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Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal Hardcover – November 7, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you thought the Muppets appeared out of nowhere, fully formed and ready to rock, you are sorely mistaken. They, of course, were the brain child of the late, great visionary, Jim Henson. A new book entitled Imagination Illustrated written by Jim Henson Company archives director Karen Falk with a foreword by Henson's daughter Lisa, combines passages from the Muppet maestro's own diary, which he kept through his whole career, with sketches, storyboards, photographs and other visual material to enlighten readers on the early days of the genius' work. Specifically adorable are early drawings of Kermit and which are like seeing photos of your friends from elementary school, if they were frogs."
Nerdist News

"'You know what would be awesome? A print version of Jim's Red Book.' That's what we all said, and that's just about what Karen Falk and the Jim Henson Company gave us. It's a huge book, chock-full of new stories, artwork, photos, and more surrounding Jim's life. It's a gorgeous book, and we hear it's only the tip of the Henson Archives iceberg. So now we're all saying, 'You know what would be awesome? Volume 2.' "
--ToughPigs.com

"Anyone whose formative childhood years happened during the 1970s and '80s owes a great deal to Mr. Jim Henson, the puppeteering genius behind The Muppets, Fraggle Rock, and Labyrinth, amongst other creative endeavors. Throughout his iconic career, Henson kept a detailed, honest journal, and, finally, it's now available for fans and historians alike in the form of Imagination Illustrated, taken directly from The Jim Henson Company archives. As visually driven as it is narratively charged, the gorgeous 192-page book also includes tons of never-before-seen sketches, storyboards, and on-set pictures."
--Complex.com

"Imagine flipping through Jim Henson's journals filled with doodles, notes and photographs he used to illustrate major life and work events. Writer Karen Falk combined Henson's journal excerpts with unproduced material to show the evolution of Kermit and the wellsprings of Henson's creativity and inspiration" -
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"It's a rare gift to peer into the mind of a genius, but that's exactly the gift that Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal presents. Using as its base the journal Henson kept for over 20 years, it illustrates his entries with design artwork, photos, and more. A wonderful, wondrous tome."
- A Site Called Fred

"Meticulously annotated and lovingly compiled, Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal is at once an invaluable record of modern creative history and an affectionate celebration of Henson's legacy and magic."
Brain Pickings

"Now this is super cool. Jim Henson kept a diary throughout his career and this book is a collection of Henson's own words, rare sketches, personal photos and much more. Any book that celebrates the genius of Jim Henson is an automatic buy for me. "
Ain't It Cool News

"See if you can crack the spine on Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal by Karen Falk without that song rolling through your mind. It seems to emanate from the pages of this raucous-looking book-a tonal match to the color and controlled chaos JimHenson's puppets embodied. Anyone who visited last year's "Jim Henson's FantasticWorld" exhibit at theMuseumof Science and Industry will enjoy this book. It spans Henson's career, from quirky college productions through goofball TV commercials, through theMuppets and Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock to his unexpected death at age 53 in 1990. It features sketches, footnoted scripts and lots of pictures. His playful work made adults and children smile; this book will too."
-Chicago Tribune [gift guide pick]

"That's exactly what Imagination Illustrated is: a gift to the Muppet fans. The book is meticulously planned, brilliantly organized, and incredible to pore through again and again...Karen Falk's Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal is a must-own treasure if you're a Muppet fan."
--The Muppet Mindset

"This heavily illustrated book, compiled by Karen Falk, is a colorful, creative scrapbook filled with Henson's personal photos, sketches, jotted notes, press clippings and more. It's the fascinating chronicle of an artist whose imaginative reach was not limited to his most beloved invention, the Muppets."
"Usually I recommend these "Art of" books because - let's face it - even if the movie is no-good, the pre-vis and character designs are usually fantastic. Wreck-It Ralph is not only a great little film, but the artwork is especially fun. Director Rich Moore assembled a hand-picked crew of cartoonists to inspire the look of the film and they did not fail. No wonder the stuff on the screen looks so good - the preliminary art pictured here shows he had a lot of quality to choose from. Mike Gabriel, Jin Kim, Bill Schwab, Lorelay Bove, Glen Keane, and Minkyu Lee are just a few of the artists supplying the eye candy here, providing the appropriate "sugar rush" you require. This is a good one."
-CartoonBrew.com

About the Author

Karen Falk is archives director at The Jim Henson Company and curator of The Jim Henson Legacy / Smithsonian traveling exhibition "Jim Henson's Fantastic World." She lives in Bronxville, New York.

