The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is highlighting the work of a bestselling author/illustrator/graphic novelist in a new exhibition.
Ben Hatke: Nobody Likes a Goblin, on display through September 15, features 40 original watercolors from the children’s book and invites viewers of all ages to walk through the story with “Goblin,” from his happy life in the dungeon shared with rats and his best friend Skeleton, to his journey out into the world after adventurers kidnap Skeleton and steal everything they own.
“It’s impossible not to instantly empathize with the little, green-eyed goblin who is just minding his own business before his life is upended,” wrote April Spisak in her review of Nobody Likes a Goblin for the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. “Hatke’s got an impressive gift for capturing the forlorn with little to no words.”
The Wilson Museum exhibition showcases Hatke’s working method, in which picture books and graphic novels begin as sketches with loosely conceptualized characters and locations. Visitors can scroll through pages from the artist’s sketchbooks on an iPad and view a video about Hatke. The exhibition also features original artwork from his books Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, Little Robot, Mighty Jack, and the New York Times bestseller Zita the Spacegirl.
A graduate of Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, Hatke later continued his studies at the Charles Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy. He currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and five daughters.
“Having a voice and a young audience comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a lot of joy and a lot of excitement,” Hatke said. “The harder and more contentious times are, the more serious the role of the artist is in the world.”
Ben Hatke: Nobody Likes a Goblin is sponsored in part by the City of Roanoke through the Roanoke Arts Commission.
The Wilson Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Admission is always free.
Please join the Wilson Museum for an opening lecture with Ben Hatke on Friday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 119 of the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center. A reception and book signing will follow in the first floor lobby.
Image Caption: Ben Hatke, illustration from Nobody Likes a Goblin, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.