A Knavish Lad: Shakespeare’s Dream illustrated by Joanna Robson

September 26th, 2016 by Special Projects

Venue: McNaughtan’s Bookshop and Gallery, 3a Haddington Place, Edinburgh, EH7 4AE

Open until 30th September 2016

Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is retold by Edinburgh-based artist Joanna Robson as a wordless narrative using a combination of old and new technologies: intaglio printmaking and laser cutting.  The result is a panoramic piece of book art that visually narrates the story and draws inspiration from the imagery of the text.


A Knavish Lad has been over two years in the making and was created to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.  It was made possible with the generous support from the Hope Scott Trust.

The Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2016

September 23rd, 2016 by Special Projects

An exhibition of this year’s winners from The Cheltenham Illustration Awards, based on the theme ‘Tales of Nonsense’.

Venue: The Wilson, Cheltenham’s Art Gallery and Museum, Clarence Street, Cheltenham GL50 3JT

Open from the 22nd of September 2016 till the 15th January 2017, 6-8pm.

Free Entry.

CIA 2016 poster exhibition

The Awards are administered by the University of Gloucestershire and include work from up and coming students and established artists and illustrators.

Edward Ardizzone: A Retrospective

September 23rd, 2016 by Special Projects

A major exhibition of the work of Edward Ardizzone, one of the 20th century’s most significant illustrators, the first major exhibition of his work in 40 years.

Venue: House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, London N1C 4BH.

Opens 23rd of September, Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed Mondays. Admission (includes all three current exhibitions): £8.25 inc gift aid.


Celebrated for his unmistakeable and enduring illustrations, Edward Ardizzone remains one of the most admired British artists of the 20th century. His wide-ranging output includes the Little Tim books, drawings produced as an official war artist during the Second World War, poster design, ceramics and more.

Opening at House of Illustration in September, Ardizzone: A Retrospective is the first major exhibition of his work in 40 years

From his relatively unknown early commissions to rarely seen original illustrations, the exhibition will feature over 100 pieces from public and private collections. Highlights include a Little Tim manuscript, mural artwork for a P&O ocean liner, ceramic figurines and poster designs for Lyons, as well as sketchbooks and illustrated correspondence.

‘The supreme contemporary example of the genuine illustrator’ – Maurice Sendak on Edward Ardizzone, 1967.


Ardizzone: A Retrospective is co-curated by Alan Powers, author of the forthcoming publication of Edward Ardizzone: Artist and Illustrator, and House of Illustration’s Olivia Ahmad.

Published by Lund Humphries to coincide with the opening of the exhibition on 23 September, Edward Ardizzone: Artist and Illustrator is the first full, illustrated monograph on Ardizzone. Researched from archival sources, it provides an in-depth survey of his work as well as exploring his connections and influence in mid-20th-century British illustration.

Edward Ardizzone RA CBE (1900 – 79) was one of the 20th century’s most significant illustrators. He is best-known for his illustrated children’s books, in particular the ‘Little Tim’ series which he wrote and illustrated, starting in 1936 with Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain, and many of which are still in print today. In 1940 Ardizzone was appointed an official war artist – along with his contemporaries Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious – and embarked for France and Belgium with the British Expeditionary Force. He spent time in North Africa and Italy and was also present at the Normandy landings. He illustrated contemporaries such as Eleanor Farjeon and Robert Graves and classic authors from Cervantes and Bunyan to Dickens and Trollope. Ardizzone also did a range of magazine and advertising work for clients including Shell, Guinness, Radio Times, Moss Bros and Punch.


Not My Business – Olalekan Jeyifous

September 16th, 2016 by Special Projects

9 – 30 September

50 Golborne gallery, 50 Golborne Road, London W10 5PR


Not My Business” – a solo exhibition by Nigerian-American artist and designer Olalekan Jeyifous.

“Not My Business” is named after a poem by Nigerian poet, dramatist, and literary critic, Niyi Osundare. Trained as an architect at Cornell University, USA, Jeyifous uses Architecture and Design as tropes to investigate Nigeria’s socio-cultural and political issues from the specific angle of his Diasporic position

Now updated for 2016 – the AOI Client Directories!

September 14th, 2016 by Special Projects

The perfect self promotion resource with email, phone number, postal address and websites, plus information on the type of work commissioned, these three directories are the affordable solution for illustrators wishing to expand their client base.


