Worcester Art Museum

Ed Emberley: the 'You Can Do It' Artist!

"KAHBAHBLOOOM: The Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley" is on at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, and I'm hoping to head there to catch this wonderful exhibit on the life and art of illustrator, Ed Emberley, before it ends.

If you've ever enjoyed reading aloud Emberley's Drummer Hoff to a toddler (or had it read to you!) you'll recognize the show's title, "Kahbahbloom!" as the moment when the enormous old cannon from that tale finally explodes.

And if you've ever had the privilege of drawing from one of Emberley's many simple instruction books, or seen a child's eyes grow wide in wonder as they realize they too can do this thing called art, you will understand my excitement to see the exhibit.

"KAHBAHBLOOM" woodblock print for production of Drummer Hoff, written and illustrated by Ed Emberley, 1967 © Ed Emberley, used with permission.

Mockup pages for Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals, 1970
© Ed Emberley, used with permission.

Enjoy a Visit for Yourself

With Ed’s help you could combine [the simple shapes] infinitely. He just wanted you to have fun.
If you have fun with it, you’ll keep doing it.
If you keep doing it, you’ll get better at it.
— Caleb Neelson, curator Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley

My Favorite Emberley Video: Visit Him at Home

Everyone who likes my books is like me in some way.
If you like my books ... there’s something about you that’s just like me. And that’s the person I can speak to.
If I try to to speak to everybody, I speak to nobody.
I can only speak to the Ed Emberleys that there are in the world. Whether they’re girls or boys, whether they’re grown up or small ...
— Ed Emberley

Header image: Woodblock print for Simon's Song, written and illustrated by Ed Emberley, 1969 © Ed Emberley, used with permission.