Talking about art with someone like Elisheba Israel Mrozik was wild because we’re not just people who appreciate, she’s someone who can go to work and come out the other end with a piece that impresses both on skin and canvas. And me? I’m a spectator, an appreciator. So while her artist crush inspired, mine…well, just inspired what my eyes gravitated towards when it came time to enter the happiest place on earth as a child – the Scholastic Book Fair.
Ask any kid who was alive in the ‘90s what the best part about school was and I’d bet an astounding number of people would say the book fair. There was something magical about the library being transformed into a bookstore for a week that made any troubles one had slipped away, but nothing quite compared to when ‘Goosebumps’ were the end all be all of the book fair scene, and if I’m being honest…most of us chose which R.L. Stine book to get most based solely on the cover art, which was done by none other than Tim Jacobus.
Many probably cannot tell you who the fuck came up with all those paperback designs, but yup – it was Tim Jacobus. An artist that belongs in a special hall of fame alongside the illustrator behind the OG ‘Baby-sitter’s Club’ books, Hodges Soileau, and ‘90s icon, Lisa Frank. Their definitive styles will forever be linked to a decade that’ll belong in my heart forever, but back to Tim because man if there was a contest for best cover designs of all time, he’d take the cake, the pie, and cookies, and the artisan bread.
R.L Stine’s name hovering over ‘Goosebumps.’ Below that, the eerie, most times vibrant picture depicting the tale waiting inside. It wasn’t just the color schemes and intriguing imagery, there was a texture to these books as well thanks to the actual goosebumps. Genius design and it was thanks in part to one man’s ability to take these elementary scary stories and transform them into iconic literary imagery.
To this day, it’s a dream to own an original but alas, I’m not sure the old bank account can handle that. I do have a ‘Goosebump’ inspired print done by the wonderful Alex Vincent where he took the classic Tim Jacobus design and tweaked it a bit by making the book based on Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out.’ Alex Vincent isn’t the first and is certainly not the last to be moved by Tim Jacobus’ work. Much like Elisheba Israel Mrozik was inspired by her artist crush, the man behind one of the best-selling book franchises at Scholastic Book Fairs, ever, has moved many artists to create as well. For that, and for creating art based on some of my favorite childhood books, I can’t deny my artist crush on Tim Jacobus.