Monday, 26 October 2009

James Gulliver Hancock

Here is one of the illustrators that had all of our attention in class today, James Gulliver Hancock has a strong line-driven style and uses a simple set of colours that work well with his illustration to deliver his mostly black and white work.

His website/blog can be found here where you can see the successes he is enjoying with video producers and various clients but the pieces that grabbed our attention today (pictured) were found in the book Naive, published by gestalten, a book of; "modernism and folklore in modern graphic design".

Toy Blog

Bibi's Toys..
More toys than you can shake a stick at... Lots of ideas here

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Book Creation

It seems my research is leading me to look closer into the relationship between Illustrator, publisher and author...and the possibility of combining some or all of these.
It seems that the combination of author illustrator can an appealing one to publishers, and this is certainly the angle I've been working along during the last few weeks -Looking at competitions such as The Macmillan Prize.

is an interesting blog explaining a publishing editor's point of view of matching illustrators and authors, it seems quite negative towards people trying to match the two themselves and very much in favour of the editor being able to match the two with their informed view. But there are some interesting posts. This post in particular has provoked some interesting replies...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Culture Show

Just watching the culture show on BBC2 with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo and noted that there was such a large amount of children's films coming out recently.
What was interesting for me were Kermode's views on The Fantastic Mr Fox, or at least his comments on Rhoald Dahl.
He pointed out the dark side of Dahl's stories which made me think back to my current project, the deadline for which was today. I have been trying desperately to manage and balance the light and dark elements of my story into something that kids will find amusing but also be able to gain something from. Thinking back it sems to me that these evil characters always met their end in the most wonderfully inventive and drastic way, but also (usually), by fault of their own hand. Sort of reminds me of an ACME device or something...except I always wanted Wile. E. Coyote to catch the Roadrunner.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Emily Gravett

Looking at past winners of the Macmillan prize this morning.

Emily Gravett's site is here. She won in 2004 and uses a traditional painting and ink style combined with the computer for compositing images. There are some nice vids and things to check and you can see her working method, which is not too dissimilar to my own.
In an interview for Macmillan here, she talks about about what winning Macmillan meant to her and how she came to children's book creation. There is lots for students, -especially the older, new parent variety, such as myself- to relate to. Great stuff!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Oliver West

Some of this guys ideas can be pretty interesting, especially, but certainly not exclusively aimed at those with learning difficulties, his ideas on visual thinking could be employed perhaps to help us understand and push ourselves to improve.
He, incidentally is an artist, print-maker and university lecturer but you can see that stuff on the site. I came across him by looking at some of his YouTube videos.
I should mention that he himself is chronically dyslexic (why did they make that word so hard to spell?!?!).And here is something a little more nostalgic featuring Kermit the frog to show you that visual thinking is not necessarily a new idea.

AIGA First Childrens book Museum

Just found this at It's an interview with H. Nichols B. Clark, concerning the opening of the "first first full-scale U.S. museum devoted to national and international picture book art."
Co-founded with author Eric C Carle ( he created The Hungry Catterpillar) the museum also bears his name.
Definate food for thought for anyone interested in this area.
I've been looking at various things this week in the realms of children's publishing.

The first is an author Rob Scotton who's book Splat the cat I have been using as part of my investigations.

The humour and likeability of this title showcase what I think are some of the most important qualities of a children's picture book.
Ther is a good synopsis and introduction to Scotton at

The story is delightful, but the comic nature of the characters especially Scotton's choice of awkward, spindly limbs and bent tales are little devices that give them so much life on the page.
Just going to the page for Russel the Sheep and looking at the role of awards for this title should show you how widely appreciated he is as an illustrator and creator in general.

There seemed to be a shortage of material on the author as an individual in my search, perhaps this is fitting of a children's illustrator. He does live on an island so he must be a little reclusive. I did manage to find a short light-hearted interview here.
The title was also mentioned in a top ten children's books of 2008 rundown at the Newe York Times taht can be seen here (it's at number 4).
Noting that is style appears to be heavily dependant on digital media gives me a little hope as I approach graduation.

Following on from this I began to look at his publisher, Harper Collins.
Also home to people like Oliver Jeffers, it seems like a nice place for modern illustrated children's books.
All I need to do now is win multiple international prizes in consideration of my work !

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Anne Wilson

Here is someone Ian Whadcock pointed out to me this week. I have been reading her interview with Illustration Friday and looking at her page at

If you can't tell she does a lot of children's illustration.
I like her strong colours and sense of shape, something that's a bonus when you have to work together type and pictures so much as when working with children's stories. She also really enjoys putting a lot of texture into her work through mainly the use of collage, which is very popular in these circles also.

Someone that enjoys having an agent do their networking for them and also copes with a new baby at the same time, something I'm getting used to. She spends some time talking about making time for both family and work.
She talks about her new studio at the bottom of her garden- which gives her the opportunity to focus more. She also has just finished a masters in illustration and says this; "was great as I was able to fully dedicate my thoughts to some personal work for a while".
She answers all the usual questions Illustration Friday points at its chosen interviewees and I suppose you can just follow the link at the top if you want to know more.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Childrens' Illustrators

Here's another Illustrator working in the same field as my current project (children's illustration/picture books) that I have been looking at recently.
Stian Hole is a Dutch graphic designer and illustrator, with national accolades behind him in his home country. His style it seems has been picked up on perhaps by the people that have been doing the recent British Gas adverts on TV.
His use of photoshop to give the chracters in his work an ethereal and cartoony quality. The illustrations in his books still retain the hand crafted and human quality that we so love in these publications and have a little sense of 70's cartoon in there too.

The stories his books contain are also worth a note as they tend to be of quite a personal nature. Difficult issues such as the loss of a grandparent and first days at school form the backbone of the tales involved.