The Directories are available as individual purchases, or as a reduced fee set of three. AOI Members receive a discount on the price of the set and individual directories.
Go here to purchase

The Advertising Directory contains the contact details of 157 Advertisers and Design Agencies
The Editorial Directory contains the contact details of 143 Editorial Clients
The Publishing Directory contains the contact details of 159 Publishers

Here Comes Mr Postmouse – book review

September 13th, 2016 by Special Projects

Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc

Published by Book Island ISBN 978-0-994128201

Review by Rachel Morris rachelillustration.co.uk


SLOW DOWN! Really, slow down. That’s what Here Comes Mr Postmouse encourages.

You travel along with Mr Postmouse as he makes his deliveries but it’s the detail and humour tucked into each illustrated page that really gets you to linger. The star chart in Mr Bear’s house is, you guessed it, The Great Bear and his appropriately named Aunt Ursula are just a couple of the more highbrow jokes in only one section of the first spread.  The rabbit’s toilet is a simple and effective bit of comedy and Señor Snake who lives next door is a lovely link over 4 pages, again packed with detail and subplot in the cutaways and backgrounds.


I caught up with Illustrator/Author Marianne Dubuc, who lives and works in Montréal, Québec, to ask her a few questions about this, her most recent book.

This may be a bit of a ‘the-chicken-or-the-egg’ question, but how did Mr Postmouse arrive in your head? Did he grow from a drawing, or was he born out of the word element of the story?

The idea for Mr Postmouse came as a collaboration with my then editor at Casterman, Mélanie. She wanted to make a Richard Scarry kind of book, with animal houses with lots of details. We were looking for an idea that would link all the houses together, to have a small storyline that would take you through the book from start to finish. The postman idea came naturally to both of us, and a small animal such as a mouse was perfect. And then I drew him and… that was how Mr Postmouse was born!


Was it one of those projects that flowed from the initial idea to the final, printed book, or has it been a more fraught, long-winded process than that?

The actual idea flowed naturally. Once I have an idea for a book, writing the story and drawing the layout goes relatively fast. It is the technique that took more time to find. There was a misunderstanding between Mélanie and me, and I had not understood that she was looking for a different look to my usual style. There were a lot of back and forth email exchanges with her team, and we finally settled on Mr Postmouse’s look. I drew the whole book by hand, then digitally coloured the images. It took as long as hand drawing, was really painful to do, and I actually hated doing it (!). But once the book was done, and once I received it printed, I was really satisfied. So satisfied that I wanted to do a second Mr Postmouse!

I love the way you can see the pencil marks in elements of your drawing. Could you tell me a bit about how you start an image, a bit about your working process?

I always plan my books with small thumbnails. I draw the story from start to finish very quickly in small double-page rectangles, just as a storyboard. This allows me to feel the rhythm of the book, to make sure there is a diversity of images and that it all works together. Once the the whole book’s layout is planed, I can start the final roughs. I often make a real print size blank dummy of the book, and draw directly in it, with all the details and placing the text as well. Once these roughs are approved, I can start the final illustrations.  I usually use my roughs as a guide, placing them under my paper on the light table. This gives me a security to draw, but also leaves me space to improvise.


And as I said previously, contrary to all of my other books which are done by hand completely, Mr Postmouse was hand drawn, but digitally coloured. I wanted to keep the hand feeling in the images, so I did all of the textures by hand and changed the colours on the computer. I found a way to use the computer that would be satisfying to me, and I am now having fun with this style.

Here Comes Mr Postmouse is a gentle book that’s lovely to share, particularly with children who aren’t yet reading independently. With so much to talk about alongside the story in the detailed illustrations, the sparse text doesn’t make this is a ‘quick read’. It does mean it’s not daunting for someone who is learning to read though because the words are so well chosen and, on the whole, simple. It’s a beautiful book that’s full of surprises.

You may also be interested in these book reviews

Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats

Fox & Goldfish

AOI Annual General Meeting 2016

September 12th, 2016 by Special Projects

Members were invited to the 2016 AOI Annual General Meeting on 8 September, and had the opportunity to meet AOI staff and Board and hear about the AOI’s plans for the upcoming year.


The AGM was held in the Coningsby Gallery in London, which meant attendees could see AOI member, Andrew Baker’s exhibition at the same time.


Above, AOI Chairman Andrew Coningsby with Illustrator Rod Hunt

Nicholas John Frith wins Klaus Flugge Prize

September 9th, 2016 by Special Projects

Nicholas John Frith has won the inaugural Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting and promising newcomer to children’s picture book illustration. He won £5000 for his book Hector and Hummingbird (Alison Green Books), about a spectacled bear and his noisy best friend.


