Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Very First "Wizard of Oz" Book 1900

The cowardly lion had glasses and a bow in his hair and was featured on the cover of the very first edition of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. This was the year 1900. W. W. Denslow was the illustrator. Dig those flying monkeys. They don't seem scary at all.
"W. W. Denslow's original artwork consists of black-and-white line drawings, but the illustrations were printed in color. Some appear in full color and others in only one. Each locale of the story has its own color scheme: Kansas is gray; East, blue; West, yellow; South, red; the Emerald City, green; and, the areas between sections, brown. Because their publisher was concerned about the expense of producing the book, Baum and Denslow paid the cost of including the full-color plates." Read more about the author and illustrator at the Library of Congress exhibit website. Looks like they may have had a little falling out later on.
Here's more about The Cowardly Lion character (wikipedia).
I painted a few lions myself for my solo show in Los Angeles last year.
I have to say, they are fun to paint and, in our imaginations, they make wonderful, complex characters. Maybe it was the Wizard of Oz which made me think lions might be fun to lounge on and hang out with. (?!)
The Art of Amy Crehore

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