DIGITAL TOUR: Jerry Pinkney: Imaginings

Noah’s Ark (2002)

Music Credit: 
Didn’t It Rain?
Marion Williams & The Gospel Caravan
Album: Gospel les grands classiques
Written By: Traditional

Jerry Pinkney’s mother Willie Mae was a homemaker and an occasional day worker, and was largely responsible for keeping her children wellfed, clothed, and disciplined. In her little spare time each day she sat in her favorite reading chair next to the living room window. There, she read books for her own enjoyment, and for her children’s pleasure and education. Among them was the Bible, sacred scripture filled with complex narratives and compelling imagery.

Given these beginnings, it is perhaps no surprise that during his career Pinkney took pleasure in bringing the wonder and drama of stories from the Bible to life through art. “Noah’s Ark was a story I couldn’t help but be drawn to,” said Pinkney. “In creating these pictures, I realized for the first time that all of the elements of a picture can be central characters.”

When interpreting time-honored stories, Pinkney explores unexpected perspectives that help readers experience them in a new way. In his illustrations for Noah’s Ark, celestial light, translucent water, the colors of the rainbow, myriad creatures of land and sea, and even the ark itself became essential characters in his interpretation. The ark was a significant presence, and he researched extensively to establish a credible design. “I thought about the Shakers who had barn raisings, with many people contributing at the same time, and illustrator James Ransome lent me a book on the subject,” which was an important reference.

The-Water-Rose-Over-Cities-and-Towns
The Water Rose Over Cities and Towns (2002)
Illustration for Noah’s Ark
Chronicle Books, A Caldecott Honor Book
Watercolor on paper – Collection of the artist
What-Fool-Builds-a-Ship-on-Dry-Land
What Fool Builds a Ship on Dry Land? (2002)
Illustration for Noah’s Ark
Chronicle Books, A Caldecott Honor Book
Watercolor on paper – Collection of the artist
God-Was-Not-Pleased-with-the-People-on-the-Earth
God Was Not Pleased with the People on the Earth (2002)
Illustration for Noah’s Ark
Chronicle Books, A Caldecott Honor Book
Watercolor on paper – Collection of the artist
Noahs-Ark
Noah’s Ark (2002)
Cover illustration for Noah’s Ark
Chronicle Books, A Caldecott Honor Book
Watercolor on paper – Collection of the artist
2017-03-01T11:38:09+00:00