Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ben Boos: In Memoriam

I just got the terrible news that my fellow Candlewick author-illustrator Ben Boos passed away at the age of 40. I did not know Ben personally, but I feel somewhat connected to him because we had the same agent, the same editor, the same art director. And like me, he spent his days writing, drawing, painting, and playing with his kids. I followed his career, checked his blog every now and then to see what he was up to, and was always amazed by his talent. From the time I first saw his outstanding first book, Swords: An Artist's Devotion, in the Candlewick catalog, I marveled at his incredibly detailed, well-researched illustrations. The subtitle of that book was perfect, because you could tell by looking at his illustrations that he poured his heart and soul into them. You could tell it was a labor of love. His was the type of art that made me want to get right back to my drawing table and work harder. The type of art that makes me look closer and ask, "How did he do that?" Here's an example from Swords (Candlewick, 2008):

Ben will be sorely missed by his fellow writers and illustrators in the children's book community, even those of us who never knew him. Ben leaves behind a wife and four children, and my thoughts and prayers are with them. I will hug my kids a little bit tighter tonight.

Candlewick Press posted some thoughts about Ben on their facebook page, from the people who worked closely with him. And please visit the Ben Boos Memorial website to learn more about how you can donate to the Ben Boos Memorial Fund. The website also has a guestbook for those who would like to share memories of Ben or leave their condolences.