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Frazier, Craig 1955-

Frazier, Craig 1955-

Personal

Born 1955; married; children: two children. Education: Degree (communication design).

Addresses

Home and office—Mill Valley, CA. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

Career

Author, illustrator, and graphic designer. Frazier Design, Inc., San Francisco, CA, president and owner, 1978-96; Craig Frazier Studio (illustration), president and owner, 1996—. Designer of trademarks for companies, including LucasArts, of postage stamps for U.S. Postal Service, and of "Critter" font for Adobe. Instructor at California College of Arts and Kent State University summer graduate program. Member of board of advisors, The Portfolio Center, Atlanta, GA, and 2005 Illustrators Conference. Exhibitions: Works included in permanent collection at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Awards, Honors

Numerous awards for design.

Writings

PICTURE BOOKS

(Self-illustrated) Stanley Goes for a Drive, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2004.

(Self-illustrated) Stanley Mows the Lawn, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2005.

(Self-illustrated) Stanley Goes Fishing, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2006.

(Illustrator) George Ella Lyon, Trucks Roll!, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.

OTHER

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Time, Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Boston Globe, Reader's Digest, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Utne Reader, and Atlantic Monthly.

Sidelights

Craig Frazier is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator who has also ventured into the world of children's literature. Frazier brings a sense of play and wonder to his surrealistic, self-illustrated works that he believes is best appreciated by youngsters. As he told Kirk Citron in Graphis, children "haven't closed down the aperture on the way they see things. They don't know yet that you can't walk on the ceiling, so they just draw it. And they draw it without worrying about how to draw it, yet it communicates."

Frazier published his first self-illustrated children's book, Stanley Goes for a Drive, in 2004. The work opens as Stanley goes for a drive in his pickup truck on a hot and cloudless summer day. According to a critic in Publishers Weekly, the work "soon sheds its initial pragmatism for a dreamlike flight of fancy." While cruising past a herd of cows, Stanley gets an idea: he

grabs a bucket, approaches the only black-and-white spotted cow, and begins milking it. As he does, the white spots magically drain off the animal. When Stanley tosses the contents of the bucket into the sky, the milk floats up and forms fluffy clouds that darken and pour rain on the parched landscape. Stanley Goes for a Drive received strong praise from reviewers, who paid special attention to the book's hand-drawn, digitally colored illustrations. Frazier's "masterful use of composition surprises readers with large shapes in the foreground that contrast with small, multiple figures in the background to create asymmetric balance and depth," noted Carolyn Janssen in School Library Journal. In the words of a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "reading this unusual, visually intriguing story is like examining a surrealist painting where something shifts inexplicably as one watches."

In Stanley Mows the Lawn, "what begins as a routine chore literally takes a turn, with a satisfying and visually creative result," observed a Kirkus Reviews critic. When the grass in Stanley's yard grows long enough to cover his feet, he brings out his push mower and begins cutting back and forth in straight, precise rows. A rustling in the grass causes Stanley to halt his work, and he spies Hank the snake slithering through the yard.

Abandoning his repetitive pattern of mowing, Stanley begins zig-zagging his way through the lawn, making sure to leave patches of tall grass for Hank. In School Library Journal, Suzanne Myers Harold remarked that Stanley Mows the Lawn "uses subtle humor to convey its theme of seeing the world from another's point of view and finding a mutually agreeable solution."

Stanley Goes Fishing is Frazier's third work featuring the kindly gentleman with a creative bent. Planning to spend a relaxing day with his fishing rod and reel, Stanley launches his boat into a stream and trolls all his favorite spots. Despite his best efforts, however, the only thing he pulls from the water is a soggy old boot. Hoping to change his luck, Stanley casts his line into the sky and starts hauling in one golden fish after another. After catching his fill, a satisfied Stanley returns the fish to the stream. "The crisp, clean illustrations in bright golds, verdant greens, and brilliant blues are a pleasure to behold," wrote School Library Journal contributor Maryann H. Owen. Also complimenting Frazier's imaginative artwork, a critic for Kirkus Reviews deemed Stanley Goes Fishing "a visual conundrum that accentuates the "art" of looking at the world in different ways."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Communication Arts, January-February, 1991, Marty Neumeier, "Craig Frazier," p. 32.

Graphis, July-August, 2002, Kirk Citron, "Craig Frazier: Things Are Not What They Seem," pp. 100-111; November-December, 2002, Petual Vrontikis, interview with Frazier.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2004, review of Stanley Goes for a Drive, p. 629; April 1, 2005, review of Stanley Mows the Lawn, p. 416; April 15, 2006, review of Stanley Goes Fishing, p. 405.

Publishers Weekly, September 13, 2004, review of Stanley Goes for a Drive, p. 77.

School Library Journal, September, 2004, Carolyn Janssen, review of Stanley Goes for a Drive, p. 160; May, 2005, Suzanne Myers Harold, review of Stanley Mows the Lawn, p. 82; June, 2006, Maryann H. Owen, review of Stanley Goes Fishing, p. 112.

ONLINE

Craig Frazier Home Page, http://www.craigfrazier.com (January 21, 2007).

Stanley Books Web site, http://www.stanleybooks.com/ (January 21, 2007).

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