Artist Talk by Satoshi Kitamura

October 24th, 2014 by Special Projects

In Conversation with Nicolette Jones

Satoshi Kitamura

The Japan Foundation, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EH

Friday 14 November from 6.30pm

Satoshi Kitamura is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator whose work includes over 20 of his own books and many collaborations. Using a glass dip pen that produces his uneven line, Kitamura is skilled in finding the balance between words and pictures, and creating visual depictions of abstract concepts such as music and art.

In conjunction with The Children’s Bookshow, a national tour of writers and illustrators of children’s literature in which Kitamura has been selected to appear, this special talk event will highlight his innovative, varied, and long career. Having recently returned to live in Japan after spending many years nurturing his career in the U.K., Kitamura will discuss the development of his style, whether or not working in a different environment has had any impact upon his work, all while exploring the appreciation of children’s literature in the markets of both the U.K. and Japan. Nicolette Jones is a writer, critic and broadcaster specialising in literary and arts journalism. She has been the Children’s Books Editor of The Sunday Times for more than two decades.

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please email your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to

Geoff Grandfield Talk at the AOI Awards Exhibition

October 24th, 2014 by Special Projects

Geoff talk photo

This afternoon illustrator Geoff Grandfield gave a talk about his practice to a gathered audience at the exhibition gallery in Somerset House. Geoff won the AOI Illustration Professional Award for working with The Folio Society to illustrate The Alexander Trilogy, a set of historical novels written by Mary Renault which dramatize the short life of the military leader Alexander the Great.

Geoff talk 2

Geoff discussed the development behind The Alexander Trilogy in front of his exhibited work as he encouraged the audience to study his sketchbooks, as well as several blown-up photocopies of the thumbnails he used to work out the composition of the illustrations. Geoff stated that he seeks to find “balance or imbalance” within his illustrations, and upon examining the angles and the placement of light and dark within the bold compositions this focus becomes apparent.

When explaining his process, he mentioned that for him “it’s very much about trying to internalize imagery” and that some of his big considerations when choosing what part of a book to illustrate and how to do so were places, characters, action, description and pacing. He said that he wanted his illustrations to have a “silent atmospheric narrative” that wasn’t duplicating the text but instead “bringing another layer into the experience of reading a novel”.

You can read more about Geoff’s practice in Varoom 27: The Hermenauts issue, available to purchase here.

Geoff’s work will be on show at Somerset House until 2 November.

Cultivation & Creativity Exhibition

October 24th, 2014 by Special Projects

RHS watercolour 2

Sophie Knight RWS, Sea of Cow of Parsley, watercolour

Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London, SE1 9JH

Wednesday 5 – Sunday 16 November, Private View Thursday 6 November 6pm until 8pm. Opening Times 11am until 6pm

Bankside Gallery presents an exhibition which showcases works featuring the four Royal Horticultural Society gardens as seen by Royal Watercolour Society Artists. The RWS was founded in 1804, and like the RHS celebrates its 210th anniversary in 2014. The exhibition will show a diverse range of responses from the figurative to the abstract, and works will reflect the changing seasons and the life of the gardens. Every artist in this exhibition has a strong personal voice. They all work in many different water based media, and the range of methods and materials used differ greatly.

Angela Barrett Exhibition – Anne Frank and Other Work

October 24th, 2014 by Special Projects

Anne Frank Angela Barrett

Illustrationcupboard Gallery, 22 Bury Street, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 6AL

Wednesday 29 October – Saturday 15 November 2014. Opening Times Monday – Friday 9:30am until 6pm, Saturdays 11am until 5pm

Illustrationcupboard Gallery presents an exhibition of newly-released original artwork by Angela Barrett.

Anne Frank: This touching re-telling introduces to the younger reader a personal account of Anne Frank’s life, up to and including the years she lived under Nazi occupation in Holland during WWII. Angela Barrett has illustrated this account with delicacy and elegance, and all the original artwork will be exhibited and for sale. Alongside this other artwork by Angela will be shown, including The Night before Christmas, Joan of Arc, The Night Fairy, The Snow Goose and her recent edition of Anna Karenina with The Folio Society.

