Trailer Tuesday: Illustrator Ed Emberley documentary

"Everyone who likes my books is like me in some way. If you like my books [but] you've never met me, there's something about you that's just like me."

That must mean I'm a dead ringer for Emberley, because I am positively gaga for his instructional drawing books for kids.

Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Ed Emberley is truly a national treasure, having drawn nearly 100 books. The warmth of his family and his 17th century home are an essential part of his work. In this installment of the flagship documentary series, we go to Ed’s home in Ipswich, Massachusetts, to meet him and all of the members of his talented family, including his wife and author, Barbara; children, illustrators Rebecca and Michael; and granddaughter, recording artist Adrian Emberley. A generation of children have learned to draw using Ed’s drawing books and we watch as a new generation puts crayon to paper. At 80 years young, Ed is pushing ahead and we meet with his team as he works on his newest iPad app — with graphic artists that, as children, learned to draw with his books.

Getting to know Ed Emberley, Children's Book Illustrator



  1. I loved Ed’s books then I was a kid.  I was lucky to stumble across them in my elementary school’s library.  He was a genius at starting with primitive shapes (circle, oval, triangle, rectangles) and using those to build the character design. 

  2. Holy crap, Ed Emberly.  I loved his books.  I had four or five of his drawing books, and have fond memories of drawing for hours with them.

  3. i still have a vhs video of his called “squiggles, dots, and lines” — i still love to watch it with my children. yay emberly.  peace

    1. I just remembered something to mention in one of these EE threads that I always forget. 

      If you have any interest in Japanese wood block prints, scope out some of the old Hokusai drawing dictionaries – he breaks down all his drawings from nature in a very similar way – basic shapes arranged in pleasing patterns as a base for his natural forms. It’s more than a tenuous connection – as I perused my Hokusai library I found memories of all those drawing books come flooding back – the ideas incubating all this time waiting to resurface. I am now (very) fortunate to make my living as an artist full time – but I had the help of inspirational artists like Ed and his books. If you’ve got young kids, these don’t cost a lot and are a worthy beginning for the any tyke’s budding reference library!

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