Thursday, June 21, 2007

Appreciating Arnold Roth, and on picking through 'Pick A Peck Of Puzzles'

So let's see, how does this story go, again??

Recently I stumbled upon the spot illustration to the left in a 1962 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, attached to an editorial titled 'The Abominable Experts'.

It reminded me how much I've always enjoyed the artwork of Arnold Roth.

I'd seen a fair amount of his cartoons in various publications over the years, and I'd been lucky enough to catch the retrospective exhibition of his work when it passed through San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum a few years back.

It was an eye-opener.

Reminiscing, I started poring over some of the Roth books I have, including some of his children's books.

Inevitably, I got cozy and began to flip through his 1966 book 'Pick A Peck Of Puzzles' (W.W. Norton)

It'd been the very first place I personally had ever encountered his illustrations.

I'd loved that book as a little kid, couldn't get enough of it.

Sure, puzzles, brain-teasers. rebuses, optical illusions - - that was all well and good for my elementary school eyes, but I remember lingering over his linework, the somehow both iconic and playfully devilish style.

Perfect, and a big influence on my young mind.

Now, I have *no* doubt that I had stared at this book enough as a child that its images became a part of my long-term subconcious.

Still, paging through the book this time, I was struck by Roth's running 'question mark' motif recurring throughout.

Something suddenly clicked, and it helped explain a few things in my life, including my design choices for one of the two tattoos I chose to 'punctuate' myself with long ago.

Honestly, wasn't the influence obvious??
But why hadn't I grasped the connection before???

...Happier than ever with the 'tats, in case you were concerned - - (!!!)

(Click on end-paper images to ENLARGE on a new page)➔

For just a bit more about Arnold Roth, here's a link to a nice article by cartoonist / illustrator
Steve Stiles

1 comment:

joxer96 said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I can't tell you how happy I am to finally find the name and author of this book. I also spent an inordinate amount of time staring at it as a child. It's been a frustrating search that has finally come to an end. Thanks again, I'm off to find a used copy!

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