Illustrators – The Expatriates Issue 1989 – archive

October 23rd, 2014 by Special Projects

Illustrators cover 550

John Shelley – Mother’s Day department store promotion

We continue to look through the archive of the AOI membership publications, discovering Illustrators magazine from 1989  The Expatriates Issue, featuring articles by illustrators working in Japan and Canada discussing the influence of culture and industry differences on illustrators and their practice.

page 25 550

Richard Parent – ‘The Americas’ for Vice Versa Magazine

The Canadian editorial illustrator Richard Parent discusses the differences between working in Canada and the UK in ‘Cross Cultures’.

pages 26 and 27 550

Left page: Top – Norman Cousineau for Regardie’s, Bottom – John Stewart ‘So to Speak’ book jacket. Right page: John Stewart ‘The Caretakers’ book jacket for Penguin Canada.

“It wouldn’t be stretching it too far to point to Parent as pivotal. Founder member of AllQ [Association des illustrateurs et illustratices du Québec], designer and production manager of The Book, bilingually articulate. But that’s Montréal, and his work has a high UK profile. Some believe there are few artists here (count them on the fingers of one hand) whose imagination matches his for passion, commitment and the rare quality of ‘dis-ease’; by which is meant his pictures make you uncomfortable, and a good thing too. Why did he come to the UK, and why did he go back to Canada? Is his style more appropriate to England, is it typically Canadian, or was he out on a limb there?”

pages 30 and 31 550

Far left: The AllQ book ‘Répertoire’. Center: Richard Parent, proposal for a book jacket, Whitechapel and Scarlet.

V&A Illustration Awards

October 22nd, 2014 by Special Projects

The closing date: 9th December 2014

Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 V&A Illustration Awards competition.  These can be submitted here

2014 Winner - Joys of Creativity by AOI Member Helen Musslewhite

2014 Winner - Joys of Creativity by AOI Member Helen Musslewhite

If you entered the competition last year you should have a user name and password.  There is a facility to create a new password if you cannot remember your existing one.  If you cannot remember your existing user name just create a completely new account.

The closing date for entries is 9th December 2014 and online entries only will be accepted.  You may submit as many publications as you wish  - there is no entry cost. A shortlist will be drawn up by V&A judges in February 2015 with final decisions on winners taking place in April 2015 based on the actual printed versions of the publications. Final winners will be announced on 18th May 2015.

Individual books can now be entered for both the Best Book Cover and Best Illustrated Book categories if they fit the criteria.

There are three categories for published illustration: Book Cover, Book Illustration and Editorial (newspapers and magazines).

The winner in each of these receives £2,000 and a trophy. The judges also select an overall winner who receives an additional £2,000. Winners may also be commissioned to produce publicity artwork for the Museum.

There is one student category.

The student illustrator of the year receives £2,000 and a trophy. The student runner up receives £1,000.

Thinking Visually for Illustrators – book review

October 22nd, 2014 by Special Projects

By Mark Wigan

Published by Fairchild  ISBN: 9781472530448

Review by Juliet Harris


This second edition of Basics Illustration: Thinking Visually for Illustrators by Mark Wigan, is ideal for visual arts students, who are looking for a comprehensive and innovative introduction to the subject of illustration.

The six chapters of the book are constructed to progress through discussing the building blocks of illustration to its wide range of uses. The book evolves to discuss the final outcomes of studying this subject, such as a career as an illustrator, with industry insights from practising illustrators.

The first chapter ‘Getting Started’ works particularly well in encouraging originality, experimentation and research, which seems important in an industry saturated with imagery for aspiring illustrators to absorb. The book argues that ‘the profession of illustration needs more innovators and less imitators’, which seems like a good place for anyone looking for a career as an visual artist to start.


