The Lifetime Achievement Awards were established in 2005 by past chairs of The Original Art. Nominees must be judged to have a body of work that documents an innovative and pioneering contribution to the field of children’s book illustration, and final selection is made by artists whose work has been juried into the previous year’s show. Two awards are given annually: one posthumously and one to a living illustrator.
The Society’s profiles of the artists began with:
William Joyce is a natural-born storyteller—an author, artist, and filmmaker who has found many creative ways to reach an audience of all ages.
Dahlov Ipcar (1917–2017) was an award-winning illustrator and author, as well as a prolific and accomplished fine artist.
Eric Carle had a “Very Hungry Caterpillar,” Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) had a “Grinch that Stole Christmas,” and Chris van Allsburg had a “Polar Express.” Shreveport’s Academy Award-winning filmmaker, writer and illustrator William Joyce has “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” And each of these world-renowned illustrators also has the honor of being named the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society of Illustrators. It’s quite the distinction for Joyce.
The Society of Illustrators presented the award to Joyce on Nov. 9 at the Museum of Illustration in New York City.
Longtime friend, award-winning book jacket designer (“Jurassic Park”), Batman aficionado and fellow Society of Illustrators member Chip Kidd has this to say about Joyce: “If only we could see it all through Bill Joyce’s eyes: where everything is so awkwardly beautiful, gorgeously flawed, slap-stick perfect. It’s the world we would all love to move into tomorrow if only there was any space available. But it’s all taken up with his glorious imagination, his generosity of spirit, with his wild heart. At least he grants us tickets to visit. And we are delighted to do so. Thank you, Mr. Joyce.
In reflecting on what the award means to him, Joyce says, “It’s going to be a long time before I wipe the smile from my face with this one. The honor of being given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators sort of brings my career full circle. I have the most profound memories of entering that space to meet with Dr. Seuss’ editor, Ole Risom of Random House, and seeing illustrations up the staircase and over the bar of artists I had admired all my life. These were giants of the past whom I had admired since I could blink – Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth. It was the coolest afternoon of my young life and the beginning of my publishing career. To be honored among these greats is more than I would ever have dreamed on that afternoon so many books, films and experiences ago. It’s surreal and wonderful!”
William and Dahlov join a few dozen previous luminaries who have been so honored; including Maurice Sendak, Jerry Pinkney, Ezra Jack Keats, William Steig, Theodor Geisel, Tomi Ungerer, Robert McCloskey, Tomie dePaolo, Garth Williams, Mary Blair, Shel Silverstein, David Macaulay, Richard Scarry, and two dozen others (scroll down).