&white painting by Alex Shomburg in the end-papers.
posted by Rash at 8:57 AM on September 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Every week as a kid at our tiny local library, I plowed through all the Ray Bradbury books. This one had the best cover, but on first read I was slightly disappointed there wasn't an actual story in the book that went with the cover.
Long After Midnight, the first edition cover is this painting, The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli. It was also the first time I realized that books used other works of art as covers; I'd only every seen children's books with covers made to reference something within the text. It's easily my favorite of all Bradbury story collections, and this image thrilled my budding little goth self, and still does.
posted by winesong at 9:52 AM on September 20, 2020

Like crocomancer, I was mesmerized by Dragon Magazine covers and artwork, and art from various AD&D books. I could pass hours just thumbing through them.

The opposite effect, for me, is In the Court of the Crimson King album cover. I absolutely loathe that image in ways I can't even begin to express.
posted by jzb at 11:40 AM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid I was obsessed by this cover of Philip K. Dick's Martian Time Slip and my dad had the record of Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Centre of the Earth. I spent hours looking at that gatefold album cover. When was I younger still, I found Willy Pogany's illustrations in Padraic Colum's Golden Fleece extremely evocative.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:42 AM on September 20, 2020

Maxfield Parrish! Especially the ones without any people in them, eg Cascades, which allows proper concentration on the rocks and the trees.

I’ve never seen any of his big stained glass mosaics directly, alas.
posted by clew at 12:31 PM on September 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

I always liked the covers of the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series

I read those and liked them, but I was way more taken by the yellow spine hardback Nancy Drew books that had renditions of other covers on the inside end papers. Those plus the names of the books were extremely evocative to me.

I haven't been able to find evidence of it online, but when I was little and lived in Kansas City (so late 70s probably) for a couple years the phone book came with a highly detailed line art drawing of the city that included a bunch of landmark, but had lots of comic details like animals escaping from the zoo. I still love that kind of wall of realistic detail art.
posted by fleacircus at 1:01 PM on September 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

I really love the sassiness and Warner Brothers homage of the cover art for Atomizer by Big Black
posted by Going To Maine at 1:17 PM on September 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I spent a lot of time in school, especially middle-school, drawing dragons and other creatures from the covers of books I was reading. I shared a lot of them already in the dragons thread earlier this summer. I drew those suckers so many times they're baked into my muscle memory at this point.

Also, as an undergraduate I had this Michael Bedard image of a factory where they make ducks, and it remains one of the absolute high points of art in my mind. I loved, and continue to love, that thing so much. I don't remember ever giving it away but it's no longer in my possession and I deeply regret that.
posted by DingoMutt at 1:37 PM on September 20, 2020

(I realize the duck factory isn't box art per se, but thinking of art always makes me want to share it. Another non-box drawing that I came across much more recently and deeply love are these trash gryphons, which feel kind of appropriate for 2020 now that I think of it. My wife tells me that I make that vulture opossum face a lot and she's not wrong)
posted by DingoMutt at 1:41 PM on September 20, 2020

I think I had the opposite experience of most of my friends when it comes to cover art. Between around the ages of 13 and 21, I completely ignored most SF and genre fiction, 'cause I found the cover art so unpleasant. I wasn't particularly ashamed of being a geek. (I wore a Starfleet uniform to school on multiple occasions.) I wasn't particularly opposed to enjoying low-brow art. (I probably rented Gallagher tapes often enough to have bought them all.) But, for some reason, when it comes to books, the cover-art was enough to convince me to skip the SF aisle entirely. Also the romance, mystery, and fantasy aisles, but I've not yet been convinced to really engage with those.

I didn't really read any modern or contemporary SF until late in college, when some friends staged an intervention and forced me to read a number of the classics. They were right. (Well. . . don't start with Asimov's Empire series, even if they were written first. But, mostly they were right.)

A while ago a friend of mine published a very successful and award winning series of SF/Fantasy novels. They were incredibly excited to show me the extra-fancy, shiny metalic cover art that had nothing at all to do with the book. I'm pretty sure I was polite, but 16-year-old-me kept thinking, "at least you can remove the jacket from the hardback so it doesn't look awful."

