“Frog and Toad are Friends” has had a lasting impact on me; stories I loved as a child hold even more to appreciate as I share them with my kids. I’ve been revisiting a series of nostalgic themes to illustrate and knew I must include these stories. Though many of the things I grew up with, in the cold light of adulthood, feel like cheap junk, Frog and Toad remain timeless.
Arnold Lobel’s simplicity in both story and visuals are hard to compete with. There’s just something so honest about it. So, while I was inspired by it, I didn’t want to copy it like a bad impression.
The style here is meant to evoke that childlike whimsy and the feeling of a summer day. I refrained from laborious rendering, keeping forms looser and impressionistic like a leftover dream you’re trying to recall. Below I’ve posted the reference imagery used for this illustration and the original Arnold Lobel illustration I based mine on.