Found this incredibly colorful and wildly imaginative science book several years ago in a booth at an antique mall, I believe just outside of Chattanooga, TN. The place was a regular stop for Andrea and I whenever we'd take the trip up I-75 to Illinois to visit her parents. Sigh. Guess it'll be some time until we visit that place again. The booth I bought this book from was filled with wonderful old books, with a healthy section on textbooks and readers. Bought many a book from that seller.
Anyway, the illustrations in this 1959 book were all done by one guy: Cornelius De Witt. Nothing much comes up on the guy -- I did find this page on him. He was able to live to the ripe ol' age of 90. It would've been great to meet the guy and ask him about how he worked. I mean, just look at his work featured throughout this amazing book (click on each to view larger):
The nine systems of the human body. I put this image together from three different pages. Just got rid of the text. Looks nice to see all the illustrations together.
Just look at how unafraid De Witt was with his use of color: purple with bright green. And it works somehow.
What De Witt does perfectly is simplify the various organs and allows us to focus on what we need to look at without compromising the integrity of the subject matter.
The colors clash, but not too much. Just enough to pique our interest.
Definitely view this larger. There's some interesting things going on here.
In the middle of the book, there's this fold-out that opens up into four pages. This is the entire spread. Brilliant. Just brilliant. View larger to fully appreciate the work.
All of Cornelius De Witt's work on this book exemplified the notion of communication -- to take what the doctors and specialists were saying in the text and visualize in easy to read and understand images. Because he was trying to make a mundane subject more intriguing, he experimented with color choices, often going far beyond the typical notion of what real organs and muscles should look like. Good thing the editors allowed De Witt to go to town with this project. I doubt that any illustrator today would have the luxury of depicting the innards of the human body the way that De Witt does here in this book. There were so many pages to choose from, I couldn't possibly scan them all. If I have more time, I'll try and scan some more later on.