Finding Inspiration From Charlie Brown’s Super Books

As some of you may know, I keep various art books around for inspiration and reference.  Just recently, I acquired some old books that may be of use.  They happen to the Charlie Brown’s Super Book series, based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz.

Charlie Brown's Super Book series

The Charlie Brown’s Super Book series was a collection of five volumes from Random House Publishing that compiled the earlier Charlie Brown ‘Cyclopedia series from Funk & Wagnalls.  They featured photographs, illustrations, and the Peanuts gang in drawings & comic strips covering all kinds of topics like animals, plants, the human body, transportation, outer space, weather, holidays, clothing, machinery, and so on.  

Now why am I using these books as a source of inspiration?  It’s for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I’m a big Peanuts fan.  These books provide nostalgia for me.  I used to read them and found them very informative.  Plus, Charles Schulz was a big inspiration to me.  It was because of him that I decided to draw comics.

Second, these books are handy for reference.  I like some of the photos and technical illustrations within.  However, these books are somewhat outdated.  They were written back in the 1970s and 1980s and things have changed a lot.  These books refer to the World Trade Center and Yugoslavia, for example.

Third, I like the use of color and design in these books.  There’s a strong sense of professionalism and simplicity, which is understandable since these books were meant for the younger reader.

Most of all, it gives me a sense of wonder.  These books really make me think.  These are used copies so I think about who may have owned these and how many times they’ve changed hands.  If used books could talk, they’d probably have all kind of stories to tell us, like who owned them or what places they’ve been through.  One of these books once belonged to a school library – I don’t know which one as it was crossed out with marker.  Two copies were gifts to someone from very long ago.

Writing inside Charlie Brown's Super Book

The handwriting here reads as follows:  Brian, Easter 1986, March 30 1986, To my able assistant with many thanks for a job well done.  Love, Mrs. Rainer

Writing inside Charlie Brown's Super Book 2

The handwriting here is much more simple:  To Scott, Christmas “1986”, Love, Dave.

I hope that whoever had these books loved them, learned from them, and maybe were inspired by them – just like I am.  (P.S. – Incidentally, if anyone out there recognizes these writings or who owned these books before, don’t hesitate to contact me.)

That’s all for now.  Subscribe to the RSS feed or via email if you haven’t already.  If you represent a public or school library system and you’re interested in carrying Sunnyville Stories Volume 1, please contact Brodart Company as they carry the work wholesale.  Make sure you buy a copy of Sunnyville Stories Volume 1 or get a copy from these other retailers.  And don’t forget that copies of Sunnyville Stories are available on Amazon!

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About Max West

I am a freelance artist and the creator of Sunnyville Stories, an independent slice-of-life comics series.

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