A page from illustrator Toby Leigh’s upcoming book ‘ABC For Adults.’
The work of oddball London-based illustrator Toby Leigh was in part inspired by his discovery of the deviant stylings of comic book hero Robert Crumb whom Leigh became aware of at a very young age. I’ve always been a huge supporter of starting kids young when it comes to the good stuff in life like hipping them to the finer things—and the art of Mr. Crumb should always be considered “good stuff.” For instance, my Dad turned me on to Ralph Steadman when I was a kid and whenever I get to write about Steadman or his larger-than-life muse Hunter S. Thompson, I thank my Dad. For the soon-to-be-published book, ABC For Adults Leigh revisited his own childhood after finding an ABC book that he once owned as a kid in an antique shop in Wiltshire.
Leigh’s illustrations and use of soft, appealing color schemes borrow from the vintage pages of Little Golden Books. In a rather brilliant and nefarious move, instead of substituting blatant adult-oriented words (you know like “F is for fuck” or “V is for Vagina”), Leigh used mostly toddler-level words in the book accompanied by corresponding illustrations. Like an image of a balding, white-haired man clutching his chest for the letter “H” and it’s alphabet word “heart.” According to Leigh, when he presented his finished work to potential publishers, two of them requested that he tone down a few of his illustrations. Leigh heroically refused and is currently using the crowdfunded publishing tool Unbound to raise the funds to put the book out, which should be seeing the light of day sometime in July in the UK and shortly thereafter in the U.S. For a pledge of $20 bucks (plus shipping) you can get your very own hardbound copy, with your name on the back cover which seems like the makings of a very cool family heirloom to me. I’ve posted some images of Leigh’s hardcore ABC’s below, a few of which are slightly NSFW.
One of the illustrations from Leigh’s book that potential publishers urged him to tone down.
More after the jump…