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Imagination Illustrated

Imagination Illustrated

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Published by ChronicleBooks
Jim Henson’s iconic puppet characters, fantastic worlds, and warm humor have delighted millions of people of all ages. His incredibly diverse body of work, from the Muppets to the world of The Dark Crystal, reveals his charm and genius to fans old and new. Compiled directly from The Jim Henson Company archives, Imagination Illustrated adapts the diary that Jim faithfully kept throughout his career, supplementing it with a trove of little-seen visual material, including rare sketches, personal and production photographs, storyboards, doodles, and much more. Throughout, archivist Karen Falk delves into the behind-the-scenes details of Henson’s life and artistic process. Sure to delight anyone who has enjoyed Henson’s creations—seeing early drawings of Kermit and Rowlf is like smiling over childhood photos of dear friends—this lovely book celebrates Jim’s life and his magic.
Jim Henson’s iconic puppet characters, fantastic worlds, and warm humor have delighted millions of people of all ages. His incredibly diverse body of work, from the Muppets to the world of The Dark Crystal, reveals his charm and genius to fans old and new. Compiled directly from The Jim Henson Company archives, Imagination Illustrated adapts the diary that Jim faithfully kept throughout his career, supplementing it with a trove of little-seen visual material, including rare sketches, personal and production photographs, storyboards, doodles, and much more. Throughout, archivist Karen Falk delves into the behind-the-scenes details of Henson’s life and artistic process. Sure to delight anyone who has enjoyed Henson’s creations—seeing early drawings of Kermit and Rowlf is like smiling over childhood photos of dear friends—this lovely book celebrates Jim’s life and his magic.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: ChronicleBooks on Oct 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/19/2014

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What no one really understands is how muchother creative stuff was going on in my father’smind. Jim spent almost all of his wakinghours in some form of creative activity, whichwas as natural for him as smiling and walk-ing are for other people. What he producedwas only a fraction of all the ideas that he had,and what we generally see today is only a frac-tion of what he produced. He packed so manyprojects into a single year that it was hard foranyone to keep up with him, and it was evenharder for him to remember exactly what hadhappened when. Thus his keeping of the littlered book.My father used the book to remember fam-ily milestones, such as what year we went toHawaii, or bought the station wagon, or whenthe baby started school, but he also wanted toremember how many commercial campaignshe did in a year, and when each puppeteercame to work for the Muppets. He wanted toremember when the family got a new dog aswell as when the Valentine’s Day special withMia Farrow was shot. He kept all of those datesin a simple chronology, mixing family andprojects indiscriminately. It shows how blurrythe boundaries were in his mind between hiscreative and family life, and these juxtaposi-tions are interesting on a very personal level.For instance, by reading his chronology, I dis-covered that I was born five years to the dayafter his show
Sam and Friends
premiered.When I was six, he flew home from perform-ing in Anaheim with Jimmy Dean for mybirthday party. And in both 1976 and 1977 hecelebrated my birthday on the ship
QE2
on hisway to England for
The Muppet Show
. He alsodocumented each and every time that I visitedhim after I went to college. He was a devotedfather, and his journal is full of references tospecial family trips and one on one time spentwith each of his five children.
and that he performed the most famous Muppet of all,Kermit the Frog. Many people also know about hisother popular television productions, such as
 Fraggle Rock
, and his work on
Sesame Street 
. And his devotedfans are aware of the groundbreaking fantasy films
The Dark Crystal
and
 Labyrinth
, into which he pouredso much imagination and craft.
Everyone knowsthat Jim Hensoncreated the Muppets,
ForeWorD
I  m g I  I   o I   u  s 
8
 
While my father was not a diarist and he wasnot much of a letter writer, he did think it wasimportant to keep records. He began to havethe company preserve important, as well asseemingly unimportant, works of art, design,and planning. As he got older, he becameaware of the significance of his own work, andhe and my mother Jane Henson took care tomaintain these files of photography and art,including not just his own art but the beauti-ful work of designers Michael Frith and BrianFroud, the charming character designs bypuppet builders Don Sahlin, Bonnie Erickson,and the creative work of many others.It is from these materials that the incredibleKaren Falk has created a proper archive anddrawn from it to illustrate my father’s journalexcerpts, as presented here for the first time.She has unearthed rare tidbits of unproducedmaterial, as well as quintessential items inthe evolution of the famous Muppets. She hasfound thematic threads that connect projectsmany years apart, as well as kernels of ideasthat germinated major productions. The greatprofusion of images, titles, and characters thatshe has used to illustrate my father’s jour-nal is a wonderful way to capture Jim’s verybusyness—his wildly creative mind. Becausecreativity is a process, it is also rewarding tofocus on it more than the finished projects. Inthis book, you are able to see snapshots of myfather’s creative process, flashes of his inspira-tions and his memories of the milestones thatwere the highlights of his personal and profes-sional life.His was a life worth celebrating, and we arethrilled to share it with you.—Lisa Henson
9
 O W O

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