Chapter Four  ‘ Types of illustration’ concentrates on the applications of illustration, including less commercial contexts such as social commentary and underground urban street art. I see this as an attempt to broaden the readers’ view on visual art and introduce them to new fields of interest. The chapter is peppered with quotes that further promote the importance of originality within artists practice, and suggestions that ‘one cannot create an art that speaks to men when one has nothing to say’. (André Malraux, Man’s Hope, 1938)


The book concludes with a series of projects for the reader to try, which are taken from the subjects covered in previous chapters. This is a novel approach to engage the reader in the book’s ideas, by encouraging them to carry out experimental tasks. An example is Project 16, whereby the reader is asked to create a self-portrait in a historical context, whilst considering the visual language and social issues of the chosen time. This project epitomises the core values of Thinking Visually for Illustrators which involve strong research, being open to try new things and above all, thinking outside the box.


Other reviews you may like:

Illustration: Meeting the Brief

Becoming a Successful Illustrator

Paddington: Illustrated and Animated

October 21st, 2014 by Special Projects

Paddington House of Illustration

2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London. N1C 4BH

Saturday 18 October 2014 – Sunday 4 January 2015

Opening times 10am until 6pm

In the run-up to the launch of the first Paddington movie on Friday 28 November, the new South Gallery exhibition explores how different illustrators and animators have interpreted Michael Bond’s much-loved bear.

Paddington: Illustrated and Animated brings together a selection of artwork from over 50 years of Paddington, from original drawings by Peggy Fortnum, Fred Banbery, David McKee and R.W. Alley, to clips from Ivor Wood’s 1970s stop motion Paddington TV show and material from the new Paddington movie.

Man meets Woman – book review

October 17th, 2014 by Special Projects

By Yang Liu

Published by Taschen ISSN 3836553988

Review by Derek Brazell


Leafing through Man Meets Woman, where each spread offers the sexes different takes on various viewpoints, you realise that your preconceptions are being challenged. You find yourself wondering if the differences between women and men are pre-determined, cultural, or just constructs that are willingly absorbed by each generation, with a few subtle variations which ebb and flow with each passing decade.


In age where conservative views of gender are seemingly becoming more entrenched, there’s an emphasis on the comparison between the two sexes doing or achieving the same thing, but being viewed and judged differently. Surely a successful man has always had great ideas to get himself to an enviable position? But has a successful woman been either strategically shagging someone, will never find love, or someone who has given up the option of having children? Lui’s pictograms raise these points, through simple colour coded images, with the graphic approach making her points very readable as the reader is presented with ‘men’s’ views on the left and ‘women’s’ on the right.


Are these observations on the sexes truisms, or a reinforcement of gender clichés? Readers have to make their own minds up, but the juxtapositions of male and female reactions raise a smile and wry acknowledgement that this is how many people act and (appear to) think.


Both men and women will find themselves agreeing and disputing Lui’s presentations of gender characteristics, but dipping through Man Meets Woman will give both sexes amusement as well as a pause for thought.

Yeah, for a start, where are the depictions of the men who love art?!

You may also be interested in these book reviews

100 Illustrators

Exceptions to Copyright 2014 – what they mean

October 17th, 2014 by Special Projects


Copyright exceptions have recently been brought into law as Government did not consider that copyright laws were ‘fit for the digital age’, and they wanted to find ‘a balance between the interests of rights holders, creators, consumers and users’. Copyright is the right to reproduce/copy a work, and exists as soon as the work has been created. The copyright exceptions mean that illustrators’ work may be used without permission under certain conditions for ‘quotation’, ‘parody’, private copying’ and more. Exceptions existed before, but the new or revised ones are more wide ranging.

AOI responded to the Government’s consultation on Exceptions in 2013, which preceded this legislation, saying that the proposed exceptions were likely to create uncertainty due to the lack of definitions in the proposed legislation. The exceptions may not be overridden by contract law, so a contract will not be able to prevent them, and this may cause issues for exclusive contracts if artwork is used under an exception when an illustrator has guaranteed exclusive use to their client.

To see what the exceptions mean go to AOI Campaigning News

The exceptions to copyright are for ‘research and private study’, ‘text and data- mining’, ‘education and teaching’, ‘archiving and preservation’, ‘public administration’, ‘personal copies for private use’, ‘caricature, parody and pastiche’, ‘quotation’ and to permit ‘accessible formats for disabled people’.

Illustration by Juliet Harris