Only What's Necessary

Only What's Necessary

Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts

Book - 2015
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Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) believed that the key to cartooning was to take out the extraneous details and leave in "only what's necessary." For fifty years, from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, Schulz wrote and illustrated Peanuts, the single most popular and influential comic strip in the world. In all, 17,897 strips were published, making it "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being," according to Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University. For Only What's Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts, renowned designer Chip Kidd was granted unprecedented access to the extraordinary archives of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California. Reproducing the best of the Peanuts newspaper strip, all shot from the original art by award-winning photographer Geoff Spear, Only What's Necessary also features exclusive, rare, and unpublished original art and developmental work--much of which has never been seen before.
Publisher: New York : Abrams ComicArts, 2015
ISBN: 9781419716393
1419716395
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (some color) ; 23 x 31 cm

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LPL_EliH Aug 29, 2017

Chip Kidd + Peanuts, what else is there to say? This thoughtfully compiled retrospective really adds depth to the classic Peanuts strips while also functioning quite effectively as a biography of Charles Schulz. In the preface, Kidd writes that he isn't looking to pick apart these stories-- they aren't meant to be overanalyzed-- but the sketches and background notes help to quietly illuminate the feelings Schulz pursued with his art.

m
mlharr
Jun 06, 2016

The cover of my copy of Only What's Necessary had a sticker on it saying that it had never-before-seen, unavailable-anywhere-else art inside, and it did! The author worked with the director of the Charles M. Schulz museum in California and got access to stuff in the archives that very, very few people had ever seen before, and got permission to publish some of that stuff here.

Only What's Necessary has forewords by the author, the director of the Charles M. Schulz museum, and Schulz's widow. They're not long, but they're the lengthiest text in the whole big book! The book is organized to give a half page to a page worth of background on an aspect on Charles M. Schulz's life or career, then follow that with about 6-10 pages of art and comic strips that illustrate the background info. I thought it was really interesting to learn more about where Charles M. Schulz was coming from when he created Peanuts. One of the things you get to see in the book that you wouldn't otherwise ever see: envelopes donated to his archives from an old Army buddy. While they were serving together in WWII, Charles M. Schulz would do little drawings on the envelopes of the letters that his buddy was sending home, illustrating daily Army life. At the very end of the book you also get to read an entry by the director of his museum, telling about which strips were his favorite after all those years.

I highly recommend! Especially to Peanuts fans, of course, but also to folks interested in biographies or art.

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