Greg Pizzoli on Two Little Trains

h1 May 26th, 2020 by jules


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Greg Pizzoli visits 7-Imp today to share lots of process images behind the creation of his illustrations for the reimagining of Margaret Wise Brown’s Two Little Trains (HarperCollins), released back in March. Brown’s manuscript was first published in 1949 and illustrated by Jean Charlot. Another version, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, was released in 2001. Clearly, it’s a book that endures.

Pizzoli’s version, dedicated to Ed Emberley, was made via custom-made rubber stamps with typography by Pizzoli and Rick Farley. Brown’s tale is of two little trains, heading West. It’s an onomatopoeic adventure, filled with puffs and chugs, and the trains (one “streamlined” and the other, “a little old train”) head down long steel tracks, through (and up) mountains and long dark hills, over a river, and below a bridge. They endure the rain and wind and get covered in snow (“white and furry and still in a hurry”). The moon shines on them; they hear “an old man singing in the West”; and in the end they pass the big, blue ocean till they reach “the edge of the West.” Brown uses repetition in pleasing ways to structure the story. Pizzoli’s visually dynamic graphic illustrations consist of simple shapes, though don’t let the seeming simplicity fool you. There’s a lot of smart design going on here. And his highly textured colors here are especially appealing; the spread in which the trains go over the river, for instance, features warm yellows, constrasted with reds, with the verso displaying three large “PUFF”s and the recto, three large “CHUG”s. At the close of this post, you’ll see a few final spreads from the book.

The images Greg shares here today give us a glimpse into his book-making process. I thank him for sharing.

 

A Whole Heap of Preliminary Images …


 


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Some Final Art:


 


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“Two little trains came to a hill, a mountainous hill to the West.
With a Puff and a Chug, they went right through, under the hill to the West.”

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“Two little trains came to a river,
came to a river going West.”

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“LOOK DOWN LOOK DOWN
below the bridge, at the deep dark river going West.”

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* * * * * * *

TWO LITTLE TRAINS. Text copyright © 1949 and Renewal Copyright © 1977 Albert E. Clarke III Living Trust dated April 4, 2013. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Greg Pizzoli. Final illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York. All other images reproduced by permission of Greg Pizzoli.





One comment to “Greg Pizzoli on Two Little Trains

  1. A brilliant example of process with purpose!


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