The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) opened The Fantastic World of Dan Yaccarino on February 9, 2012, featuring the works of artist Dan Yaccarino. The exhibit will be on display until May 26, 2012.
Dan Yaccarino is an award-winning artist whose work has been featured in magazines, ad campaigns, and animation worldwide. Having written and illustrated over 30 children’s books, Yaccarino has earned a reputation for crafting distinctly retro-style illustrations (primarily in gouache) that never fail to touch reader’s hearts or transport them back in time. Growing up in Montclair, New Jersey, Yaccarino was influenced by comic books, vintage animation, toys, and old films. Reflecting back, he remembers spending a lot of time in the library and often checked out two of his favorite books: The Thing in Dolores’ Piano, and Rhoda’s Restaurant, both by author illustrator Robert Tallon.
A 1987 graduate of the prestigious Parsons School of Design, Yaccarino embarked, with his first portfolio in hand, to find work as an editorial illustrator. He fully embraced the challenge of creating conceptual illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and book covers. Yaccarino soon found his style and approach, and learned to work quickly. Within a few years he met an editor from Hyperion. Although Yaccarino had never written or illustrated a picture book, when asked if he had any picture book story ideas, his confident unwavering reply was a “YES!” The result, his first book, Big Brother Mike, was published in 1993.
From this start evolved a 20-year career in children’s books. Yaccarino is known for such titles as Unlovable, The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, Five Little Pumpkins, and All The Way to America. The artist’s bold, stylized, and vibrant illustrations also add wit and energy to the work of such prestigious authors as Margaret Wise Brown, Jack Prelutsky, and Kevin Henkes. His books have been translated into many languages and have inspired e-books, children’s musicals, and video adaptations. Yaccarino has enthralled children and parents through his Parent’s Choice Award-winning animated TV series Oswald (Nick Jr), a television series about the wonderfully whimsical world of a lovable blue octopus. Time magazine hailed it as one of the top 6 shows to watch on cable.
The illustrator abides by a philosophy he fashioned from the heart: “The images in a picture book are the driving forces that tell the story,” he says. “The words tell only what the pictures can’t.”
Making his life in New York City with his wife and their two children, Dan Yaccarino spends his days creating another world, one full of his characters—a world he shapes in his studio, filled with vintage toys.
The NCCIL, founded in Abilene, collaborates with award-winning artists to produce high-quality exhibitions of artwork that are distinctive and appealing to museum visitors of all ages. For more information, visit www.nccil.org.