Sunday, 2 December 2012
Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal by Karen Falk Review
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.
Quite a lot of books and documentaries have been written and made about Jim Henson and his various creations that you would honestly wouldn't think that there could possibly be anything else that hasn't been said before.
After picking this book up, that idea was proven to be very wrong indeed. Telling the story of Henson's career from the 50's up to the 80's in a series of scrapbook style sections, no stone is left unturned by Karen Falk. In fact, you can really see why exactly Falk is the main archivist for the Henson company.
Here Falk has chosen a hell of a lot of never before seen sketches, journal entries and much more, putting them together in to one fantastic treasure trove of a book. There truly is something for everyone here. Muppets fan? Got you covered. Fraggle Rock fan? Got you covered. There are ton's of pictures of early versions of some of his most famous, and some not so famous, characters here. It's a bit like seeing a drawing take shape.
The journal entries are written in quite a matter of fact way using only dates and times etc, as mentioned in the foreword by Lisa Henson, but they give a glimpse in to the great man's mind and working technique.
Looking through the various pictures and photographs is just like looking at old family photographs because the characters are so ingrained in to our minds that they just feel like they have always been there.
All in all, this is a truly fantastic look in to the legendary Jim Henson's life and career. It was fascinating to see how his mind worked and how he came up with so many beloved ideas that are still as popular today as they have always been.