Friday, September 08, 2006

Richard Gates

This smallish 1954 hardcover, discarded by the Hamilton School Board library department, is the sort of thing that really transports me back to Grade One. The crinkle of the plastic-wrapped dust jacket, the smell of aging glue and paper, and most importantly, Richard Gates' stylized illustrations, all remind me of when I first glimpsed, through books like this, an impossibly perfect Davey-and-Goliath world that seemed to have existed a decade before my birth.

Gates employs an interesting technique I haven't been able to entirely figure out. Is it part crayon resist? Part silk screen? Watercolour with drizzled rubber cement?

Whatever it is, he manages to achieve a lot of fantastic colour layering that needs to be seen at full size to be truly appreciated.

Of course, there's absolutely no information to be found on Richard Gates, but the back flap of the dust jacket suggests he illustrated quite few "True Book(s) of..." for Childrens Press of Chicago so with any luck, I may turn up more of his unique and wonderful work.


  1. Anonymous10:14 PM

    The only thing I could find about Richard Gates is that he (or another artist by the same name) did illustrations for a 1935 edition of Shroud my Body Down, by the playright, Paul Green. The drawings were described as "rubber cuts"

  2. Sounds like print making - like lino cuts. Which could be the same guy, because these definitely have a print making look to them. Thanks Jack! ;-)

  3. Anonymous7:54 PM

    It's too bad that I couldn't find scans of the actual prints, but I get the idea that the prints in the book were the real thing and not reproductions. If I find them I'll send you the scans.

  4. Much appreciated Jack!