Lisa Henson is the eldest daughter of Jim Henson, chief executive officer of The Jim Henson Company, and executive producer of several hit series for children. She lives in Beverly Hills, California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1St Edition edition (November 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452105820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452105826
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a fan of the blog "Jim's Red Book," I've always wanted to see it turn into an actual book. My prayers have been answered. The book features notes from Jim Henson's journal that he compiled from 1954 to 1988. The real joy is seeing rarely seen photos and material from The Jim Henson Company Archives.

Despite the major Muppet brands being owned by three companies (Henson, Disney, Sesame Workshop), it is wonderful that they cooperated to give Muppet fans a detailed and comprehensive look behind-the-scenes at all the Muppet productions, with thoughts from Jim himself. Complete with sketches and exciting photos of Henson characters and staff, Imagination Illustrated is a real treat. Any real Muppet/Jim Henson fan will want this book. My only complaint is that the Henson Archives is probably so vast, not everything could fit into this book. I propose a sequel.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a huge Jim Henson fan. Huge. I was excited about this book- I ordered it as soon as I knew it existed- but it let me down. It is a compilation of photos, sketches and documents that accompany a journal- really like a scrap book. The journal entries are brief- one or two lines- and the accompanying images are meant to flesh out the story. My real beef with this book is the way it gives equal weight to the entries- the major movies of the 1980's are each discussed for a page, maybe two. His personal relationships are not discussed much at all.
There are much more compelling volumes on Jim Henson, including "Jim Henson: The Works", which is a marvelous reference that includes many interesting interviews and makes much better use of the same types of photos and other "scraps" that are offered in Imagination Illustrated. Brian Jay Jones' "Jim Henson: The Biography" is another book I'd highly recommend- that volume delves deeply into Henson's personal life in addition to his work. If you've read "The Works" and "The Biography", you're not going to find anything new or really even interesting here.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book contains a lot of interesting information about Jim Henson's early career that most people are too young to have seen firsthand. This includes early television shows and his work in commercials. There is also plenty of concept art used to develop characters and sets. I would have liked to see more details on certain subjects, but given how long and varied Jim Henson's career was that would be impractical.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This was a nice general overview of Jim Henson's career. I was really looking forward to seeing the journal entries and photos but they did not translate well to ebook format. I checked it out from my library and purposely downloaded it to my iPad (instead of my kindle) since the screen is a nice size and it's in color. Sadly, the photos of the journal entries and the other photos were pretty tiny and you could not zoom. The book does "translate" the journal entries before each set of pictures so you can see what they say, but it's not quite the same as seeing it in Jim's own handwriting. And the numbers identifying each picture are so small that you can't always read them. So in that regard, the book was disappointing. I have no idea if the pictures are easier to read/see in the paper copy. The book felt a bit like a museum exhibit-- it was nicely organized and easy to read and informative. I suggest trying the paper copy instead of reading it on your iPad or color tablet (especially the smaller sized ones).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for a student who loves Jim Henson. He can't put it down! The pages are full of beautiful, full-color photographs. The text gives you a glimpse into the fine minds at the Jim Henson studio. Appropriate for late elementary through high school students.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing book. I bought this book to follow along with while I listened to the amazing biography by Brian Jay Jones. When I found this, I expected to pay $50+ for it. It's a great price with a wealth of history for any thorough Henson fan.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recommend this book without any reservation to both Muppet fans and archivists. It is a terrific compilation of Jim Henson's career as viewed through his 1965-1988 journal of notable events in his personal and commercial life.
Karen Falk must have one of the best jobs in the world :)
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Format: Hardcover
I'm so happy and grateful that I have this book to add to my Jim Henson biography library. So many rare photos. Though there are pictures in this book that aren't on Henson.com's Jim's Red Book blog and vise versa (both are based on Jim Henson's Journal "The Red Book")But I love it as is. I travel with it and look at it and read it all the time. It's a must have for Jim Henson historians, and Muppet fans alike :)
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