Chip Kidd and Peanuts and Kids

Posted by on March 3rd, 2010 at 10:08 AM

I explain why I hate that Chip Kidd Peanuts book.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , ,

3 Responses to “Chip Kidd and Peanuts and Kids”

  1. patford says:

    Since I took up more than my share of space on this topic elsewhere I thought I might belabor my point a bit more here.
    My objections to the Kidd/Schulz.
    1. The book’s title is: Peanuts The Art of Charles M. Schulz. A rather formal sounding title (Charles M. Schulz), which suggests an art book highlighting the artwork of Schulz. If the book had been titled: Peanuts A Graphic Journey; or: The Peanuts Scrapbook, I’d be less inclined to take issue with it.
    The fact is Kidd was granted complete access to the Schulz archive of original art.
    2. Kidd did many things right. Kidd went so far as to have the original art photographed by Geoff Spears rather than scanning it. I liked the attention Kidd gave to the working methods of Schulz, showing his tools, work spaces, and rough drawings.
    Kidd included a wide variety of early, and obscure work by Schulz. The book unfolds as a narrative, almost a biography of the art. Kidd’s text is insightful, and offers many appreciations I find appealing. For example, towards the end of the book Kidd offers: “Rather than harming the strip (Schulz’s shaking hand, and resulting pen line), this actually made the linework even more expressive. Due to Schulz’s discipline and mastery of technique, the gradually wavier lines never looked like a mistake—they were a natural effective design choice.”
    There is no doubt Kidd has a keen appreciation for the art of Charles M. Schulz.
    3. This just isn’t the book it could have been, it is in many ways the “graphic equivalent of a Hip-Hop rearrangement of “Kind of Blue.”
    It’s a heartfelt transformational tribute, with Kidd as a modern day Lee Perry.
    In many ways I like the book for what it is. If the Schulz archive is opened up again, and Fantagraphics or some other publisher goes in and gives us a 400 page hardcover of large selection of “the best” originals photographed in such a way as to show, white-out, fingerprints, and variations in the tonal qualities of the black ink then I’d have a better appreciation of the Kidd book for what it is (a scrapbook), not what it could have been (an art book).
    4. Stuff I don’t get.
    Why all the pasted and magic taped clipped strips?
    Wouldn’t far fewer of those achieved the same effect?
    Does anyone care that the clippings belonged to Chris Ware? Why are there 5 pages of the clippings reproduced 18 strips to a page?
    Isn’t it possible to vary layout simply by reproducing art at different sizes (stopping short of 18 to the page), rather than cropping. There are many good reasons to crop an image for illustrative purposes.
    There are many images in the Kidd book which are cropped simply as a design choice.

    • Noah Berlatsky says:

      Hey Patrick. Thanks for the detailed comment. I agree with all of that I think. I’d actually forgotten that they made a big deal about Chris Ware. Kidd probably just couldn’t help himself, I’d guess is the reason for that.

  2. patford says:

    I’m not sure if “big deal” is the right term, but it is strange that “Archival Peanuts strips from the collection of Chris Ware” appears on the title page of the book, rather than only in the acknowledgments (where it is also mentioned).