Spoken Jazz as an Illustrated Children’s Book. Sure, Why Not?

You know you really love a project when you finally (FINALLY!!) find a successful medium and style for it, 7 years after the first inkling of the idea.

I absolutely love Ken Nordine’s Colors. I heard it years ago when a friend played it for me en route to the county fair (a strange mix, yes, but an unforgettable one, for sure) and I’ve been in love ever since.

In 2008, I was unemployed, bored, and ready to show the design world what was up. I started this plan with Magenta, one of my favorite pieces at the time. There’s 34 tracks on the album, my favorites are on an endless and seemingly random rotation. I lavished in all of those fonts, I loved displaying the personality that Mr. Nordine adorned each color. They’re so complete and beautiful, they need all the love they can handle.

Problem was, it wasn’t possible for me to handle the rest of the cd like that, not with any sort of decency. So I put it up. I’d think about this idea or that idea, noodle around with some color applications, but nothing really stuck.

Then this past 4th of July, we were hanging out with our friends (the owners of this), and their lovely 6mo. old daughter, Pearl. It was so interesting to see someone so tiny, but so full of personality and determination! I loved seeing her little fits curl up with purpose whenever she tried to gesture to someone or something. It was totally endearing, and it made me think of Colors. Maybe it’s because that’s why I love that album so much, or maybe I can’t really explain the connection at all, but I knew what the correct vehicle for this thing had been all along; a children’s book!

A simplified, colorful, beautiful, book to be read to children using the wonderful spectrum of colors and Ken Nordine’s gorgeous poetry to help grow people full of fascinating personalities. I couldn’t be happier.

After settling in with this new idea, I set time to really listen to the poems with this framing in mind. I even reworked Magenta to make sure it would fit in with the new look. Things are way simpler, way easier, and so much more beautiful  — as a whole and  individually. I wanted to show some of the spreads I’ve finished as I finally caught a breathing break in between some of the awesome projects I’m working on now.

Ken Nordine must wait a bit longer, but I know I am so excited to come back and continue with these. Abstract illustrations, spoken word poetry and childrens. Yep, sounds like heaven to me.




















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