Monday, 26 September 2016

Madalena Matoso

'O Pato Amarelo E O Gato Riscado' is a Portuguese children's book written by Manuela Castro Neves and illustrated by the wonderful Madalena Matoso published by  Caminho in 2015 The illustrations are simply beautiful a combination of print and collage, whilst the story tells of an unlikely friendship between a cat and a duck.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Elsa Henriquez Muñoz II

Colour illustrations by Elsa Henriquez Muñoz for Jacques Prevert's 'Contes' 1947.

Elsa Henriquez Muñoz I

These illustrations are from 'Cuentos para niños no tan buenos' written by Jacques Prévert and illustrated by Elsa Henriquez Muñoz and first published in 1947.
The illustrations are strange, surreal, quirky and naive and bring to mind the illustrative work that both Edward Lear and Spike Miligan made to support their Limericks and rhymes.

Elsa Henriquez Muñoz an Argentinian, was the daughter of dancer Helba Huara (see below) and musician Gonzalo Morè.

She lived in  Paris and was friends with many of the Surrealists and intellectuals of the city such as Cesar Vallejo, Neruda, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Carpentier and Octavio Paz. She worked as a graphic designer and made scenery for theatre. Her illustration work appears almost exclusively in books by the poet Jacques Prévert.

(Above) Photograph by Emile Savitry of Elsa and some of her Argentinian friends.

In 1940 she married painter and photographer Emile Savitry they were married until his death in 1967. Elsa died in her adopted city of Paris in 2010.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

An evening with Oliver Jeffers, Sam Winston and Eoin Colfer

Last night Edinburgh's illustration community gathered to spend an evening with Oliver Jeffers, who is on a tour with Sam Winston promoting their book; 'A Child of Books' and author Eoin Colfer with whom he collaborated to create 'Imaginary Fred'. These three warm, humorous, talented, Irish men were interviewed by author and co-founder of Picture HooksVivian French.

(Above)From left to right Vivian French, Sam Winston, Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers.

"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms." 
Muriel Rukeyser, 'The speed of darkness.' 1968

What message did they give to the hungry audience? Well their message was as ever a collection of stories, their stories? Stories of gluing cornflakes to the wall, of transatlantic collaboration, of impossible rescues of kites, the danger of flying chairs and the treacherous honesty of children.  
For illustrators and authors, the message was clear be true to yourself and love what you do, without a care for others opinions. 

(Below) My friend Lucie Mouchova, my daughter Freya, Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

Thank you to Blackwells for hosting this event. 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Gaia Stella I

Two images to introduce Italian illustrator Gaia Stella from her book Chez-Nous. Gaia uses tiny blocks that may be rubbers to print her characters.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Tip toeing and sleeping like a bat.

I attended a PictureHooks workshop last weekend at the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland. I am currently amid many, very varied projects for fast approaching deadlines and still in exhausted-fallout from completing my MA, so this workshop probably wasn't the best timing for me.
However it was led by the wonderful Sara Ogilvie and I love these workshops as they are a chance to mix with other illustrators and have time to work together and share techniques and ideas.
This weekend I eventually managed to create a colony of bats and the beginnings of a storyboard for a new book, that I hope to have time for later in the autumn.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Jo Empson

Jo Empson is an MA graduate of Cambridge School of Art. The colour and bird content of her book 'Little Home Bird' though modern also has a vintage quality that appeals greatly and reminded me of Brian Wildsmith.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Morag Hood

'Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea' by Morag Hood was one of my favorite discoveries at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, so simple but the contrast of colour and shape, paired with  happiness and gentle humour make this a book to treasure. 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Brian Wildsmith Obituary.

"Children are all-important, and so is art ... Art is food for the soul. And books are a child's first encounter with art so I felt it was a way I could make a contribution to the world. A drop in the ocean maybe, but picture books offered a chance to communicate the importance of things such as kindness, compassion, friendship, beauty."               Brian Wildsmith

As  I searched for the link to Brian Wildsmith for yesterdays post, I made the sad discovery that he had very recently died. Brian Wildsmith illustrated over eighty books during his long career. His first book was an alphabetical creature book which instantly gained him recognition and a Kate Greenaway Medal. He went on to publish a book every year during the 1960's and 1970's encouraged by his editor Mabel George and published by his life long publisher The Oxford University Press.
‘Picture books give an opportunity for a marriage between painting and illustrating . . . I believe that beautiful picture books of the right kind are vitally important in subconsciously forming a child’s appreciation, which will bear fruit in later life.’ Brian Wildsmith
Brian was born in 1930 in Penistone, Yorkshire. He attended Barnsley Art School when he was sixteen for two years during this time he illustrated for the local paper and met his wife Aurélie Ithurbide whom he married when he was 25. He received a scholarship to attend the Slade School of Art, completing his degree just before being called up for military service, during which he was assigned to the Royal Army Education Corps teaching mathematics and music. He left the army after eighteen months and took a position as an art teacher at Sellhurst Grammar School for Boys in London. Brian gradually built his career designing book covers and commissions and managed to gave up full time teaching in 1957 to devote himself to his illustration work.

In 1971 Brian, Aurélie and their four children Clare, Rebecca, Anna and Simon settled in France. He continued to publish with OUP working with a succession of supportive editors creating award winning books with illustrations formed of a myriad of texture and colour. Vivid, exciting and beautiful Brian's books were like him, full of warmth, compassion and wisdom.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Kiyomi Saitou III

Autumn is fast encroaching with darkness closing in around our days, taking them from 18 hours of day light mid summer to often a dingy four hours in mid winter. Everyday about 20 minutes of good light is being chomped away  and I am missing it.
However the apples are swelling and it is harvest time with its colourful abundance to celebrate. In the spirit of celebrating autumn I am sharing two illustrations by Kiyomi Saito whose palette is almost as vivid and exciting as Brian Wildsmith's.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Printing with noodles

I am using print as the base for my latest book projects, gelatine printing layers, and then working on them with other media. Today I used noodles as I needed a knitted texture . . . such good fun and great results.

A week of frogs

Well, it was a week of frogs, dancing frogs, leaping frogs . . . 
sad unkissed frogs  . . .
Singing, legless, frogs and 

 singing slugs and worms. My studio is painted, my kitchen is painted. I wonder what next week will bring.