25 King Street, St. Augustine, FL, USA
The Spark of an Icon - A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Dr. Seuss’s Concept Drawings
On View July 1st - 31st
It is nearly impossible to imagine a world without Dr. Seuss’s characters. They have been woven into the fabric of popular culture for over three quarters of a century. However, there was a time when they only existed in the far reaches of one man’s mind. With simply a pencil, paper, and his trusted drawing table, these never-before-seen characters passed from the ethereal to the tangible in a series of frenetic, bold, and highly impulsive concept drawings. These were dress rehearsals. They were the first spark of an idea and marked the inception of such iconic characters as The Cat in the Hat, Horton, and Sam-I-am. The concept drawings included in this historic exhibition offer a rare, behind-the-scenes view into Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) artistic process. They exemplify the transformative power of ideas and how, in one quick stroke of a pencil, ideas can change the world.
The thrill of going behind-the-scenes to view the artistic process is an opportunity very few people ever get. In the case of Dr. Seuss, we can no longer visit his studio or see his creative process in action. This exhibition will transport us to the moment of creation and allow us to peer over his shoulder as ideas come to life. We can feel the spark of creation as we follow the curved and dippy lines, and watch as they form the icons that have now become so familiar in our everyday lives. Ted Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) drew each page for every Dr. Seuss book published during his lifetime. What many people don’t realize is that for each final-line drawing, he would create multiple concept drawings leading up to the final published image. In the early pencil sketches, we see the frenetic energy of someone trying to work out his ideas as quickly as possible, almost as if he is going to lose the inkling if he doesn’t work fast enough. The remarkable outcome of such impulsive energy is that, in these tangled lines, he captures the entirety of a character’s personality.
The works in this exhibition are a shining example that perfection is illusive, that perseverance in achieving one’s goals is a worthy pursuit, and that passion for one’s craft is more important than achieving the perfect outcome.