‘The shortlist featured six skilful and talented illustrators but Hector and Hummingbird is something very special’ said Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, judge for this new prize, ‘We were particularly impressed with the way Nicholas John Frith creates the characters of Hector and Hummingbird through his illustrations, and the relationship between them is completely convincing. It’s certainly a very stylish book to look at, but the characterisation won it for us. Children will love these two heroes, it’s a book with heart!’

The Klaus Flugge Prize honours publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books, who this year celebrates the 40th anniversary of his publishing house Andersen Press. The Prize is funded by Klaus Flugge and run independently of Andersen Press

The shortlist:

Too Many Toys, Heidi Deedman, edited Maria Tunney (Walker Books)

Hector and the Hummingbird, Nicholas John Frith, edited by Alison Green (Scholastic)

The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, Daisy Hirst, edited by Lizzie Sitton (Walker Books)

Toby and the Ice Giants, Joe Lillington, edited by Harriet Birkenshaw (Flying Eye Books)

Lili, Wen Dee Tan, edited by Holly Millbank (Fat Fox)

Counting Lions, Stephen Walton, written and edited by Katie Cotton, (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)

From A to B: Pages from the Paper Galaxy – exhibition

September 7th, 2016 by Special Projects

Book and editorial illustrations by Andrew Baker

5–16 September 2016

Coningsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 4RJ

This show, Andrew Baker’s first solo outing, celebrates his contribution to the world of editorial illustration and offers a preview of his illustrations for a major new book, ‘BODY, The Graphic Book of Us’, due for release later this year.


Andrew is an award winning illustrator with work spanning editorial, advertising and packaging projects. This collection of work explores how his characteristic blend of colour, design and wit has brought to life the pages of a galaxy of publications from Vogue to Nature, from Design Week to The Times.

On display alongside original artworks are covers, pages, tear sheets and endpapers showing his images in the context of the printed page in all its variety.


The Marionette Unit – book review

September 6th, 2016 by Special Projects

By Azhur Saleem, James Boyle and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell

Published by TMU Workshop ISBN 978-1-5262-0117-1

Reviewed by Spencer Hill


Comic art, or to give it a more grown up title; sequential illustration, has always had a link to film for me. I read it and produce it as if I am watching or directing a movie, and I view the printed form as storyboards without all the camera directions etc. So when I was asked to review The Marionette Unit, I was not surprised to discover that writers Azhur Saleem and James Boyle are film makers. It just makes sense. When you then add the artistic skills of the prolific Warwick Johnson-Cadwell to the mix, you can expect something very special.


The Marionette Unit describes itself as a ‘thrilling and terrifying mystery’, and is the story of Beatrice Shaw’s search for her missing sister in the dark, steampunkesque world of an alternate universe Victorian workhouse. The writers confess that they hadn’t really encountered steampunk before they wrote this story, and it isn’t a full on example of that genre anyway. So don’t expect rocket boots or steam rifles or large goggles in this volume. What you get is a dark and grimy story which isn’t trying to lift your spirits, but it is told well and with the pace of a film you very quickly find yourself at the end. They say you should always leave your audience wanting more, and I was definitely disappointed when I turned the last page and realised there was a lot more story to come, but I wasn’t getting it in this volume. I suspect (and hope) this is the first part of a series. The writers have delivered a strong cast to tell their story, with the heroine Beatrice facing up to the fiendish, heartless Captain of Industry Dupre, and in this encounter she doesn’t seem to be his match. No, I’m not giving anything away, you should discover it for yourself. There is nothing worse than a plot spoiler!


Artistically Saleem and Boyle hit the jackpot by securing the services of Warwick Johnson-Caldwell in their first ever graphic novel. This is the artist behind Tank Girl, Gungle and Nelson amongst much more, and he has that enviable ability to seem to be able to draw everything. His style fits this story really well, and he may hate me for drawing the comparison, but it’s as if he channeled L S Lowry to forge the artistic connection to the workhouse culture which dominates the book. Colours have clearly been carefully considered to set the mood and indicate changes of scene, and the action and detail sweep you through to that ending I mentioned in a flurry of page turning. I will be honest and admit I prefer the fuller style he used in Tank Girl to the art in The Marionette Unit, but it in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the book.


The cherry on the cake for me is the inclusion of some behind the scenes bonus material at the back. This is what I hope for as an illustrator; a chance to see some original pages of writing, then sketches, then the finished article. There are also character sketches too, and for me this will ensure the book remains in my collection.  I believe we can all learn so much from studying the sketchbooks of fellow illustrators and peeking over their shoulders as they work. I am really pleased they had the consideration to include this.


To conclude; two experienced  film makers have written a dark Victorian sci-fi novel and landed the services of one our top illustrators to bring it to life. I recommend you check it out.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Dear Rikard