When words can't describe how one feels, pictures can. This is how I perceive the illustrations for Papa's House, Mama's House, a children's book written by Jeanette Patindol and illustrated by Mark Salvatus III. The book won both the grand prize in the Philippine Board on Books for Young People Alcala and Salanga Prize. While published in 2004 by Adarna House, the illustrations and theme are still so current.
The story is about a child's confusion about her parent's emotionally difficult situation. The theme is a radical development to local children's literature where such topics weren't usually discussed appropriately to young minds. The story was well written to adapt a child's comprehension.
The illustrations have bold strokes of provocative colors with small sketchy figures. The heavy painterly style and scratch techniques work both ways: it may either suggest the deep unsettling feelings of the character perfectly expressed through colors and strokes, or the style symbolizes the love of parents for the character which doesn't diminish despite their situation. While looking at the illustrations, you can actually feel those emotions as you read. The small figures may connote that we play deaf in children's honest and pure voices about issues and they should also matter in adult decisions, no matter how young they are. How often do we disregard or underestimate a child's understanding?
The illustrations of Papa's House, Mama's House is a good example of how style may expressively convey emotions.