While at MacLeod's Books a while back, I managed to pick up a copy of Ludwig Bemelman's 'Small Beer' ( as a 'War Time Book' edition/ ie, thinner pages and bigger type?) Here's a photo of the cover and some of the illustrations inside. I started reading some of it but wasn't really finding myself loving it enough to continue to read the whole thing. Having said that, I DO love all of his illustrations in it. I think he is really fantastic at creating these very quick sketch illustrations that look like they just took a second but have such great overall feeling and his sense of composition is amazing. Also I really appreciate his humour that comes through in almost everything he does. It'd be interesting to find something on his process. I will poke around a bit online maybe to see if I can find anything.
What I did find however was this really thorough write up on his life on the Penguin authors site. Of interest: Apparently Bemelman's shot and almost killed a waiter when he was about 16 years old (!) and was then set an ultimatum by his parents of either going to reform school, or immigrating to the USA. He choose the latter and moved to the States. Pretty crazy story huh? I sure didn't know that! He also worked as a waiter for a long time and was in the army. He owned a restaurant at some point too! The next post will be more Bemelmans images by the way.