I'm entirely convinced that book cover art does more good than harm and probably draws in a lot of people who aren't judgemental weirdos like me. But, I'm kind of annoyed that it took me so long to learn not to judge a book by its cover. (My new challenge as an adult is to truly recognize the value in artists' concept drawings that accompany astronomy news stories.)
posted by eotvos at 2:11 PM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

This cover and the amazing sound of Killer Queen honestly changed my life. I cannot emphasize this too strongly. I was 15 years old, awakening sexually and completely blown away.

Freddy, some of us knew. :)
posted by Splunge at 2:33 PM on September 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Actually, most of us knew. And for me, I thank you. You wonderful man. You giant. You mensch. You genius. Many kisses.
posted by Splunge at 5:34 PM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I did not encounter this cover of Tanith Lee's Delerium's Mistress until I was in college and my tastes had developed enough to recognize it as a slightly dubious pleasure but it seemed to me to be freighted with melancholy and remoteness and a sense of power and adulthood. Somehow in the intervening years much of the force has gone, but it's probably one of my favorite fantasy images.

The book holds up well, too, provided that you like Tanith Lee's schlocky eroticism - demons, gods, enormous jewels, mythical beasts, beauty beyond the lot of mortals, vast landscapes, improbably architecture, acts of enormous compassion and enormous cruelty, etc etc. It's also a perfectly standard bildungsroman with actual philosophizing about spiritual education stuff, and when you come right down to brass tacks, a lot of the philosophy is cheap but it's no cheaper than Herman Hesse, and I'd as soon take my Hesse from a woman writer and ornamented with sapphires as big as the ritz. It also has a lot of stories-within-stories and though the writing is purple and uneven, there are some really quite good parts. It's a funny book - lord knows it's not good, exactly, but it definitely isn't either bad or mediocre.
posted by Frowner at 6:57 AM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's funny, fantasy art definitely "transports"/has transported me more and differently than serious art.

So, for instance, I love Max Beckmann. Right now he's probably my favorite artist, and Self-portrait with horn really does have a strange spiritual power. I could probably look at it for an hour and not get bored, both because of the contemplative state it induces and because my eye never gets tired of following its lines. There are other paintings that I find induce a contemplative state (some George Tooker, for instance, or early Holman Hunt) but the Beckmann seems to have so much density.

Like, it's obviously a "better" painting than the Michael Whelan Tanith Lee cover. It has more mystery. It's harder to exhaust. If I could own one but only one, I'd pick the Beckmann.

I suppose it's that the Beckmann doesn't have any delight and is foreclosed by history. You don't look at the Beckmann and think of infinities or human potential or the old Sensawonda. You may look at it and pass through it as with a religious image, but you pass through it into history and the aging/dying body. Beckmann may be wonderful and the painting may be wonderful and human interiority may be strange and marvelous, but the human world is bad.

I suppose fantasy paintings are enticing because they promise a world that is "real" (in the sense that a novel is real) but marvelous and human. You don't have to die and achieve some spiritual change, you can live in the world in the body but it's still marvelous.

You know that Tolkien story "Leaf By Niggle"? There's a bit in there about how, in the marvelous sorta-afterlife landscapes look mysterious and enticing in the distance and then retain their mystery and enticement as you walk into them. Which, now that I think about it, would be pretty weird. But that's a bit like fantasy painting - it promises that when you get up close it's still marvelous.

Maybe that's what socialist realism also does. Like, you look at this painting and you know that if you stepped into it, the physical world would be wonderful and satisfying. Everything would be invested with a sort of fullness of itself - the girders would be the very embodiment of girderness, the woman's welding clothes would have a satisfying fullness to touch, the light would be the ultimate kind of light. You don't really pass through this art into a spiritual or contemplative world per se, you pass through it into a world that has come into its own fullness. You look at the landscape behind Stalin or the harvest or whatever and you know that if you walked into it, it would still be wonderful.
posted by Frowner at 7:45 AM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was at the Japanese bookstore in New York in 2008-ish when I saw a very elegant slim hardcover book with this cover. I fell in love with it for reasons I couldn't explain now. It seemed elegant and pure and full of longing.

I can read Japanese, and back in those days I bought Japanese books fairly often to keep my vocabulary sharp, but I bought a lot of books that I ended up not finishing, and my common sense took over and said why on EARTH would I buy a $30 hardcover based only on a pretty cover when there were $3 paperbacks at Book-Off that I might like just as much.

So I wrote down the title, and I bought it when it came out in paperback, though I didn't like the cover nearly as much. But the book itself was fantastic. It was elegant and pure and full of longing. And eventually I bought a lot of Kazuki Sakuraba's other books, because she is a weird and ambitious and genre-bending and messy and very good writer.

But what I remember most about this book is reading it on the subway while moving apartments, with lamps and other odds and ends stuffed into one of those giant blue IKEA tote bags. I was very sad that my roommate had decided to move to Maine with her boyfriend, and I didn't really understand that I was sad, or why I was sad. But this book -

It's about a teenage girl coming to realize that her closest friend, the only boy she doesn't hate, is in fact her half-brother (his father had an affair with her mother). How she comes to realize that she loves him but also has to give up on him. And I didn't know why I found it so cathartic, but I was just weeping and weeping on the M train after I finished the last pages.

I still feel like there was something a little fated about having, in those days, the exact book I needed for getting over a crush I didn't know I had. Just because something about it spoke to me when I saw it on the shelves at Kinokuniya.
posted by Jeanne at 7:48 AM on September 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

I know a lot of people deprecate the covers of those (including Tolkien himself), which were done by Barbara Remington

I'm sad that people deprecate those. They are my favorites due to childhood associations and, I think, among the best covers. They're really strange, which is what makes them great - all of the other widely distributed covers seem to me to work really hard to situate the books in a sort of boring-romantic English fantasyland (which is, I guess, what Tolkien aimed to do). But those covers - the lush colors and rounded shapes! the visible pencil! the weird forms that are viking-by-way-of-surrealism! They give you a sense of loneliness and displacement that I think really needs to underpin the books - it's not just a walk in the English countryside, it's a series of journeys through this weird formerly-populated landscape scarred by thousands of years of apocalyptic battle. If anything, the covers oversell the books.
posted by Frowner at 8:17 AM on September 21, 2020 [6 favorites]

My favorite TV commercials of all time are from Routsong Funeral Home, in Dayton, Ohio. See 11:42 of this. They still do that sort of thing today: silence, with a peaceful nature scene. It's quite a difference from most commercials that overwhelm you with volume. I, uh, have not had an opportunity to use their services, though, so for now I'm just judging the book by the cover.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:29 AM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Every Iron Maiden Album Cover. I'm not actually a fan of the band even, but I love every album cover.

Hellraiser on VHS in the video rental shop when I was too young to even really choose a kids' film just fascinated me. In fact a lot of ancient 70s and 80s horror flicks, some of which I've subsequently looked up ("Basket Case" was surprisingly wholesome, IIRC) but nothing compares to the delicious anticipation. I knew what Freddie Kruger looked like more than a decade before I actually saw the films.

It's one of the great pleasures of adult life to do the things that were forbidden to you as a child, isn't it?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 9:50 AM on September 21, 2020

Mary Pratt's Jelly Shelf. It glows.
posted by scruss at 10:13 AM on September 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

I was about 16 when I first saw Toulouse-Latrec’s poster for
Jane Avril - Jardin de Paris.
I was smitten and had the poster on my wall for years.
posted by dbmcd at 1:38 PM on September 21, 2020

This Bank of New Zealand Advertisement, 1990 transports me to the land of uncomplicated identities and happy mortgages...
posted by haemanu at 2:38 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's been a busy, if not actually productive in work terms, day. I managed to get up and get a preorder done for the new XBox Series X console as an early birthday present to myself. Then I got my absentee ballot in the mail, voted, and returned it electronically.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:02 AM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Every Iron Maiden Album Cover. I'm not actually a fan of the band even, but I love every album cover.

