(Adapted from Philip Nel's book, Dr. Seuss: American Icon)
By Philip Nel
Some artists will tell you who influenced their work, but Dr. Seuss was more likely to tell you what was wrong with his.
"I still can't draw," he would say. "I always get the knees in wrong, and the tails. I'm always putting in too many tails. I just can't draw, I guess. Take people like the Grinch. I started out to draw a kangaroo and it turns out to be a Grinch. I don't know, all my creatures seem to turn out catlike."
He could draw, but his perfectionism led him to be self-critical, a trait which in turn has helped prevent his art from gaining the acclaim it deserves.
Though the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Lorax exhibition in 2009 was a notable exception, Seussism has been slow to find its way into the museums of respectability. However, as his arts and books show, Dr. Seuss was a cultural sponge.
He absorbed the styles of twentieth-century artistic movements and transformed them into his own unique style -- an energetic cartoon surrealism. Whether drawing Who-ville in Horton Hears A Who!or painting A Unicorn Every Girl Should Have, Seuss has a dynamic sense of line, with a verve and curves that give his landscapes their sense of relentless movement. These squiggles, swoops, zigs and zags seem to be going somewhere, inviting our eyes to follow along and find out...
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Post Date:March 2nd, 2011
'Acclaimed scholar and author Philip Nel waxes about Theodor Geisel the artist, Dr. Seuss, and the others he influenced.