Book Buzz: The Rough Patch
By Chuck Galey
The Rough Patch
Written and Illustrated by Brian Lies
Ages 7-10, Greenwillow Books
Evan and his dog do everything together. Through all seasons and adventures they go on hikes, eat snacks, play games and just enjoy living life. Their favorite activity, however, was working together in the garden. The plants grew as big as the sky above.
With the passing of time, a sad occurrence happens that sends Evan into a dark place. He has trouble keeping his garden growing and nurturing the plants along to their fruitful bounty. Even the surrounding yard becomes a bit of an unkept landscape. Will Evan be able to come out of his rough patch? A creeping vine just may be the answer.
I’ve always admired Brian Lies’ illustration style. He has a solid foundation not only in the drafting of the animal figures. His color palette is vibrant and luminescent. The colors help create the mood and are visually appealing.
I had an online conversation recently with Brian and asked him why he always painted animal characters in his stories. His answer was intriguing and spot on. He said, “The characters become universal when they’re animals rather than people. Any child might feel that the character is “like me” and more relatable.” Regarding his love of animals he said, “I enjoy drawing and painting the wide diversity of animal bodies, textures and colors. How is this one “hinged?” How should it move? What special form might its home or surrounding take on based on its size or way of moving?”
Brian’s artwork glows with N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parish influences. According to Brian, there are also influences from Bill Patterson (Calvin and Hobbs), the animals of A.B. Frost and the cartoons for Windsor McCay (Little Nemo in Slumberland.)
The Rough Patch is a wonderful combination of illustration and storytelling excellence. Young eyes will wander around the full-page illustrations for hours.