Tuesday, 19 January 2010

B is for Books and borrowing. You can read about everything.

O be amazed that art and wire
Can so artfully conspire
to reveal that part of man
Which himself he cannot scan!

It's not just about X-rays.
This alphabetical sample of apparently benign ABC books from all cultures and times contains more than this by Joyce Dennys in 1916.

or T for torpedo.   Spanning informal sketches to highly designed prints and photography, the transitions reveal extraoridinary cultural shifts as well as some interesting art work.  
Enough to keep cultural and political studies people mulling, let alone illustrators.
I nearly missed  Zola in a 1900 English parody of  Hoffman's 1845 Struwwelpeter
"Z is Zola, see his rage,
Look at him on this very page..."

Monday, 18 January 2010

Pass the parcel

DSCF0410, originally uploaded by bridget strevens-marzo.
Postman delivered a huge carton box this morning.
Rattling around inside, were 3 tiny boxes - each a bijou collection of board books by different artists.

Very nice of the publisher to send me samples to help me weigh up ideas for a new collection.
Really it's all about scale.
Something their mailing department doesn't understand!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

That's my baby!

As I've told a few friends, it was a surprise bordering on stage-fright.
In London I picked off the shelf of Foyles,  this new, unusual-looking book:
Illustrating Children's Picture Books by Steven & Lesley Breen Withrow.
Turn to the title page.
Hey - that's my baby!

A quick sketch of a cover idea for my 2007 Harper US picture book,   How do you make a baby smile? by Philemon Sturges.
I wanted a glum baby all alone on the cover.   The title called for it.  Besides, there are far too many smiles in children's books.
Sadly,  glum was not on the marketing menu then.
Now, who'd have guessed?  Baby Glum has gone public,  ballooning the title at the opening of this new book. 

I had received an email from Steven Withrow not long after my piece in the 2007 Original art show at the Society of Illustrators in NY.  He interviewed me and asked for some sketches and for my take on picture book form.  Answer on page 15.  

And here I am in print with 4 pages of  'Artist's Profile'  among some illustrious company -  Shaun Tan,  Polly Dunbar,  Bob Staake among them.  And there are good words from wonderful writers,  Leonard Marcus and Jack Gantos and editors Tessa Strickland and Susan Sherman.

As I'm so colour-obsessed,  it's odd there are no finished colour spreads for How do you make a baby smile?  - just  a big bunch of black ink sketches. Reproduction rights got held up I guess.   
But some colour is shown in this particularly messy corner of my studio, post Bologna when I was juggling with a Bayard story and a school visit. 

I've not yet had time to read the whole book yet,  but already it stands out for its for its variety of voices and viewpoints,  and an intelligently wide approach to process.    Bravo to Stephen and Leslie  Breen Withrow for putting so many goodies together and to Rotovision for the original design. 

As for me,  I better get over the stage-fright with a better-than-ever book to come!