I have always loved book illustrations, and by extension, illustrators. As a child my mother had this wonderful custom of keeping fabulous, lavishly illustrated books in a special “Book Box” (which was actually a large metal trunk that locked) under the bed in the guest room of our house. The Book Box was opened on a variety of occasions: to celebrate an excellent grade, to soothe a sadness, to tide one through a vacation full of rainy days. To be given a book out of The Book Box was a magical thing, and a treat I looked forward to always.
An illustration by Milo Winter, from the fairy tale "Fortune's Overshoes", by Hans Christian Andersen.
I come from a family of inveterate readers. My ideal vacation is to sit on the front porch of the family beach house, with my feet on the railing, a cool drink on the table beside me, and a good book to dig down deep into. I don’t shop, I don’t sight-see, I read. We’re all like that, every one. It’s lovely. And as a child, the illustrations were, of course, no less treasured than the books themselves!
My parents collect(ed) books, and my mother specialized in vintage children’s books with fabulous artwork. The amazing images in the George MacDonald books by Charles James Folkard; the incredible illustrations of Arthur Rackham; the beauteous pieces by Jessie Wilcox Smith in The Water Babies; among others, captured my imagination, and I spent hours and hours absorbed in both the text as well as the artwork.
As I’ve grown older, and particularly since I started this venture with KatyDids Cards, my lust for children’s illustrators and their work has only increased. I love nothing better than to find an old, dusty, decrepit book with once glorious images that I can scan in and return to their former glory with Photoshop.
Back in the late 1990s, my mom and I discussed creating a small, boutique line of greeting cards using her images (all of which are out of copyright, naturally), and at the time, the technology just wasn’t good enough to do it from a home computer/printer. And alas, my mom passed away before we got to that point. But now the tech is more than good enough, and that’s what I’m doing. I feel like she’s my partner still, and working with me every day. My business is named after her favorite book as a child, What Katy-Did.
And as always, if you’d like to see the latest cards I’ve put into the stores on Etsy and eBay, just click on the links. I try to add new images every weekday, and if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see, just ping me at katydidscards AT gmail DOT com. And if there’s a particular illustrator you think I’d adore, please let me know of them, I’m always looking for more beauty!