Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sesame Street Birthday Invite

This was the front of my daughter's first birthday party invitation. Since my wife and I are HUGE fans of Sesame Street and the Muppets...of course our daughter is now too. With this invitation, I wanted to pay homage to the beautifully illustrated Sesame Street children's books of the 70's and 80's. Brilliant artists like Joe Mathieu, Michael Smollin, Michael Gross, and Sal Murdocca. These renderings matched the feel of the puppets, and even mimicked their fluid and funny movements. I also love the 1990's work of Joe Ewers, Tom Brannon, and Maggie Swanson.

I drew my daughter being held by Cookie Monster set on the steps of the 123 Sesame Street Apartment Building. I can't tell you how much I drew the Sesame Street set as a kid. Of course I had to put everyone's favorite Grouch in there as well for a cameo.

Sesame Street Invite- BACK

Here is the back of the card. Pretty simple, and looked good with the front. I originally had a "1" with a big bite mark out of it...kind of like how Cookie would gobble up letters on the show. My wife made these really cool Cookie Monster face cupcakes. Each one had a real cookie in his mouth. After the party we found bright, blue frosting embedded in the carpet and on most of our furniture. Yikes!

The Count

Here is the illustration I put inside my daughter's birthday invites. Her picture was inside the frame and The Count was saying something related to the party info. I love this character. My parents have old film footage of me running down the hall carrying a Count puppet. I never knew what happened to that thing....I wish I knew. Still today, you don't see a lot of Count-related merchandise in stores. This illsutration is rendered in ink washes, and colored in Photoshop.

Oscar the Grouch 2

Here is a different pose of Oscar. I wanted to draw him a little more skewed and dirty looking. I always loved how the actual puppet looked greasy and old. One of the things that bugs me most about the recent illustrations of Oscar (and the other characters in this Elmo era) is that they have such polished, clean look now. I loved the illustrations from the 70's and 80's that made them look like the very "used" and touchable puppets.

Oscar the Grouch

I've been reading a lot of Sesame Street books to my daughter, and feeling very nostalgic about these classic characters that shaped my childhood. I've been reading my old books from the 70's to her (making sure she does not tear them). One of my all-time favorites is "How to Be a Grouch" written and illustrated by the genius puppeteer and performer, Caroll Spinney. Caroll has been performing Oscar and Big Bird since 1969. He is an extremely talented illustrator. I always thought that was such a cool concept having Oscar himself write and illustrate the book. I still laugh when I read this book.