As a kid, every Sunday morning we would haul off to (a very conservative, intense) church. There was a stop light that was clearly busted and we would have to sit there waiting for it for like 15 minutes every single time. It sat the car right in front of a head shop, Iron Maiden posters and shirts proudly hung in the window display. They'd change every once in a while, and I was entranced. I too have never been much a fan of the band, but the art planted some seeds. They were so creepy, and transgressive in the height of the satanic panic. I was never old enough to get there or visit before it closed, but MAN was that place important to me.

My dad also for some even-to-this-day un-fucking knowable reason had copies of Oxygene and Equinoxe and that shit explains a lot of where my tastes landed as an adult, and I still think they're much more than the sum of their parts.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:22 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

When I was very young I was entranced by the Edward Gorey intro to public television’s Masterpiece Mystery! And then my fascination with the illustrator was cemented when I discovered John Bellairs novels.
posted by gryphonlover at 10:00 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

A few years ago I stumbled across this photo at work and ordered a print to hang in our living room because it's just so evocative of certain aspects of '80s childhood. I didn't grow up in Toronto, but I would have been about the same age as the kids in the photo and I (and my friends and relatives) absolutely did stuff like that.

The caption in the original story states that these are kids from a local day camp who were brought over to the ruins of what used to be Maple Leaf Stadium to play there. These days this photo would run in a story about the place getting shut down and the operators arrested.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

O! I have no interest in playing Warhammer 40K, but man does all of the ridiculous art for it make the teenage boy in me dance around in ashamed glee. Space Armor! Skulls! Big guns and ridiculous swords!Weird space popes! City-sized mechs covered in cannons! It's really quite primal.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:17 AM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

I love this question - for me it was seeing Chris Foss and other artists of his ilk's illustrations for the early 70s re-issues of the Lensman pulp sci-fi novels. I remember seeing these in the bookrack of the local post office when I was about 4 or 5 and the huge impression they made on me. Foss is still an influence on my artwork today. It went deep.
posted by Chairboy at 4:01 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

This article on Foss articulates some of what I was getting at in my previous comment.
posted by Chairboy at 4:13 PM on September 23, 2020

ooh, This cover of the Magician's Nephew. The first six Narnia books were all great in their own way (tho I actually always liked Lion, Witch & Wardrobe the least); but that image of the wood between the worlds grabbed my imagination in a way none of the other illustrations did.

+1 whoever mentioned the two page dog party spread fro Go Dog Go, above. It fascinated me as a tiny kid, and when I read it to my first toddler I could feel her little body start to vibrate with excitement as that part came up.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:14 PM on September 23, 2020

When I was a child, I was given a book called Folktales of the Amur, which I love mostly for the illustrations (though the stories were also very good). They were done by Gennady Pavilshin and I was completely fascinated by them.

This one and this one were particular favorites.
posted by darchildre at 11:57 AM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

I had this lunchbox as a kid. The illustrations really fired my imagination and took me away.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:04 PM on September 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

I am envious of your lunchbox, Thorzdad. It has an almost late-40s/early-50s Looney Toons feel to it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:38 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Some years ago I ran across a book called "The Drawings of Heinrich Kley." Although they were obviously comments and critiques of his times, they bridged the decades, and, for a while, softened my rapidly blossoming cynicism. I viewed him as a sort of "Norman Rockwell" on peyote.
posted by mule98J at 6:48 AM on September 25, 2020

The Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook was a big eye opener for me. I love how it is entirely hand-written and illustrated 1 2 3, and the recipes are banging too. I was, and still am, an untrained, minimally skilled artist, and when I saw this book I went from "meh, what can I draw today", to "wow, I can draw this tomato right here!".
posted by waving at 12:12 PM on September 25, 2020

The illustrations from the early manuals and modules for Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced D&D, mostly created by people doing art as side jobs during the late 70s and early 80s, felt to me to be truer to the game than the later, much more polished and professional artwork. The inelegant roughness of most of the paintings and drawings made the idea of lurking around underground (or in some big bad's stone castle) for days at a time feel grimy, desperate, and not necessarily heroic, but mysterious and adventurous anyway.

I mentioned this in Vaughn Oliver's obit thread, but the art he helped create for the 4AD record label were often evocative of their music to a nearly synesthetic degree.
posted by ardgedee at 11:25 AM on September 28, 2020

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