Hilary Knight, the man who created the amazing images filling the Eloise books, is getting a lot of love right now. And this couldn't make me happier.
I had a chance to curl up on the couch this weekend and visit with what felt like an old friend. An inspired portrait of Hilary's life, process, and imagination fills a short documentary now available on HBO.
It was interesting to see so many young, female voices who had attached themselves so fiercely to Eloise. I loved hearing their memories they have had with those images.
And I had a lot of my own reactions to Eloise - but in such different ways.
I vividly remember the lines and colors of every Eloise image. And in watching the documentary, I was shocked to discover how many other stories that had stuck out to me as a child were also created by Hilary - Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Beauty and the Beast, all sorts of images I remember so clearly as I paged through books at the library.
When I studied at the Arts High School, the locker next to mine had Eloise painted across it. I loved the locker, but unfortunately it had already been chosen.
Hilary's work has taught me so much about lines, color, composition. It also, at a young age, informed me so much about other types of people - fancy people with hats and ornate furniture, dining and laughing and partying. I loved it so much.
What struck me the most after the documentary had little to do with the work specifically, or the terribly complicated he had with Eloise's author, Kay Thompson. What was wonderful for me to see was the process of a man growing old, and still playing. Still dressing his friends in silly costumes. Still filling his world with magical things.
In so many ways, I relate to Hilary far more than I imagined.
And now, I find myself researching more about what he's been up to. Below is a recent sketch he is doing, as he draws upon one of our shared loves - Musical Theater.
If you can, check out the film. And let me know your thoughts. I have a hunch you might be struck in a way or two, too.