Oh No, Little Dragon!


by Jim Averbeck

Remember him? When I asked him what he would be if he wasn’t an author/illustrator, he said “extraordinarily irritable.” Ha.

Oh No, Little Dragon! is an endearing little book. Just look at his eyes! So sweet. That’s a little dragon with a spark in his heart, no question about it.

This is a story about fire, love, and kisses from a mama. And Jim Averbeck’s pictures capture the magnitude of this childlike search for sparkle.




When I teach, one of my favorite things to show students is this little video. Not only does it visually define the fundamentals of design, but it is also a tiny piece of art itself. Pay close attention to the bit on line. (And also the adorable accent of the narrator!)

From the video: “Line has direction, weight, gesture, spirit, gestalt, life.”

And that’s what I think about when I look through the pages of Oh No, Little Dragon! — the life and spirit of the lines.


See how the foreground and background lines are weighted the same? They are approximately the same width and texture, but the background lines recede because they are more transparent. Similar lines in different spirit create space in the illustration.


The lines of phooooooshing on these pages have a clear direction and sense of animation across the spread. Love that. Can’t you just hear and feel Little Dragon sputtering through this book?

I won’t even tell you how much I love the soot-colored line drawings on the endpapers.




  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Very cute! The thing about great design is that a talented designer makes it look so easy…but it is enormously complex to do so!

  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink


  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    this is soooo cute! I love dragon books…. and anything to do with chili peppers (or chocolate).

  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink


  • Virginia Rinkel
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Love the design and agree with Tara.

  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Ditto! And according to the title page:

    “The illustrations for this book were created using handmade papers and oil pastel on textured paper, digitally assembled and enhanced in Photoshop.”

  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    carter, what video are you refering to and where can we view it?
    please supply a link. thanks!


  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Oh! Is it not showing up in the post?

    This is it:

  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    now it is but for some reason it was not before. thanks and i love your blog!

  • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Maybe the old blog was having a Monday morning moment. Thank you!

  • tinamcho
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I learn something every time I come to your blog! Thanks, Carter!

  • Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I loved that video. It was awesome. Where can I go to learn more about design?

  • Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on bernatvilla.

  • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on yulirini07.