Lady Gaga made "Little Monsters" cool, but Mercer Mayer made them cool first!
Mayer’s kooky illustrations have enamored me since I was a kid. I remember his characters, visually, so well. His stories are full of critters, creatures, and weird friendly monsters. LOTS of them. He's published over 300 books!
His talent shines on the page through his countless artistic styles, which are impressively diverse. From the cartoonish, to exquisite fairy tale renderings, to graphic, color-rich spreads depicting bold characters and muted landscapes (as demonstrated in Shibumi and the Kitemaker).
Mayer is probably best known for the Little Critters series. My favorite book of his was One Monster After Another. The art is dark and overcast, and roiling with grim delight. He also illustrated The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald, which I adored.
Born in 1943, Mayer moved to Hawaii at 13 (his father was in the Navy). There he attended Honolulu Academy of Arts. He now lives in New England where he and his wife create Little Critter books together.
Mayer is one of the first illustrators to popularize the wordless picture book, where story is conveyed entirely through art.
“Upon moving to NYC after university, an art director told Mayer his portfolio was so bad he needed to throw it away. Though offended, Mayer did.” Don't know if I could've done that :s
One person said Mayer's art taught her how to draw beautiful hands. I thought what a lovely compliment.
In addition to Mayer's illustrious illustrating talent, he plays the ukulele, too.
Visit Mercer Mayer’s Gallery here.
(Bio facts from Wikipedia)
Some of my favorite Mayer illustrations: