Here is a detail of an imaginary library by English-Australian author-illustrator Colin Thompson. But it’s not from a book illustration.It is several shelves from a design for a Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle. After writing and illustrating twenty-four pictures books, writing another nineteen picture books illustrated by other artists, three volumes of poetry, six young adult novels, and the Flood Series in fifteen volumes, Thompson has changed his focus. Since 2016, he has concentrated on producing illustrations for a smashing series of jigsaw puzzles.
The pieces spread out on a table make an intriguing and colorful display. Some puzzlers consider a five-hundred piece jigsaw hardly worth bothering with. Kind of like the Monday New York Times crossword. If you are the only person in the house putting it together, it’s large enough to take a while, but not so long that despair sets in on those days when nothing wants to fit together.
One of the pleasures of a Colin Thompson puzzle is its whackiness. This one features fractured book titles. Some of the edge pieces go together relatively fast becauseof the added clue of completing the titles. And it’s more fun that frustrating to see where some of the some of the surprising details like a flower pot or a honking goose are going to land.
Last week the New York Times ran an article about Ravensburger in Germany. Demand for their jigsaw puzzles has increased so much since the beginning of the pandemic, that the firm can’t produce them fast enough. And the process can’t be sped up because of the emphasis on quality. So have fun scrolling through the list of Colin Thompson puzzles and dream for the days when stores will be able to keep them in stock again.