Al Zagofsky | June 21, 2011| Times News
To celebrate the release of Daedal Doodle, an open-to-the-public free book party is being held for author/illustrator Victor Stabin.
The book party will be held on June 25 at 5 p.m. in the Victor Stabin Gallery at the Stabin Morykin Building next to Flow Restaurant at 268 W. Broadway in Jim Thorpe.
Stabin will answer questions and sign books. There will be an exhibit illustrating the process of developing Daedal Doodle, as well as a display of his large format original series of turtle-inspired paintings.
Early praise for Daedal Doodle has been received from Susan Orlean of the New Yorker Magazine who called it, "original and sly," from Leonard Lopate of WNYC Radio, who described it as, "a visual stunner with delightful definitions," and from NPR commentator Jeremy Siegel who noted, "Looking at this book was reminiscent of the first time I viewed the work of M.C. Escher."
Daedal Doodle is an illustrated ABC book for children of all ages. The museum-quality fanciful and fascinating illustrations complement a selection of odd and unusual alliterations of each letter of the alphabet.
The project began simply enough. Stabin was reading ABC books to his then three-year-old daughter, Skyler. She adopted the first word of the book, "acorn," and used it as a prefix to the words that followed-"acorn-bath, acorn-cereal, acorn-daddy."
So, he decided to make an ABC book for Skyler. For the first page, he drew an acorn floating on a string—like a balloon with its string anchored to the ground—and labeled it, Antigravity Acorn. "I thought it sounded cool," Stabin said. For the following pages of the book, he turned to an old friend, the dictionary, looking for words that sounded cool.
In the days that followed, Stabin found himself doodling on a napkin while watching a football game. "I drew a picture of a blimp with a zigzag streak behind it."
Returning to the dictionary, he found an alternative name for the blimp, and it became renamed with what he calls a fun word, "zeppelin." His vision that it would be organic, move in a zigzag motion, and possess life force lent it towards the title zooid zeppelin zygote. He placed an egg in the middle of the picture and had a zeppelin revolving around it drawn with a squiggly line.
With the letter A and Z created, Stabin was on his way to completing his illustrated alphabet book. For 24 of the 26 entries, he began with a letter of the alphabet, then selected two or three words beginning with that letter—usually exotic words that he did not know. From the words selected came the images.
For two of the images, Stabin adapted drawings that he had used for Christmas cards. Those are the letters H—hedonistic helix where two infants are sliding down a helical plane, and S—seraphim's simulacrum where two girls hold an unusual pen that scribbles on the horizon.
Stabin creates his word pictures by first creating a series of ball point sketches on paper, selects the most promising among the drawings, and scans the image into his computer where it is finished by air brushing in Photoshop.
"The line work gives it its style," Stabin explained. "The computer takes away some of its personal style, suggesting that it is a digital drawing, but much of the line work remains."