D.B. Johnson: Palazzo Inverso
Well-known picture book author and illustrator D. B. Johnson writes about his newest creation, Palazzo Inverso:
“Have you ever thought how much fun it would be if, when you reached the end of a picture book, you could turn it upside down and magically read all the way back to the front? Wouldn’t it be amazing if the pictures made sense right side up AND upside down? When I told my son about this idea, his immediate response was, ‘Only M. C. Escher could do those pictures.’
“My son is a writer, and we brainstormed the story together. We both loved the optical illusions and puzzles of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher. If only we could capture the magic and playfulness of those endlessly looping stairs and topsy-turvy rooms in a story about a palazzo that’s built upside down!”
Readers familiar with M. C. Escher’s art will find in Johnson’s original drawings many references to specific Escher woodcuts, lithographs, and tessellations.
Beginning an illustration with an airbrushed monochromatic underpainting, Johnson then draws on top of it with colored pencils. This technique allows him to build up layers of color to define characters and scenes.
Johnson’s other books, including the five Henry books that bring the naturalist and writer Henry David Thoreau to life (as a bear!), are exhibited here for your reading and enjoyment. Activities for all ages are inspired by Palazzo Inverso.
—Susan Calabria, Curator