Like many children, when Jill Dubin was a kid she and her sister cut out paper dolls. But to make them more interesting, they would cut off the heads and staple them back on—resulting in heads that wobbled, so they called their paper dolls "yes-no dollies."
Her mother never blocked Jill’s artistic energy, just as Jill never blocked the artistic inclinations of her daughter—and all three generations attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
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– by Sue A. Miles
The following is reprinted, with thanks, from the Buckingham (Virginia) Beacon.
If you were lucky enough to be read to as a child, or if you have experienced the joy of reading to your own children or grandchildren, then you know the importance of the illustrations in children’s books. The soft drawings of Garth Williams’ work in Little House in the Big Woods, Eloise Wilkin’s cherub children in the classical We Help Mommy, or Maurice Sendek’s friendly monsters in Where the Wild Things Are; such illustrations remain in your mind as visual masterpieces.
Add to that list, Buckingham’s own Cris Arbo, who just recently published, along with Florida author Marianne Berkes, What’s in the Garden?—a sweet and informative book about gardens, food, and the natural world, with Arbo’s glorious illustrations bringing alive the sounds, smells, and life of the text. What’s so special about the illustrations is that many of the children in the book are from the local area, all making the book even more unique.
Arbo, who moved to Buckingham County in the 1990’s, has been an illustrator for over 40 years. Living in New Jersey, London, New York, and now Buckingham, Arbo has worked on projects for PBS, illustrated book covers, on magazine and animination projects, and on classic works such as The Hobbit and Beatrice Potter. “A company had me take Potter’s book illustrations, which were very small, and reproduce them in a larger format, so they could sell them on posters and calendars,” she said. “During that time, we didn’t have the technology to blow up a drawing, as it would become distorted.”
Her most recent work, What’s in the Garden?, is a classic example of not only her incredible talent, but also for her love and respect for nature. “I’ve been illustrating for Dawn Publications for several years,” said Arbo. “What attracted me to that company is their commitment to nature awareness books for children. I’m a nature freak.” . . .
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